Why Did Channel 4 Choose to Broadcast an Unverified and Poorly Sourced Documentary Shortly Before the UN Report on Sri Lanka Despite Multiple Alterations?
by Our Diplomatic Affairs Correspondent
In this exclusive exposé, we delve deep into a complex narrative that highlights significant concerns regarding the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Surprisingly, we uncover a troubling link between the employment decisions of UNHCR and the individuals allegedly linked to the tragic Easter Sunday bombings of 2019.
According to reliable sources within Western diplomatic missions in Colombo, special teams from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Australian Federal Police (AFP), and even investigative teams from a few other countries arrived in Sri Lanka shortly after the Easter bombings. These teams undertook exhaustive investigations into all facets of the devastating attacks that sent shockwaves across the nation.
One particularly astonishing revelation is that these investigative teams seized all electronic devices recovered at the crime scenes and safe houses used by the bombers for comprehensive examinations, leaving no stone unturned in their quest for the truth. Their impartial investigations resulted in a report issued by the Department of Justice—an authoritative document that remains unchallenged to this day.
It is worth noting that neither human rights organizations, NGOs based in Colombo, nor any other parties continue to engage in speculation about potential ‘conspiracies behind the horrific attacks’ and have raised objections to the findings of the FBI, AFP, or the subsequent verdicts.
These revelations accentuate the gravity of our exposé. They prompt the following question: How can the UNHCR employ individuals allegedly linked to the Easter bombings?
Our investigation takes us even further, shedding light on the perplexing case of Mr. Mohamed Hanzeer Mohamed Mihlar, also known as ‘Azad Maulana.’ Astonishingly, we unveil that the UNHCR extended a prestigious position as Shelter-Cluster Coordinator to Mr. Azad Maulana as early as January 2022. What makes this revelation even more shocking is Mr. Azad Maulana’s recent emergence as a “Whistleblower” in a Channel 4 documentary—a revelation that occurred mere hours before the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights released its scathing report on Sri Lanka during its 54th regular session.
Our investigation uncovers a complex network that leads us to Mr. Mohamed Zafras Mohamed Zufyan, a medical professional allegedly connected to the suicide bombers responsible for the tragic Easter Sunday attacks in 2019. Shockingly, Mr. Zafras allegedly assumed responsibility for the medical treatment of a brother of Zahran Hasim, Rilwan Hashim, who sustained severe injuries while experimenting with explosives in Kattankudy, Batticaloa a few months prior to the carnage.
It was revealed during the investigation that the said suspect provided treatment to the severely wounded Rilwan at General Hospital in Colombo without revealing the truth behind the incident or the individual involved. Confirming this, both Azad Maulana and Mr. Zafras played significant roles in providing medical assistance to Rilwan Hashim, one of the brothers of Zahran Hashim, the ringleader of the Easter Bombing. However, on April 26, Rilwan, along with his family members and associates, was killed in Sainthamaruthu.
Mohamed Zafras Mohamed Zufyan, who is currently reported to be hiding in a South Asian nation to evade justice, allegedly assisted Azad Maulana in securing employment at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This raises doubts about whether he is also employed by the agency. These uncertainties leave us both bewildered and concerned about the vetting process employed by the UNHCR.
In December 2022, Azad Maulana provided a detailed statement to an EU Intelligence Arm and UN Human Rights Council, spanning over five days. During this testimony, he discussed various issues, including his friendship with Mohamed Zafras Mohamed Zufyan, involvement with TMVP and made unproven allegations against Sri Lankan Intelligence and selected politicians regarding the attacks on Easter Sunday in 2019.
The most recent report on Sri Lanka issued by the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights recommended an “independent investigation with international assistance to pursue further lines of inquiry into the full circumstances of the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks.” It called for the acceleration of investigations and prosecutions in emblematic cases of human rights violations, including the Easter Sunday bombings, with international assistance and the full participation of victims and their representatives.
This pressing issue casts a shadow over the fundamental principles entrusted to the United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights. It raises concerns about potential ulterior motives and the manipulation of the system by certain parties to conceal the truth and promote conspiracy theories. Our exposé compels us to question the accountability, transparency, and ethics within the UNHCR and the broader United Nations system.
Sri Lanka Guardian has contacted both the local office and headquarters of the UNHCR for comment, but they are yet to respond to our queries. We remain committed to publishing their version of events if and when we receive a response.