Nirj Online

Ambassador Niranjan Deva-Aditya, who has been leading a personal campaign to become the next UNSG, has launched a campaign website at SriLankanforUNSG.commirroring similar online campaigns by Surakiart Sathirathai, Jayantha Dhanapala and, to a limited extent, Shashi Tharoor.

Update, July 20th: Deva’s assistant alerted that the site is not in fact published by Deva, but rather by his supporters in Sri Lanka. (Whois info)

“We would be grateful if you would make it clear that the Sri Lankan website to which you refer is not Niranjan’s website… The Sri Lankan website has been set up by some of his many supporters in Sri Lanka, but Niranjan cannot accept responsibility for what they say.”

Deva does have the background to be an ideal UNSG, even if he is not an ideal UNSG candidate. His accomplishments in areas of sustainable development, humanitarian assistance and European-Asian relations are remarkable. His own cosmopolitan heritage speaks well to what the post of UNSG should reflect, if it were not for the major powers or the existing selection process.

But the claim made on the website that Deva “has been nominated by the former Prime Ministers of France and Poland as a candidate for UN Secretary-General” is simply misleading. The use of the term “nomination” has a specific meaning – support by a sitting government – and that, Deva does not have. What he does have are letters of support from FORMER prime ministers (each of whom are now colleagues of Deva in the European Parliament). Endorsements by FORMER foreign leaders, yes; nominations, no.

Similar to Surakiart‘s campaign, Deva’s supporters claim broad support from foreign leaders – confusing diplomatic politeness for political backing. Devas has been cordially received in many capitals and by many officials. Even Shashi Tharoor, India’s nominee for UNSG, praised Deva’s credentials mere days before his own campaign for the post was made official. Yet despite his credentials and experience, Deva has not and is not likely to receive an official nomination, for two reasons:

  1. The government from which he most needs a nomination – Sri Lanka – has formally backed Jayantha Dhanapala, and that is not likely to change.
  2. Despite his heritage and unquestionable strong ties to Sri Lanka, Deva is also not only a British citizen, but an elected British REPRESENTATIVE in the European Parliament. Perhaps he has a better chance than Tony Blair at getting the nod, but his ties to a permanent member state will still likely knock him off many governments’ short-lists.

Regardless of talking points to the contrary, these are, while political, still very real obstacles to a nomination.

Deva does have one (long) shot. If the straw polls to be taken this month reveal low support for Dhanapala, Deva may be able to get a more supportive hearing from the Sri Lankan government. But if and until that occurs, the official “SriLankanforUNSG” remains Dhanapala.

4 Responses to “Nirj Online”

  1. kimihira says:

    I think the scope of you comments is so limited as to really undervalue this site. I have worked with the likes of Nelson Mandella, Michael gorbachev and Christaaian Matebane and one thing I have learned is that the political experience you claim is necessary, to be a great leader, is a load of tosh. I think that history has shown us, that great leaders are born great leaders and are often stifled through their career buy the likes of you. So for you to comment on Nirj, when you have in essence done nothing to contribute to this planet of ours, is extremely distasteful. I have been an architect involved in the downfall of both the Berlin wall and apatite, and I know Nirj has done more for the people of the world than me, can you say the same?


  2. drhamilton says:

    We have seen your latest comment on Niranjan Deva-Aditya’s candidacy, and are pleased that you think he has the right background to be an ideal Secretary-General of the UN. You are correct that he has not yet been nominated by a member state, though he has been recommended in writing to the Security Council by two very distinguished international statesmen, the former Prime Ministers of France and Poland.

    On the procedural issue, Niranjan would in an ideal world be nominated by Sri Lanka, the country of his birth, and with which he still has very solid ties (see Sri Lankans are very proud of his achievements on the international stage, and the Bhuddists have given him the title of “Vishwa Keerthi Sri Lanka Abhimani” for his services to Sri Lanka. However, some considerable time ago, before Niranjan had even thought of standing for UNSG, the previous government had nominated Mr.Dhanapala.

    It would not be in the interests of the United Nations for these circumstances to deprive the Organisation of the opportunity to consider, and if thought fit select, Niranjan Deva-Aditya as its Secretary-General.

    Niranjan is reluctant to stand against Dhanapala while Dhanapala is the sole candidate nominated by Sri Lanka, but the rules of procedure as set out in the letter dated 2nd June 2006 from the President of the Security Council to the President of the General Assembly would entitle Sri Lanka to have two candidates. It is arguable that Sri Lanka ought to endorse them both, because they are so different that support for one is not likely to detract from the other. This would give Sri Lanka a better overall chance.

    Sri Lanka is not in a position to block Niranjan. The Rules would entitle any other member-state to nominate him if necessary, and it is now looking quite likely that one or more of them will do so at the right time.

    It is true that Niranjan has been a member of the UK Parliament, and is now a member of the European Parliament – facts of which he is rightly proud and does not seek in any way to deny. He is nevertheless very much an Asian, and as Secretary-General he would of course have resigned his membership of Parliament. Unlike the other candidates he is not standing in the national interest of any country, nor is his campaign funded by the taxpayers’ money of any country.

    The fact that he comes from a democratic country, and has himself been elected to two Parliaments, is of considerable importance at this time. It is surely unthinkable in this democratic age that the next Secretary-General should not have democratic credentials. It is also becoming clear that the UN should not have another UN insider to succeed Kofi Annan as its leader.

    Niranjan Deva-Aditya has been “globalised” – he is a man of the East who has a thorough knowledge of the ways of the West, and a son of the developing world who has achieved enormous influence in the developed world. He would as you rightly say, make an ideal Secretary-General, and it would be a tragedy for the United Nations if procedural issues were to prevent him being considered.

    From the office of Niranjan-Deva-Aditya

  3. Greenlaure says:

    Davel – I don’t see any negative comments here about Mr. Deva-Aditya. If anything, speaks quite highly of him, his qualifications, and his accomplishments –

    “Deva does have the background to be an ideal UNSG, even if he is not an ideal UNSG candidate. His accomplishments in areas of sustainable development, humanitarian assistance and European-Asian relations are remarkable. His own cosmopolitan heritage speaks well to what the post of UNSG should reflect…”

    Nevertheless, there seem to be some very real obstacles to Nirjan receiving a nomination with the security council: Sri Lanka has already nominated Mr. Dhanapala, and Mr. Deva-Aditya is a British citizen and an EU parliamentarian.

    As Dr. Hamilton and both pointed out, there are a couple of possible scenarios in which Nirjan could advance, but articulating the challenges to Mr. Deva-Aditya’s success shouldn’t be perceived as an attack on him. It sounds more like a reality check to me.

    Finally, if anyone’s comments are distasteful and undervaluing of this site – yours are. There is no need for personal attacks.

  4. […] There is a quite amusing debate emerging on the candidacy of Niranjan Deva-Aditya over at UNSG. Apparently one of Deva’s Sri Lankan supporters put up an over-enthusiastic website in Sri Lanka, getting some of the details wrong. UNSG pointed out some of these flaws. The Deva campaign clarified. […]

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