Statement by H.E. Dr. Palitha T.B. Kohona,
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations

UN Security Council Open Debate
Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflict
12th February, 2013, New York


Mr. President,

Let me join the previous speakers in thanking the Republic of Korea for convening this open debate under its Presidency. I would also like to thank the Secretary-General, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and the Director of the International Committee of the Red Cross for their helpful statements.

The Sri Lanka delegation associates itself with the statement delivered on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement by the delegation of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Today, we celebrate Sri Lanka’s 65th National Day with the realization of a sustainable peace supplemented by comprehensive economic and social development programmes benefiting the people in all parts of our motherland.

The Government under the visionary leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa continues to strengthen the extensive socioeconomic development process that envisages the betterment of its peoples while achieving an 8% annual growth rate since the eradication of separatist terrorism from the island.  Large scale infrastructure projects with newly built roads, air and sea ports amply demonstrate the robust economic agenda of Sri Lanka.

We Sri Lankans who have sacrificed immensely to ensure the sovereignty of the nation, celebrate this 65th National Independence Day with utmost pride.

The nation has embarked on a path of development which has made freedom really meaningful. This is a very difficult and challenging task, the fulfillment of which would bring both justice and prosperity to the nation. The time has now dawned when you and your children need not to think with fear and suspicion about the future.

We have acted with a firm commitment to defeat local and foreign forces ranged against the country. Even when the leadership is faced with difficult and challenging situations we have a principled commitment not to betray the country. In doing so, we derive immense strength from the enormous cooperation we receive from the people.

Unity among communities and religious harmony are vital factors for the development of the country. Divisions among us will strengthen various hostile forces seeking to deny us our freedom. When all communities rise in unity, the forces hostile to the country will be weakened and freedom further strengthened. We celebrate the 65th anniversary of independence with firm determination and clear commitment to national unity.

We salute and pay our homage to all patriots who have made the supreme sacrifice to safeguard the freedom and sovereignty of the nation.

'Sri Lanka has made more gains post-conflict than Northern Ireland' 

Northern Ireland parliamentarian for North Antrim from Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) Ian Paisley Jr said that Sri Lanka has made more measurable gains post-conflict than Northern Ireland. That is what he has seen on the ground, and British politicians should recognise it and stop the suffocation of a country by its past and help Sri Lanka to move forward to a better future. He made these strong comments with passion at Westminister Hall, UK Parliament during the debate on ‘Sri Lanka and the United Nations responsibility to protect’ from 9.30am to 11.00am on Tuesday 08 January 2013.

2013 will see valuable work for progress of democracy – President 

The year dawning today will see valuable work for the progress of democracy, equality among people and important aspects of development in our Motherland, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said.

"It is my belief that all communities will join in unity with the common purpose of success towards realizing these goals," he said in a New Year message.

Full text of the message:

We step into this New Year as a country that has gained immense progress in freedom, democracy and the tasks of development, and one that has successfully faced up to many challenges before it.

Similarly, we move into this New Year as a country that has won the confidence of people both at home and abroad. Therefore, the year dawning today will see valuable work for the progress of democracy, equality among people and important aspects of development in our Motherland. It is my belief that all communities will join in unity with the common purpose of success towards realizing these goals.

The achievement of success in all the tasks before us with determination, commitment and courage is my wish for our Motherland in the Year 2013.

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