By Colombo Telegraph –
“If UNESCO is to be the conscience of the world community, then it could not make decisions based on crude financial threats.” Ambassador Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka said. He made above remarks at an interactive meeting with Sorbonne University students.
On 29th November 2011, Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka met with Sorbonne University students to discuss post-war Sri Lanka. The conference was organized by the International Law Students Association (EDI, Etudiants de Droit International) of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, which comprises students from both the Master of International Law and the Master of International Economic Law. The EDI association was created in 2006 in order to enhance debates between international law students and to exchange solidarity between French and foreign students.
After a short presentation about his career as an academic and a diplomat, Ambassador Jayatilleka spoke on the post-war situation in Sri Lanka. He answered many questions from the students on multilateral diplomacy, international relations, the movements for change in the Arab world, and on Sri Lanka, including the UN advisory panel report which he referred as the Darusman report, the resettlement of IDPs, the Diaspora and accountability issues pertaining to the last stages of the war. “Every society makes its own decision as to when and how it deals with trauma. And in many societies, the decision is that if you move too fast, you polarize the society further […] every society retains, as part of its sovereign rights, the decision as to what is the right time for these issues to be looked at” he said.
Giving a distinctive Asian perspective embedded within an overall view from the Global south, he also addressed the students on several international issues such as the overlap and distinctions between international law and international politics, questions of universality, popular sovereignty, citizens’ rights, national sovereignty and Just War. In answer to a question on the Palestinian vote that took place recently at UNESCO, (Paris), he reminded the students of the quote from Jawaharlal Nehru displayed at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris which says “UNESCO is the conscience of the world community.” Ambassador Jayatilleka said: “If UNESCO is to be the conscience of the world community, then it could not make decisions based on crude financial threats.[…] Now both sides of the deadlocked conflict see what international public opinion is”.