Commonwealth Secretariat delegation visits Sri Lanka
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 26 March 2003, 11:53 GMT]
A four-member delegation of the Commonwealth Secretariat (CS) is now on a visit to Sri Lanka from March 16 to March 29 for discussions with representatives of local, national and international level non-governmental organizations and government agencies to promote the peace process.
The Commonwealth Secretariat has proposed a national consultation meeting on 'Women, Men and Young People in Partnership for Sustainable Peace' to be
held in two parts in Trincomalee and Kandy in June 2003, sources said.
The CS delegation arrived Trincomalee Monday and held discussions with representatives of local, national and international NGOs in the east port town on "Education and health for
Development and Sustainable Peace", sources said.
The CS delegation comprised of Mr.Syed Sharifuddin, Dr.Ved Goel, Dr Ms R.Baksh
Soodeen and Dr Richard Konteh.
Commonwealth Secretariat delegation ( L-R) Mr.Syed Sharifuddin, Dr.Ved
Goel, Dr.Ms Baksh Soodeen and Dr.Richard Konteh
The aim of the consultation was to address the different ways in which the
war has affected women, men and young people. The consultation would bring
together government, civil society, and sectoral and regional
representatives from all sections and communities in Sri Lanka to achieve
the broadest possible consensus on the components of sustainable peace
building and post-conflict reconstruction, CS sources said.
At the discussion held at the office of the Trincomalee District NGOs
Consortium, the CS delegation was briefed by the local representatives of
local NGOs and international NGOs about the ground situation in Trincomalee
district before and after the Memorandum of Understanding signed between
the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam,
The education standard in rural and difficult areas in Trincomalee district
has not improved because of teacher shortage. Teachers are reluctant
to go to remote schools to serve rural students, local representatives
Acute malnutrition still prevails in rural areas in the district even after
the MoU has been signed. The ceasefire is in force but normalcy has not
returned to the lives of the rural villagers. Women in rural areas are
still insecure, local representatives told SC delegation.
Displaced families still reside in refugee camps and welfare centres unable
to go to their own lands as no facilities have been provided to them to
start a new life, NGO's representatives pointed out.
War widows live in the district without a bright future. Several women
whose husbands have disappeared after the arrest by the security forces
have also been included in the list of war widows, the SC delegation was told.
The main objectives of the CS mission are to receive a comprehensive
briefing on the peace process and its expected outcomes for economic and
social development of Sri Lanka from a broad spectrum of society, meet with
other multilateral and bilateral agencies, to discuss partnerships in
organizing the consultation and addressing follow up programmes and to
identify representatives from all sections of civil and political life in
Sri Lanka's society and development sector to participate in the
consultation, CS sources said.
Representatives of local and international NGOs in
Trincomalee district meeting the Commonwealth Secretariat delegation