Falk Rovik didn't represent Amnesty - Amnesty Norway

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 21 December 2004, 11:51 GMT]
Head of Information at Amnesty International Norway, Mr. John P. Egenęs , earlier on Tuesday, denied that a controversial Norwegian called Falk Rovik had represented his organisation at a conference held at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) in Colombo on Saturday, 18 November 2004. The conference was organised by hard-line forces in southern Sri Lanka opposed to the Norwegian facilitation of the peace process. Mr. Egenęs told TamilNet that the controversial Norwegian neither is, nor has ever been a spokesperson of Amnesty International Norway.

John P. Egenęs
Head of Information at Amnesty International Norway, Mr. John P. Egenęs
Photo:Amnesty.no
The matter was brought to the attention of Amnesty International Norway prior to the conference as the Norwegian was quoted as a spokesperson for Amnesty International Norway in some newspapers in Sri Lanka.

Mr. Petter Eide, Secretary General of Amnesty International Norway, in a letter faxed to Colombo newspapers noted that "the views attributed to Mr. Rovik do not in any way reflect the views of Amnesty International or Amnesty International Norway".

"If you are planning on interviewing Rovik, please note again that he is not an Amnesty International spokesperson", Mr. Eide said in the letter faxed to Colombo media on 16 December 2004, and urged the media to publish a correction.

The conference, organised by the euphemistically named 'World Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka' (WAPS), an umbrella group of expatriate Sinhala nationalist and extremist organizations, was partly disrupted by moderate Sinhalese participants who also attended the meeting. It is also of note that Falk Rovik also spoke at a WAPS conference held in Norway in August.

It was earlier revealed that the Norwegian organiser of the WAPS conference was in preventive custody having been convicted of murder and was running a website full of conspiracy theories and accusations against Norway.

Leading Sinhala peace activists Dr. Jehan Perera of the National Peace Council and Dr.Kumar Rupesinghe, Chair of the Foundation for Coexistence, formerly the Secretary General of the London based organisation International Alert, came in for severe criticism by the extremist organisers and speakers at the conference.

The theme of the conference, jointly sponsored by the World Federation for Peace in Sri Lanka and other organizations was: "Towards peace and democracy in Sri Lanka". Mr. Wimal Weeravanse and other leaders of the JVP, one of the main constituents of the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government in Colombo, members of the Eelam Peoples Democratic Party (EPDP) and some sections of Buddhist clergy participated in the conference, which purported to "defend the sovereignty and territorial integrity, to protect Human Rights and to defeat terrorism in Sri Lanka", sources said. Other participants included, Mr. Paul Harris, controversial journalist expelled from Sri Lanka in 2002, Mr.Susantha Gunatilake, and Dr. Ved Prathab Vaidik, Chairperson of the Indian Foreign Policy Council.

The conference was held to bolster the hard-line forces in the South opposed to the Norwegian facilitation even though the co-chairs of the Tokyo donor forum accused the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) of sabotaging the peace process, political sources said.

 

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