Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma today called upon Sri Lanka to accelerate its efforts towards sustainable reconciliation, while urging the government to address legitimate concerns of the citizens in the Northern.
He encouraged the government to continue the implementation of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) recommendations.
While commending the efforts made by the government to redevelop infrastructure and basic services in the Northern Province, which he observed during his one-day visit to the area, Sharma said it was equally important to empower the people of the province, as well as their elected leaders to address legitimate concerns on restricted and monitored movements of both the citizens of the province in their daily lives and those visiting them for lawful purposes.
He also emphasised the importance of continuing to reduce the military security role in the civilian life of the province.
Meanwhile, in his statement Sharma also shed light on his discussions with the Elections Commissioner and noted that Commonwealth election observers have expressed concern on the lack of full independence of the Office of the Elections Commissioner.
He also stated that Commonwealth observers will be deployed for the next nation-wide election and also expressed his pleasure to receive confirmation from the Elections Commissioner that in the future, accredited domestic observers would have full access to the vote counting process.
Sharma arrived in Sri Lanka on Saturday and during the visit he called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa, External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris, Deputy Leader of the Opposition Karu Jayasuriya, Human Rights Commission officials, UN Resident Coordinator in Sri Lanka, Subinay Nandy as well as the Northern Chief Minister, Governor, TNA Leader and several NPC provincial ministers during his visit to the North.(Lakna Paranamanna)
Video by Darshana Sanjeewa
Pix by Kushan Pathiraja