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No room for terrorism

President tells 96th ILO Sessions:

SWITZERLAND: The Government is not prepared, at any cost, to bow down to terrorism, President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared yesterday.

Terrorism has no place in the contemporary world, President Rajapaksa told the International Labour Organisation’s 96th session in Geneva.

He said The LTTE, a known ruthless terrorist organisation continues to challenge the Government, determined to force it to compromise on the standards that have been developed over the years.

“Would any of your Governments submit to terrorism had they been in our position?,” the President questioned adding, “There can be no room for extremism, and even less for violence.”

“However, we are determined that political objectives must be realised through negotiation and dialogue and through compromise.”

“My Government has been able to form a coalition of 13 democratic political parties to work in harmony for the well being of the country,” he said stressing that the Government did not believe in a military solution.

He assured that being multi-ethnic, his Government cannot and will not discriminate against any minority groups.

“When I assumed the Presidency in November 2005, I had already declared I was willing to talk to the LTTE and even its leader, towards a negotiated settlement of the conflict. Within two weeks of my assumption of the Presidency, the LTTE commenced its killing spree.”

The President said there was a misunderstanding and false propaganda that the Government was involved in ethnic cleansing.

“This is absolutely false. I must remind this august assembly that it is the LTTE which resorted to heavy ethnic cleansing from the early nineteen eighties. They evicted all the Muslims and the Sinhalese from the North.

Terrorist outfits cannot be contained easily. I want to assure you that our Armed Forces and the Police are among the most disciplined in the world, and they have great respect for human rights.”

The President assured that any lapses on the military’s part will be promptly investigated and corrective action taken.

“But I am sad to say that there has been so much of false propaganda against the Sri Lankan Armed forces and the Police that is being taken so seriously by the rest of the world.”

Referring to the removal of some people from the Colombo lodges recently he said, they were compelled by the fact almost all LTTE suicide bombers have been staying in such lodges.

“On average 20,000 persons occupy these lodges and only 302 persons were the subject of this evacuation. In fact many left voluntarily.

Please do not forget that over sixty per cent living in Colombo are Tamils and Muslims. As our Government declared, if any inconvenience was caused to innocent persons, we regret it very much.”

He said Sri Lanka has always ensured that women are

provided with decent work environments, equal pay and has been very strict about employing child labour. It is appropriate for me to say that, having gained admission to the ILO in 1948, Sri Lanka has been a party to 31 ILO Conventions including its eight core conventions.

This is particularly appropriate, because Sri Lanka’s unique strength lies in the quality of its human resources.

Our compliance with global standards has gained Sri Lanka the right to market its garments under the slogan “garments without guilt”.

With all these welfare measures and a sharp focus on the development of the human being, it’s no wonder Sri Lanka enjoys a very high rating in the UN development index at 93. We are also on the way to achieving or

surpassing many of the Millennium Development Goals. All these benefit the worker, the rural farmer and the self employed, the President said.

Full text of speech

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Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
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