7 Sep 2009

Sri Lanka expels Unicef official

5:51 am on 7 September 2009

Sri Lankan authorities have told a senior United Nations official to leave the country over comments he made to the media during the final stages of the war with Tamil Tiger rebels.

James Elder, a spokesman for the children's agency Unicef, had regularly raised UN concerns over the fate of children and civilians during the final stages of the government assault in northern Sri Lanka.

A foreign ministry spokesman told the BBC that Mr Elder's visa was cancelled because his statements amounted to propaganda in support of the Tamil Tigers.

A Unicef official said that the Unicef spokesman had been the organisation's voice "advocating on behalf of those who do not have a voice - children and the most vulnerable".

Sri Lanka declared victory in its war against Tamil Tigers in May.