Message from the Chairman of the SAARC Council of Ministers,
 Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka on Observance of  the
International Day of Non Violence – 2nd October


As we celebrate the observance on 2nd October, the International Day of Non Violence, I am privileged,  as the Chair of the Council of Ministers of SAARC,   to reaffirm  the importance of this day not only for the people of the SAARC region but for the international community as a whole.

On 2nd October 2007, at the United Nations General Assembly, member States of the SAARC, together with other member States of the General Assembly were unanimous in adopting a Resolution sponsored by India, reaffirming the universal relevance of the principle of non violence and desiring to secure a culture of peace, tolerance and understanding and non violence.  We decided that on 2nd October,  each year, together with the international community, we will  observe this day as a day of non-violence,  bearing in mind  that non violence, tolerance, full  respect for human rights and  fundamental freedoms  for all, democracy, development and mutual understanding and respect for diversity are interlinked  and  mutually reinforcing.

The 2nd of October is the birthday of Mahathma Gandhi, the leader of the Indian Independence movement and a modern day inspiration for non-violent struggles for civil rights and social change across the world. The creed of non violence is engrained in South Asia as part of our region’s civilizational heritage and religious traditions.   Indeed, the great sage of South Asia, Gauthama Buddha,   emphasized that non violence, the strength that comes from righteousness, is a basic value for human existence and for social emancipation and advancement.  

Mahathma Gandhi mobilized the whole of the Indian sub continent and inspired several leaders from other parts of the world to take the path of non violence as a form of political and social resistance while rejecting the use of violence in order to achieve social and political change.  

Violence is still all around us.  No state is free of violence of some form or other.  Therefore, on this day, in order to honour the memory of Mahathma Gandhi, we must re-dedicate ourselves towards the path inspired by his thoughts and reflected in his actions and his achievements.  And in this context,  in the face of  contemporary realities, we need to continue our struggle against violence;
•    As manifested in the form of terrorism
     and
•    Affecting our societies, in particular women and children and the socially disadvantaged.

We in South Asia,   on this day, must commit to follow the principles of non violence in celebration of our human spirit and in our endeavours towards peace, prosperity and social justice for our people.

Rohitha Bogollagama
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka
Chairman of the Council of  Ministers of SAARC

Commemoration of the
“International Day of Non Violence”
Venue: Penthouse of the Dag Hammarskjold Library
5-7 pm, October 2, 2009

Programme

1. Opening address by the Permanent Representative of India   5.00 – 5.10 pm
     to the UN,H.E. Mr. H.S.Puri

2. Remarks by the President of the General Assembly,               5.10-5.15 pm
    H.E.Dr.Ali Abdussalam Treki

3. Remarks by the Deputy Secretary General,                           5.15-5.20 pm
    H.E.Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro

4.Remarks by the Permanent Representative of                        5.20-5.25 pm
   South Africa to the UN, H.E.Mr. Baso Sangqu

5.Remarks by the Permanent Representative  of                       5.25-5.30 pm
   The United States to the UN,H.E.Mr. Susan E.Rice

6. Remarks by the Permanent Representative of                       5.30-5.35 pm
    Sri Lanka to the UN,H.E.Dr.Palitha Kohona, on
    Behalf of Chairman of the SAARC Council of Ministers

7. Remarks by Chief, UN Postal Administration,                          5.35-5.40 pm
    Mr. Robert Gray

8.Unveiling of the commemorative stamp                                5.40 pm
   and souvenir card by the PGA and DSG

9.Felicitation of Ms Tina Pacheco and Ms Alexis Baram,               5.45 pm
   Daughter and granddaughter respectively of
   Dr. Ferdie Pacheco, designer of the stamp

   Followed by reception                                                      5.50-7.00pm
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