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CBK’s new job stirs controversy

Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga is due to
attend the first official function in the capacity of Senior Consultant
to UNESCO for Education in Asia next month in India amidst protests
about her new appointment.

A spokesman for the former President’s office
said that Ms. Kumaratunga is due to attend the event linked with
the programme in achieving the goal of ‘Education for All’.

The spokesman said he was not aware of the reasons
for Ms. Kumaratunga to request that Sri Lanka be excluded from her
area of responsibility.

Ms. Kumaratunga will be entitled to remuneration
and other perks in the capacity of Senior Consultant. This could
include a UN Laissez Passer (diplomatic passport), business class
(free) travel, per diems etc., but she is unlikely to receive security.

Meanwhile, Preethi Perera, Secretary General of
the Sri Lanka National Commission for UNESCO which co-ordinates
UNESCO activities in Sri Lanka told The Sunday Times that details
about how Ms. Kumaratunga would be functioning were yet to be notified.

He said Ms. Kumaratunga’s role would be
to work towards achieving the goals of UNESCO with one of its main
objectives being the goal of Education for all by year 2015.

Mr. Perera said that Ms. Kumaratunga’s decision
to request to exclude Sri Lanka might have been to avoid any ‘conflict
of interest’.

He said that though Sri Lanka would be excluded from the functions
it would not have an impact, as the programmes for Sri Lanka was
coordinated with UNESCO.

Earlier this week the Hong Kong-based Asian Human
Rights Commission (AHRC) officially expressed its objection to Ms.
Kumaratunga’s appointment.

The AHRC in a letter to UNESCO Director-General
Koichiro Matsuura outlined its objections to the appointment.

Ravaya newspaper Editor Victor Ivan also has objected
to the appointment on the grounds that Ms. Kumaratunga’s educational
qualifications have been questioned. He has sent his objections
to Mr. Matsuura. -The Sunday Times

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October 29, 2006 - Posted by | News, News and politics, South Asia, World News

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