ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday February 3, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 36

Govt. cancels Dr. Rama Mani’s visa

  • Hours before cancellation, ICES Chairman reinstates executive director
  • Dr. Mani to appeal Immigration Department decision

By Madhushala Senaratne

The Immigration Department on Friday cancelled the visa of Dr. Rama Mani -- the sacked and later re-instated executive director of the International Center for Ethnic Studies (ICES), over an on-going crisis within the well-known Sri Lankan think-tank and instructed her to leave Sri Lanka by February 7.

However, ICES chairman Professor Kingsley de Silva reinstated Dr. Mani as its executive director just hours before her visa was cancelled and Dr. Mani was expected to appeal the Immigration Department’s decision.

Dr. Rama Mani

“My visa was cancelled based on the decision last month to terminate my contract and based on the police complaint made by the acting executive director. However I believe that the matter would be rectified and that I will be able to resume my duties,” Dr. Mani told The Sunday Times On January 14, ICES Chairman Prof. Kingsley de Silva informed Dr. Mani that her services were terminated with immediate effect and that she was barred from entering the office premises. However her reinstatement came against the backdrop of an earnest request by the ICES staff and its Board of Directors on Friday.

The reasons mentioned for her dismissal was financial impropriety, removal of material from office and for having a contentious relationship with several senior researchers at ICES.

“I have not set foot in the office since my dismissal and therefore there is no way that such material or file was removed”, she said, adding that the allegations on finances were also baseless as she inherited a bad situation and dealt with such issues as deficit and its causes and worked on a new financial strategy. Dr. Mani’s move to invoke the United Nations endorsed doctrine of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) by aligning ICES with the Global Centre which puts this doctrine into practice was also a cause for concern. The doctrine provided for the intervention of the international community in the affairs of a sovereign state when a state fails to meet the responsibility to protect its population from human made catastrophes. But Dr. Mani insisted this was not a call for intervention, but rather a tool that helped prevent, protect and rebuild states facing large scale atrocities.

She said the Global Centre was keen to be associated with Sri Lanka and considering ICES efforts to champion human rights, Sri Lanka was requested to serve as a country affiliated to the Global Centre.

“However being concerned about the situation in the country it is yet to decide about establishing a centre here”, she said. Prof. de Silva told The Sunday Times that upon reflection and consultation with the ICES Board of Directors he had decided to reverse his earlier decision and reinstate Dr. Mani as executive director.

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