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Tuesday, 2 October 2012

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The young, the old and Human Rights

By a fitting coincidence, the international focus is falling on Sri Lanka’s achievements in the Human Rights sphere at a time when the welfare of children and the elderly is being stressed by the world too. It is our hope that the special significance attached to October 1 as World Children and Elders’ Day would not be lost sight of once the relevant routine commemorative events are held.

The coming together of these events enables us to take stock of what we have achieved or not achieved by way of empowering those considered weak by many, such as, women, children and the elderly.

Former AG and Sri Lanka’s representative to the UN Mohan Peiris was quoted by us yesterday as saying that the international community is increasingly impressed with Sri Lanka’s achievements on the Human Rights front, and that too at a time when the Universal Periodic Review on Sri Lanka by the UNHRC is round the corner.

This is welcome news and we earnestly hope that indefatigable efforts would be exerted by the state to impress on the world that concrete progress is being made by Sri Lanka towards fulfilling her international obligations as regards Rights.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating and Sri Lanka would need to make substantial progress in empowering those who are considered weakest among us, besides making advancements on other fronts, to provide the world with clinching evidence that Human Rights are being increasingly realized locally.

Over the past couple of months or so, the violence unleashed on women and children locally seems to have declined, but the observer could be wrong on this score, provided his impressions are backed by statistical and well documented evidence. Maybe, institutions, such as, the relevant Ministry overlooking women and children’s affairs and National Child Protection Authority could help to put the record straight. Ideally, these organizations should every now and then keep the public informed about the progress that is being made as regards the realization of the Rights of women and children.

No less a person than President Mahinda Rajapaksa is on record that it would be his endeavour never to compromise the institution of free education in this country and this augurs well for the welfare of this country’s children, because education is an important means of empowerment.

In this connection we would like to emphasize that the state should go ahead steadily with its project to establish as many National Schools as possible in the country, to ensure that no child is denied the opportunity of acquiring a quality education.

While one could be glad that women’s Rights are continuing to be in focus, we hope that much more substantive progress would be made in the direction of women’s empowerment. Although the situation has improved somewhat over the past couple of months, violence against women is continuing and there is apparently a need to stringently further enforce the law to make the country an absolutely safe place for vulnerable women.

Besides, women’s Rights organizations need to be more proactive and articulate on the issue of women’s empowerment. One of the tragedies of the times is that there seems to be little readiness among those who ought to be concerned, to take up the cause of women’s welfare.

The need is also great to further enhance the welfare of our elders. It is now well known that the elderly segment of the local population is well on the rise, but the material as well emotional security of our elders cannot be absolutely guaranteed amid a plethora of rising uncertainties. Chief among these is financial insecurity.

Not all children can afford to fend for their parents and elders and this factor should be focused on in the days ahead. The state should seek to further strengthen institutional support for the old and this must be viewed as a national priority.

Mahatma Gandhi, the universal soul

“As time passes, I find that history continually rewrites Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., transforming them into men of passive resistance. It is perhaps one of the greatest misconceptions common to both.

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Reminiscences of Gold

The Great Heart behind the Punchi Theatre

Namel Weeramuni, dramatist and actor, is an extremely engaging and effervescent man. Lively and bubbly, he immediately puts anyone at ease. Namel Weeramuni whose craft and forte is drama is no newcomer to the limelight. Reminiscences of Gold met with him at his Punchi Theatre.

Full Story

‘Recalled to Life’ through Rehab

Her smile is infectious. The soft-spoken young woman, a typical Tamil girl, is shy. The small red pottu and simple jewellery add glamour to her charm. She crushes the pink handkerchief in her palm while unfolding her story of transforming from a hardcore terrorist to an ordinary woman who now dreams of seeing her four year-old son.

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