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Last Updated on Saturday, 08 June 2013 17:53 Written by Administrator Saturday, 08 June 2013 17:45

Sri Lanka's post-conflict measures at reconciliation, rehabilitation, reintegration, and reconstruction were highlighted by High Commissioner Dr Chris Nonis during an interview on BBC World News today.

Asked by BBC presenter Mishal Husain what positive developments have occurred in the last four years since the end of the 26 year conflict, Dr Nonis said 297,000 people rescued from the clutches of the LTTE have been rehabilitated, in perhaps the largest hostage rescue operation in global history.

“After a 28 year bitter and internecine conflict with the terrorists we finally achieved peace in the country under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. There is a billion dollar programme going into the North and East, Negenahira Navodaya, and Uthura Vasanthaya which is building the lives and infrastructure of the people. Eleven thousand six hundred LTTE cadres are now being rehabilitated", Dr Nonis told the BBC World News programme "Impact". "I have met these kids. They were cruelly snatched by Prabhakaran from their parents, and they were fighting but they didn't know what they were fighting for. It is so wonderful to see them receiving vocational training, being rehabilitated and re-integrated into society," the High Commissioner said. On the question of an international independent process to assess progress as called for by the UN, the High Commissioner said that one needs to draw a distinction between an international process and an independent process. He said “We respect the Sovereign rights of Britain, and of every other country, and we expect you to respect ours. We are a sovereign and an independent state and naturally we expect the same courtesy that you would expect us to apply for your country.” “We do have an independent inquiry and many people who initially criticised the LLRC process changed their views when they actually saw the 388-paged document. It was modelled on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa. It was set within the Principle of International Humanitarian Law, incorporating the Principle of Distinction and the Principle of Proportionality. “The Commission is moving forward and there is significant progress”. Questioned on refugees and persecution, Dr Nonis said “I would say there are many people who for various different reasons come and seek asylum, and I think what we have to separate, is those who seek asylum as economic refugees, from those who seek asylum as political refugees” – You must remember the demography of the country, the majority of Tamil people actually live in the Centre and South of Sri Lanka, if you look at Colombo, its roughly a 30-30-30 percent split between Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslim. We have a huge dichotomy or disjuncture in perception between what is portrayed here and the reality of contemporary Sri Lanka”. Asked by Mishal Husain “ How many years would it take to say that we are now reconciled”,

Dr Nonis pointed to South Africa and the post-apartheid period where there are still substantial issues and to Northern Ireland where, despite the "Good Friday" Agreement, there are still issues. "In comparison, I think we have done pretty well," he said reiterating that it is only four years since the military defeat of the LTTE.

The High Commission of Sri Lanka London

03 June 2013


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Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 May 2013 18:46 Written by Administrator Tuesday, 07 May 2013 18:35

The Royal Household today confirmed that His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, Heir to the Throne, will represent Her Majesty the Queen at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka this November. HRH Prince Charles has previously represented The Queen as Head of the Commonwealth in the past, including at the Commonwealth Games 2010.

Her Majesty celebrated her 87th Birthday this April, and unfortunately had to cancel her attendance at the Commonwealth Day celebration in March this year at London’s Westminster Abbey after many years, due to Her Majesty being indisposed, and having been recently hospitalised. Buckingham Palace stated that this decision reflects the wish of Her Majesty at this time in her reign to limit her long distance travel. In addition, several other members of the Royal Family represented Her Majesty on a number of long-haul visits to Commonwealth countries during the celebrations of Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee last year.

His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales has always taken an active interest in supporting and encouraging the Commonwealth and its values, and attended the 2007 CHOGM in Kampala, Uganda. Whilst paying enormous tribute to Her Majesty’s continuing dedication and deep sense of duty to the Commonwealth, Sri Lanka warmly welcomes His Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, to Colombo, Sri Lanka, for CHOGM 2013. The High Commission of Sri Lanka London 07 May 2013


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