Sri Lanka’s credibility for UN Secy. Gen. post questioned

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 15 December 2004, 04:45 GMT]
In an editorial Tuesday, the Colombo-based Tamil language daily, Sudar Oli, questioned Sri Lanka’s credibility to nominate Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala to the United Nations Secretary General post, arguing that Sri Lanka has “earned the status of an oppressive state that seeks to enslave an ethnic minority within its own territory, denying the minority's fundamental rights, even its very existence.”

Jayantha Dhanapala
Dr. Jayantha Dhanapala
Dr. Dhanapala, a Sri Lankan diplomat, has previously served as an Undersecretary General of the UN and now holds the honorary position of Director General of Sri Lanka’s Peace Secretariat. Sri Lanka has recently nominated Dr. Dhanapala for the UN Secretary General position.

The editorial acknowledged that Dr. Dhanapala is an internationally recognized diplomat who may have the right credentials, decency and honesty for the position, but argued that under his tenure at the Peace Secretariat, Sri Lanka’s peace process has not moved forward at all.

"The Tamil side to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka has come forward to resolve the conflict by ceasing hostilities," argues Sudar Oli. “In seeking to find a solution through negotiations, the Tamil side has still not heard a due response by the Sri Lankan state—the state ignores this gesture of peace, thereby disrupting the peace process, and seeks to continue its policy of oppression of the minority, refusing to come down from the high pedestal of Sinhala-Buddhist domination."

"The UN is an organization charged with the noble and onerous obligation of ensuring the preservation and protection of the identity of not only the nations of the world, but also ethnic groups with their own peculiarities who live within those nations," the paper said.

The editorial questioned whether someone who has not been effective in resolving a local conflict could be effective in the high office of the UN Secretary General, saying that the "formidable task of promoting and ensuring world peace and global tranquility is cast on the holder of that office."

Some commentators in Sri Lanka say that if Dr. Dhanapala is elected to the post, it will give a boost to Sri Lanka internationally. Dr. Dhanapala himself is reported to have said that, if he is elected as the UN Secretary General, it would provide "a fillip to Sri Lanka’s endeavor to attain peaceful solution to the ethnic problem."

The Sudar Oli editorial disagreed with that claim, arguing that, in fact, the reverse is true: “Dr. Dhanapala’s chances of being elected to the position will brighten only if the Government of Sri Lanka, which he serves as the Director General of the Peace Secretariat, shows progress in taking constructive measures in achieving peace. This is today's reality,” the editorial said.


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