​SL govt living up to its commitment-US

29 October 2015 07:43 pm - 4     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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While strongly criticizing the previous Rajapaksa government in Sri Lanka, US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power said that the new Sri Lankan government “moved swiftly to show it was serious about living up to its commitments, from stopping harassment of human rights defenders and journalists, to exposing rampant corruption.”

“The incumbent Rajapaksa administration had governed largely through divisiveness and fear, and it had persecuted critics,” Power said at the Open Government Partnership Global Summit in Mexico City, October 28.

“… the challenger Sirisena ran on a platform of open government, anti-corruption and reconciliation,” she said, adding that, “the new government moved swiftly to show it was serious about living up to its commitments…”. “The impact was immediate. A labor organizer who had gone into hiding during the Rajapaksa administration's rule resumed his work, saying he no longer feared being targeted for what he was doing. A journalist who had been routinely harassed for his reporting said, "the fear has gone."

She also said, “but in many ways, that was the easy part. Because walking the walk of open government means not only refraining from muzzling one's critics and refraining from stealing public resources, but finding ways to empower citizens so they can use their greater freedom to shape the government they want. And that's why it's so encouraging that, at the same time it's confronting some of the darkest and most painful chapters in its country's past, the Sirisena administration is also pursuing initiatives to open itself up to greater scrutiny. An access to information law is currently being considered in parliament; Sri Lanka's information technology agency is working to bring connectivity to marginalized communities, who too often have lacked access and the information it provides; and, today, Sri Lanka has joined OGP, one of several new members.

“The experience of Sri Lanka, I think, embodies so much of what is at stake in this enterprise. It shows us the profound costs of impunity and corruption. It shows how a determined and persistent civil society that would not give up can swing the pendulum back toward greater accountability and transparency. And it shows how much leaders can achieve, even in a short period of time, when they are willing to engage the people they serve.”

She also said that that the Sirisena government has a lot to learn from the fellow governments of OGP. Just as we will have a lot to learn from it. As Sri Lankan civil society asserts an increasingly active role in shaping its government's actions, one of its greatest resources will be the counsel of the civil society organizations in this room. And this is a tremendous resource that just a few years ago did not exist, for a government making a transition like Sri Lanka is attempting.

Ms Power also held talks with Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe and Deputy Foreign Minister Harsha de Silva on the sidelines of the event.
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  • Nish Friday, 30 October 2015 11:26 AM

    Lining up to be butchered a decade later. We will be the next Palestine at this rate.

    BuffaloaCitizen Friday, 30 October 2015 09:28 AM

    However the Sri Lanka government is extremely slow on issue of reconciliation and bringing justice to the northern areas. This requires strong will power, ethics and international principles and not pandering to local racist thugs and southern narrow minded sentiments.

    paddy Friday, 30 October 2015 10:13 AM

    Get lost

    Cheers Friday, 30 October 2015 02:22 AM

    Thanks for the comment you must be thrilled that we have a president and a prime minister who dances to your tune and have no patriotism


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