High Commission of Sri Lanka in India

Hon. Chamal Rajapaksa calls for increasing youth and female representation in the Parliaments of South Asian nations PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
Sunday, 10 July 2011 14:38

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The 5th Conference of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians was inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh, in the historic Central Hall of the Parliament House in New Delhi on 9 July. The Central Hall is where the Indian Constitution was framed and the transfer of power from British to Indian hands took place on 15 August 1947. The Hall is presently used for holding Joint Sittings of the two Houses and for special occasions when the Members of Parliament are addressed by distinguished Heads of State of foreign nations. With all eight SAARC nations having embraced parliamentary democracy, the gathering for the first time of the Speakers of all SAARC Member States in the Central Hall was a significant occasion for SAARC.

 In his address, the outgoing Chair of the 4th Conference of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians, Hon. Chamal Rajapaksa, stated that the SAARC region has witnessed the oldest form of democracy practiced by the Sakyas, the clan of Prince Siddharta who became Gautama Buddha. Stating that the Parliamentarians of SAARC Member States have an important role to play in strengthening regional cooperation and integration, the Speaker stressed that it is essential to strive to increase youth and female representation in the Parliaments of the South Asian countries for achieving socio-economic development.

The Conference will be held from 9-12 July. The Parliamentary delegation for the Conference from Sri Lanka comprises Hon. Nimal Siripala de Silva, Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources, Hon. Mangala Samaraweera, Hon. Faizal Cassim, Hon. Tharanath Basnayake and  Hon. Sunil Handunnetti.

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President inaugurates 50th Annual Session of AALCO PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
Monday, 27 June 2011 07:21

Sri Lanka's pre-occupation with social equity is certainly appropriate at the international level at this time. It is important to ensure that the major trends of economic policy in the developed world should not have a harmful effect on the well-being of developing countries, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said.

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Inaugurating the 50th annual session of the Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO) at the Cinnamon Lakeside Hotel Colombo this morning, President Rajapaksa said the use of substantial subsidies by Treasuries and Reserve Banks to support agricultural production in the developed world, and other forms of protectionism, cause serious distortion of the interplay of market forces. These measures reduce to great extent, the ability of farmers in our countries to access international markets for their export products on an equitable basis.

Here is the full text of the speech by the President:

It is with the greatest pleasure that I inaugurate these proceedings of the Asian - African Legal Consultative Organization in Colombo this morning. The occasion is all the more significant because you have chosen Sri Lanka as the venue of your discussions which mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of this body which has made a rich contribution to the development of the laws and legal systems of two continents in our time.

Your choice of Sri Lanka is especially appropriate, as my country turns a new and exciting page in her modern history. As you gather here today, we as a nation leave behind us the pain and anguish of a long-drawn-out conflict thrust upon us by one of the most ruthless terrorist organizations the world has known. With the sacrifice, prayers and blessings of all our citizens, irrespective of language, religion or cultural background, we have overcome the menace of terror and put our country on the fast track of economic and social development for the benefit of us all.

This is a change which touches every aspect of our national life. It requires re-vamping of our institutions in every sector. Not least of these is the law, its priorities, the values on which it is based, the procedures which are considered suitable for the pursuit of its aims, and the agencies through which it is applied for the well-being of the community.

There are several factors uppermost in our minds as we address the challenges that accompany the dawn of a stable and honourable peace.

The first among these is the need to protect our nation against a wide range of activities which groups closely linked to the merchants of terror, continue to engage in to the detriment of our country. Since the problem of terrorism is by no means restricted to Sri Lanka, but is of immediate relevance to many of the countries represented in this forum, you will no doubt rejoice that terrorist violence is, for us, a thing of the past, and we will never allow to raise its ugly head to be raised again within our shores. But it is to be remembered that their initiatives have now been transferred to the field of international action, and no stone is left unturned to apply every possible form of pressure to obstruct our country’s efforts to heal the wounds of the past and to bring together the entire nation through a process of reconciliation in keeping with the culture and aspirations of our people. This is why continuing vigilance at the international level, and resort to both domestic law and international law as a source of protection, are vitally important.

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Only we can solve our own problems, and none other - President at Ranaviru Day celebrations PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
Sunday, 29 May 2011 01:57

Ranaviru Day 2011

After uniting the country with the defeat of the most ruthless terrorism in the world, today we were able to hoist our national flag with dignity and honour.

Today we celebrate the victory of ensuring the right of every citizen of the country to live in harmony. It is the victory of freeing thousands of civilians in the north, who were held as hostages. 

Friends, 

By adding Human Rights to the Constitution it will not guarantee those rights to the people of this country. If someone robs the right to life, it is only by ensuring the right to life can we preserve human rights. 

Therefore, today we also celebrate the victory of ensuring the Right to Life of thousands of citizens. 

Friends,

We can look back with pride and much satisfaction at the last two years since we achieved freedom from terrorism. 

You are aware that we have been able to draw a new map of Sri Lanka through the development revolution taking place here today. The north and east won by war heroes are fast becoming prosperous, in place of the hardships that prevailed. 

As we removed the 'border village' from the Sri Lankan map, we are now taking measures to delete 'displaced and destitute” from our vocabulary. Many thousand acres of land sowed with landmines are now been cultivated. Thousands of displaced civilians were resettled with all the facilities, from shelter, bedding to mosquito coils. Likewise, reconstruction of North and East is a major development task in our history. 

With rays of freedom rising in the north and east, the rays of development are also dawning on people in those areas. 

People in those areas should bear in mind that what we rebuild rapidly are the public properties destroyed by terrorists. 

When we rebuild the north and east destroyed by the terrorists, the world knows what the terrorists who are abroad did during past two years. Since the country was united with the death of the last LTTE leader in Vellamulliwaikkal on May 19, these elements organized against the motherland again. They did not cease to collect funds for terrorism and many other illegal activities. 

During the war they had heaps of money for purchasing weapons and ships. With that huge amount of money the terrorists continue to spread false rumors, conspire and spread false propaganda against Sri Lanka. Even though terrorism was eradicated from Sri Lanka, terrorists living abroad continue to work to destroy our country. Those abroad, misusing the democratic freedom and their right to vote in the countries of their domicile, are influencing those countries against us in campaigns against us.

Friends,

Terrorism in a country begins with shooting down the truth. Even after war the Tamil Tigers continue to target the truth. As a result of this, conspiracies were launched to write false reports against our country and our war heroes. 

Friends, 

We do not hesitate to ensure the democratic and human rights of the citizens living in the north and east. But we will not heed to the demands of separatists or terrorists. When people in this country do not accept their demands, they look for ways to make us bow down using foreign influence. But I must emphasize that no one can do anything in this country without the consent of our people. It is only we who can solve our own problems, and no one else. 

Friends, 

I will recall what I said in the past that our troops went to the battlefront carrying a gun in one hand, the Human Rights Charter in the other, food for the innocent displaced on their shoulders, and love of their children in their hearts. They did not target any communities or religions, and did not march ahead with hatred towards anyone. 

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MOU on Bilateral Air Services signed in New Delhi PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
Thursday, 26 May 2011 11:51

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Bilateral Air Services between the Governments of Sri Lanka and India was signed in New Delhi on 26 May 2011. High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam and Shri Naseem Zaidi, Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation of India signed the MOU on behalf of respective Governments.

This MOU is the outcome of discussions between Sri Lankan and Indian civil aviation authorities in April 2011, and in line with modern developments in aviation industry and rapid increase in air travel in the region, contains revisions to the original Bilateral Air Services Agreement that was signed between the two countries on 21st December 1948.

At present the Sri Lankan Airlines operates 98 weekly flights to various destinations in India and the Sri Lanka’s budget carrier Mihin Lanka Airlines operates seasonal flights to Varanasi and Gaya for the benefit of the Sri Lankan pilgrims visiting Buddhist sites in India. A number of Indian carriers too operate to Sri Lanka from various destinations in India.

With the signing of this MOU, both Sri Lankan and Indian carriers would be able to operate more flights between Indian destinations and Colombo enhancing connectivity between the two countries.

 
Sri Lanka at the Elephant Eight (E8) Ministerial Meet in New Delhi PDF Print option in slimbox / lytebox? (info) E-mail
Tuesday, 24 May 2011 13:37

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On the invitation of Indian Minister of Environment & Forests Jairam Ramesh, Minister of Environment Anura Priyadarshana Yapa participated at the Elephant – 8 Ministerial Meet held in New Delhi on 24th May 2011.

Elephant – 8 Ministerial Meeting was an initiative of the Government of India and Ministerial and senior government level representatives from 8 major elephant range countries namely, Botswana, Congo, Indonesia, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Thailand besides the host country participated. It is a precursor to a larger International Forum India intends to host in 2013.

Speaking on the occasion, Minister Yapa said that the elephant was intrinsic to the Sri Lanka’s culture, religious beliefs, history, mythology and politics as well. The elephant is of special importance to both Buddhists and Hindus in Sri Lanka. The Island has a sizeable population of 6000 elephants. As of present the Government of Sri Lanka has set aside 14% of the land of the Island as Protected Areas for the conservation of wildlife.

The Government of Sri Lanka, mindful of the need to ensure the long term survival of the elephant had prepared a “National Policy for the Conservation and Management of Wild Elephants in Sri Lanka” in 2006 that would facilitate the co-existence of both man and elephant. Through this policy, it introduced the establishment of Elephant Conservation Areas (ECA) and Managed Elephant Reserves (MER), where elephant conservation need not come into conflict with human activities. In 2009, the Government of Sri Lanka introduced the “Gaja Mithuro” (Friends of Elephants) programme mainly to mitigate the human – elephant conflict. Sri Lanka has established an Elephant Orphanage – the only one of its kind in the world – where current over 80 elephants rescued from the wild are being cared for. In addition, Sri Lanka has also established the Elephants Transit Home – another unique initiative that is found nowhere else in the Range States – where abandoned or orphaned elephant calves are rescued, rehabilitated and re-introduced back to their habitat in the wild.

The Minister also attended the launch of the UN Decade on Biodiversity for Asia & Pacific which was held in New Delhi, during his visit to India.

The Minister was accompanied by High Commissioner Prasad Kariyawasam, Mr. B.K.U.A. Wickramasinghe, Secretary, Ministry of Agrarian Services and Wildlife and other senior officials from the Ministry of Economic Development and the Wildlife Department of Sri Lanka.

 


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