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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 111

Sri Lanka state provides health, education, sanitation to Tiger-controlled areas – Minister Yapa tells Inter-Parliamentary Union

Geneva, 11 October, (Asiantribune.com): Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Minister of Mass Media and Information, told a panel discussion at the 117th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union held in Geneva from 8 to 10 October 2007 that Sri Lanka, which gained universal franchise in 1931 and remained a functioning democracy since then, is now “facing a challenge in maintaining national security, while preserving human security and individual freedoms in the fight against terrorism.” Anura Priyadarshana Yapa: “However, the people of Sri Lanka and the Governments they have elected have ensured that Sri Lanka always remains a functioning democracy, while fighting terrorism and safeguarding individual freedoms. “Anura Priyadarshana Yapa: “However, the people of Sri Lanka and the Governments they have elected have ensured that Sri Lanka always remains a functioning democracy, while fighting terrorism and safeguarding individual freedoms. “

He added: “Sri Lanka has been grappling with the fight against the LTTE, one of the most ruthless terrorist organisations in the world, for the last two decades. This organisation has fielded a large number of suicide bombers against innocent civilians and continues to recruit children as combatants.

“However, the people of Sri Lanka and the Governments they have elected have ensured that Sri Lanka always remains a functioning democracy, while fighting terrorism and safeguarding individual freedoms. “

He said that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Louise Arbour has undertaken a mission in Sri Lanka. She is currently in Sri Lanka meeting state officials, NGOs, human rights activists, etc.

He also pointed out that the Government of Sri Lanka, while fighting terrorism, has also ensured that the people living in conflict affected areas are provided with all assistance and protection. Even in few areas still under LTTE control, the Government continues to provide all assistance for people living in those areas, including basics infrastructure in health, education and sanitation.

He said: “Recently, as soon as the security forces completely took control of the Eastern Province from the clutches of LTTE, the Government of Sri Lanka launched an accelerated development programme in that Province aimed at helping all three communities – Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim – who live in harmony in equal proportions by strengthening the democratic institutions in the Province and helping them to improve their living conditions and livelihoods.”

During the Assembly the newly established IPU Committee on United Nations Affairs met for the first time. The question of the “democracy deficit” in international relations figured high on its agenda and the parliamentarians debated how best to provide parliamentary input to and oversight of the United Nations system.

More than 1000 delegates from over 130 national parliaments attended the 117th IPU Assembly which was held at the Centre International de Conférences de Genève (CICG).

- Asian Tribune -

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