IDPs a key topic in UN Commissioner Zeid’s February visit to Colombo

Tuesday, 12 January 2016 00:27 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • UN lauds Govt’s reconciliation efforts
  • ‘High Commissioner Zeid here early February’-UN’s Nandy
  • ‘70% Muslim IDPs still languishing’-Rishad
  • ‘Ending my Colombo stint’-Nandy
  • ‘Wilpattu in news again since we don’t complain’-Rishad
  • ‘Lankan’s resilience amazing’-Nandy

In a major boost to the present unity government’s  reconciliation efforts, the UN has given its thumbs-up to Sri Lanka-and in his next month’s ground-breaking visit to Colombo, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Al Hussein will focus on, among others, the issues of Lankan IDPs ‘who are still stranded’, as announced on 11 January in Colombo. “I am not saying good-byes right away since I shall be back to Sri Lanka accompanying UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Al Hussein in his next month’s visit to Colombo. The resilience shown by Sri Lankans is very amazing” voiced a pleased Resident Coordinator / Humanitarian Coordinator of United Nations in Sri Lanka, Subinay Nandy, on 11 December.


Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen (right) and Minister Bathiudeen’s Advisor on IDPs/Development Himali Jinadasa (left) in smiles as Resident Coordinator / Humanitarian Coordinator of United Nations in Sri Lanka Subinay Nandy cracks a joke at the end of his farewell call on Minister Bathiudeen in Colombo on 11 January.   


UN Resident Coordinator Nandy was addressing the Minister of Industry and Commerce of Sri Lanka Rishad Bathiudeen during his farewell courtesy call on Minister Bathiudeen at the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Colombo  on the evening of 11 January. Nandy, the UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka is leaving for his next assignment in New York, concluding his Colombo stint that began in May 2011. Joining the discussion were Advisor on IDPs/Development to Minister Bathiudeen Himali Jinadasa and Human Rights Activist Dr Yousuf Maraikkar.

 “I have a feeling of warmth towards you despite you being a Cabinet Minister.  I always held you in high regard. The IDP cause you have been promoting in Sri Lankan has not been looked after well” said UN Resident Coordinator Nandy, and added: “You always went beyond the call of your duty. In my discussions with Lankan political leaders I stressed that other IDPs too have to be re-settled. It is interesting to note that the Muslim IDP issue has resurfaced again. I never see any difference among various Sri Lankans. We in UN see our roles beyond our jobs. Looking at Sri Lanka’s present leadership and their commitment, I am pleased that there’s a frank discussion taking place on securing the status of minorities. In the face of many difficulties, the resilience shown by Sri Lankans is amazing. In fact, I am not saying good-byes right away as such since I shall be coming back to Sri Lanka accompanying United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in his visit to Colombo somewhere in the first-half of February. Among High Commissioner Zeid’s points of focus here would be issues of IDPs stranded in Puttalam and  other  areas of the country. He is also pleased with Sri Lanka’s present leadership and their commitment towards the minorities.”

 Responding to UN Resident Coordinator Nandy, Minister Bathiudeen said: “On behalf of all IDPs, I thank you officially and personally for the assistance you have extended. You have attended to issues of all Lankans in equal measure. In fact, you often personally helped the IDPs.  My people are suffering due to the Wilpattu issue. One reason we are suffering in this manner is that we never complain to any international party or countries about our plight, since it is not correct to complain against the country. All complaints about our grievances so far are directly made to the government of Sri Lanka only. As a result of this, 70% of Muslim IDPs who are supposed to be resettled by now, are helpless and still in (refugee) camps since when they attempted to return, they found their original places to be inhabitable with no livelihood. The re-settled 30% too have been facing various hardships and obstacles even today. In this background, the services extended to IDPs by you on behalf of UN shall always be lauded by us and the Lankan IDP community. Being an IDP myself, at one time, I personally vouch for the excellence in your commitment on this issue anywhere, anytime.”

 Minister Bathiudeen and UN Resident Coordinator Nandy also delved into other national development aspects during the 11 January meet.