Letter written to The French Ambassador, Colombo.

H.E. Jean-Bernard De Vaivre
Ambassador of France
Embassy of France
89 Rosmead Place
Colombo 7
Sri Lanka

15 May 2005


Re Dr. Thrishantha Nanayakkara's refusal of visa.

I have read with utter disappointment and disgust the full details of the case surrounding the refusal of visa to Dr. Thrishantha Nanayakkara, including that of the excuses given by your embassy.

Not only it has shocked me, among millions of other Sri Lankans who have now read this case from the newspapers and through the Internet and e-mails, which is doing the rounds exposing how mean, petty and irresponsible your visa officer had acted in connection with a visa application Dr. Thrishantha Nanayakkara, an eminent Sri Lankan scientist and a lecturer at the Moratuwa University Campus had made. It was a sickening experience even to read about the harassment and humiliation he had been subjected to in the presence of other embassy officials (delegates as per your version) by making a mockery of it and laughing and giggling in the presence of the applicant and finally rejecting his visa without any explanation or cause for such action.

I am sure you will realise the damage your Visa officer has done in this instance, not only to the individual concerned to this academic but to Sri Lanka as a nation, a developing country in scientific affairs. Surely Dr. Thrishantha Nanayakkara had not applied for a bogus or a fun trip abroad but to attend an International conference to present a scientific paper on his invention of a robot to detect land mines. He had been invited as a guest speaker by a host country and I am sure the whole International community would have embraced his new found idea with joy only if he was given the opportunity to speak about it, especially when the world today has turned into a terrorist playground and mines becoming toys in the hands of terrorists!

It is a shame that French officers diplomats are allowed to behave like incorrigible private school twits with no sense of responsibility or respect to others. I am sure you must have been under heavy pressure by now not only from the Sri Lankan community world wide, the news papers, the Foreign Office in Sri Lanka and even from the French Government as this case has turned into an utter disgraceful issue.

Surely this sort of behaviour can't be the diplomatic etiquette, even in France? For the good name of the French Government and your good self it is high time that you send this visa officer home and repair the enormous damage which he caused by writing an apology to the newspapers rather than trying to evade the issue by saying visa section has now been handed over to an Agency to be more efficient.

Dr. T.S.Fernando



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