29 October, 2020

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To Us The Commonwealth Values Continue To Be Relevant

By Mahinda Rajapaksa

Mahinda Rajapaksa

Mahinda Rajapaksa

Most Venerable Maha Sangha and other religious dignitaries,
Your Royal Highnesses, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, Fellow Heads of Government,
Commonwealth Foreign Ministers,
Secretary General of the Commonwealth,
Excellencies,
Ladies & Gentlemen,

A warm welcome, to the opening ceremony of the 22nd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. It is my pleasure to welcome to Sri Lanka, Your Royal Highnesses, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, fellow Commonwealth Heads of Government, Foreign Ministers, spouses of visiting dignitaries, delegates and special invitees.

Your Royal Highness, the Prince of Wales, representing the Head of the Commonwealth, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second, is no stranger to Sri Lanka. In fact, Your Royal Highness’s Trust has funded several social development projects here. I am sure Your Royal Highness will carry pleasant memories of this visit to our country. I also wish to thank the outgoing chairman of Australia for extending all the support to make this CHOGM a success.

Hosting this meeting is a historic occasion for Sri Lanka and also privileged to Asia as CHOGM returns to this region after twenty four years. As one of the eight founding members of the modern Commonwealth, Sri Lanka is deeply honoured to host this event and extremely thankful to all of you who have been firm in your support and understanding of the related complexities in Sri Lanka’s post conflict phase. This confidence reposed by you in my country will greatly assist me in steering the Organisation’s future in the best interest of our peoples.

We in Sri Lanka are stepping into a new era of peace, stability and renewed economic opportunities that have been long denied to my people, due to the menace of terrorism that existed for nearly three decades. In ending terrorism in 2009, we asserted the greatest human right, the right to life. I am happy to state that in the past four years, there has not been a single terrorist related incident, anywhere in Sri Lanka.

Excellencies and Friends,

There is a multitude of global challenges, arising from the uncertainty of the socio economic conditions, faced by our nations today. We, in the Commonwealth, must therefore collectively find means of effectively addressing these challenges to safeguard the values we hold dear.

It is in recognition of the urgent need to address the burning issues connected to growth and development, which directly impinge on the lives of our peoples, that Sri Lanka proposed the theme, “Growth with Equity: Inclusive Development” for this CHOGM.

We believe that this theme has broad relevance to the larger Commonwealth, and highlights the importance of equity in economic development, particularly in view of the existing disparities in the distribution of wealth, and economic benefits. Inclusive development promotes progress and contributes towards achieving Millennium Development Goals.

In the case of Sri Lanka, our current policy agenda, the Mahinda Chinthana, Vision for the Future, spells out clear strategies of improving the livelihoods of our people, ensuring that economic and social benefits reach every strata of society, and more importantly, taking Sri Lanka into the future, by aiming to be the ‘Wonder of Asia’.

I am happy to say that Sri Lanka has achieved success on a range of social indicators that comprise the MDGs, despite being a lower middle income country. Absolute poverty in Sri Lanka declined from 15.2 per cent in 2007 to 6.5 per cent in 2012, surpassing the MDG mid-term target. While reaching out to care for all our people’s needs, the Government has also taken a pro-active approach, to post-conflict reconstruction and reconciliation.

Your Royal Highnesses, Fellow Heads of Government, Excellencies, and friends,

Faced with tough challenges, we, in the Commonwealth, need to ask ourselves, a few questions.

First, Can we realistically say that the need for basic facilities, healthcare, education, productive employment, access to food and safe drinking water, eradication of poverty and hunger, are of lesser importance than political concerns?

Second, Should not the Commonwealth, collectively strive towards the realization of development goals, to enable its member countries to reap economic benefits?

Third, shouldn’t we be addressing more vigorously the issue of ‘common poverty’ before we talk about ‘common wealth’?

As a matter of priority, we, in the Commonwealth, should focus on development challenges, confronting the majority of our member nations. I see a compelling need for those who guide the destiny of the Commonwealth to give serious thought to practical modalities, focusing on social and economic issues. This will greatly enhance the relevance and value of the Commonwealth.

Particular emphasis on the well-being of women and children is necessary. There is, as well, the acute need for awareness of both the potential and the risks attendant on Information Technology.

Although economic priorities take centre stage, let us not forget that people are the greatest wealth of our nations. Strengthening the quality of human capital will help countries to achieve sustained growth. Greater people-to-people contact within the nations of the Commonwealth, as well as taking the objectives of the Commonwealth to the most remote sections of our populations, is also important.

CHOGM 2013 will provide the opportunity for us to assess the Commonwealth’s achievements with regard to development goals. If the Commonwealth is to remain relevant to its member countries, the Association must respond sensitively, to the needs of its peoples and not let it turn into a punitive or judgmental body.

We must also collectively guard against bilateral agendas being introduced into the Organization, distorting Commonwealth traditions and consensus. The strength of the Organisation lies in keeping the member countries together, helping one another in a spirit of partnership, making the Commonwealth truly unique.

Excellencies,

Our deliberations in Colombo must lead to the greatest practical benefits for the peoples of a renewed Commonwealth, one that is engaging, collaborative and unifying, rather than prescriptive and divisive.

In December last year, the Charter of the Commonwealth comprising the values and aspirations shared by all members of the Organization was adopted. To us in Sri Lanka today, they continue to be relevant, as we usher in a new era and also because all religions we follow in Sri Lanka have taught us to uphold the highest human values.

Finally, I wish to quote the words of the Buddha, the Enlightened One:

“Na pa resan wilomani, Na pa resan katakatan, Attanova avekkeiya, Katani aka thanicha”

‘Let not one take notice of faults of other’s or what they have done or not done. Let one be concerned only about what one has done and left undone.’

Whilst looking forward to a fruitful and constructive engagement, I wish all of you, a very pleasant and an enjoyable stay in our country.

May the Noble Triple Gem Bless you all.

*Address by President of Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2013 (Nelum Pokuna ‘Lotus Pond’, Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre, 15 November 2013) 

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Latest comments

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    After listening to his speech, am pretty sure Ranil would be in the Opposition until eternity… being his lapdog forever and deprive SL’s of any change if we are to have one… I am impressed with his speech n how he delivered without even caring of how much external pressure he has in regard to human rights accusations.

    I was not an MR supporter… But I am awed at his courage and how cool he handles pressure…

    My Hats off to u president…

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      Did you get a threatning call mate?
      You sounds like Dayasiri suddenly.

      ‘I am impressed with his speech n how he delivered without even caring’
      It has to be that way because he doesnt bother or care about anything so he doesnt understand. Even Mugabe the same if you listen to him.

      What did you mean by his cool. How did you expect the President to behave. Mate, he is the President of the CW too from now, so he cannot behave like Bull in the China shop as usual.

      Typical stupid Sri lankan silly mentality and Hats (+Caps/Thoppi/Turban/Satakaya) off for that.
      Ayyo Sri Lanka.

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        A good reply to “SnowAss”. How can he be impressed with a speech that has been written for Hitlerpassa?

    • 0
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      however, he looks very angry and tensed up. surely, these are not the qualities of a leader. he too has inferiority complex like majority of the chingala tribe.

      • 0
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        Bad delivery, bad body language, bad pronunciation.

        His nervousness was all to see !

      • 0
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        He does not tale local arrack, but quality stuff. The alcohol chemistry on Asians and on European differ significantly.

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      I agree that this a much better speech than the one he delivered yesterday when he was reading from notes and some time showed that he didn’t know what was written on the next piece of papaer and there was no flow.

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      MR will be president for as long as he wants. Luckily, he delivered this forgettable speech in second-hand language so that 90% of our people would have had to listen to a ‘shaped’ translation to understand the historic message. Shame he hadn’t the courage to sppeak in SINHALA where he would have been more forceful and his message would have had a better chance of reaching the 15 million who hadn’t a bloody clue as to what he was on about.

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      Snowdon Asange his are Only in words but no action. BTW did you [Edited out]

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      If this is what you are thrilled at your bar is set so low. The whole ceremony looked pathetic including the speeches.

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    “I am happy to state that in the past four years, there has not been a single terrorist related incident, anywhere in Sri Lanka.”

    Except of course for the Rajapaksa brand of terrorism against Democracy, Human Rights and the Rule of law!!!!!!!!!!!

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      Since Sri Lankan citizens have to foot the MEGA bill of the Colombo Commonwealth circus to boost the Rajapakse dictatorship, we the people have the right and civil society need to focus on holding Kamlesh Sharma and the Commonwealth of Nations as much as Rajapakse, ACCOUNTABLE through a well thought out campaign.
      It is time to hold Kamlesh Sharma and the Common poverty of Nations ACCOUNTABLE to the common citizens and peoples that it claims to benefit. If this is not done Commonwealth of Clowns which violates its own core values and promotes dictators should be shut down.
      A clear distinction must be made between the people of Sri Lanka who are silent because there is no leadership from the OPPOSITION UNP and the corrupt and criminal Rajapakse regime which does NOT represent the great silent majority.
      We MUST demand a REVIEW of Mahinda Rajapakse’s appointment as Head of the CHOGM circus, and ensure that benchmarks are set for democratization in Sri Lanka, so that he is required to demonstrate progress on CORE VALUED OF DEMOCRACY AND HUMAN RIGHTS by restoring the proper Chief Justice, the 17 Amendment to the Constitutions, Right to information and pass a bill against Hate speech and return of lands and demilitarization of north – or otherwise Rajapassa should be stripped of being head of CHOGM circus.
      We the people of Sri Lanka, which are suppose to head the circus called the Commonwealth, MUST also DEMAND a comprehensive, measured and results-based EVALUATION of this British colonial relic organization’s performance in the past 2 decades – has it reduced poverty and inequality in the 60 years of its existence or made it worse? Why is its agenda a poor imitation of the UNDP agenda? Why does it boost human rights violators like Mahinda Rajapakse?
      ON the larger issue of accountability of Commonwealth – No organization is above MONITORING, EVALUATION and results measurement. Given its track record a TRANSPARENT EVALUATION of the organization and its RESULTS is required and should be the HIGHEST PRIORITY.

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      If Rajapassa does not behave, Sharma and the Queen as HEAD of Commonwealth of Clowns could well marginalize and ignore him, until the next Common Poverty of Nations Circus is held in two years time in Mauritius!
      This is most likely what will happen- all according to crafty Manmohan Singh’s plan!
      Why do you think Cameron and Charles visited the Jewel in the Crown before going to Colombo?

    • 0
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      Peace dove
      read the history , long term terrorism against Democracy, Human Rights against Tamils became the tamil youths took arms now as wheel turn sinhala youths take arm again because the Rajapaksa brand of terrorism

    • 0
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      right on ! ha ha ha

    • 0
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      except for abduction and killing of innocent tamils in thenorth by the securityforces

  • 0
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    “To Us The Commonwealth Values Continue To Be Relevant” – He made a typing error. he missed the I – IRelevant.

    • 0
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      he said “continue to be relevant” he didnt say untill how long?
      it will be irelevant as soon as CHOGAM circus is over

    • 0
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      good one !

  • 0
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    I am so relieved that someone wrote a fairly good speech for our king. Although his majestly found a bit difficult in pronoucing, swallowing some words, shaking his head left to right and nodding unnecessarily still somehow he managed to finish the speech. Well done our king hon mahinda. Athi yanthang now all those foreign dignitaries would finally believe our king’s every word.
    Mr Kamalesh Shawarma must be so proud that he made the right decesion.
    Those who hate this regime will soon see the investors from overseas will storm in. Mr Ranil tried his best to distrupt this summit even at the last hour by organising some people to attack Sirikotha and balmed innocent BBS. How cunning he was.

    Almost forgot to mention aney, nice pronounsation ne ape lokkage. Cho…. Chweet he is.

    • 0
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      Yasodara Fukushima,
      Can you pl ask your defeated Tamil terrorists pals help us with our pronunciation?i.e I am Worrrking.Birrrrmingham,Orrrganizing,Ischool,Weatherrrr,harrrd worrrk etc.

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        Can you pronounce Niv York, mate? You seem to be spending too much of time with Indians. The Tamils from the North and South speak English the same way. Ask anyone with some brain, they will tell you.

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          Rohan,
          Arrre you worrrking tomorrrow?Oh!you defeated Tamil terrorists have become the laughing stock of the world!

        • 0
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          Rohan – Dont waste your time on Jimsofty.
          He is anyway has genes as his idol Malabari Rajafucksa.

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      Yasodara Fukushima,

      You are absolutely hilarious :-)

    • 0
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      The Tamils got what they wanted. Wanted to expose the Sri Lankans to the world and SL stood naked for them. Very good propaganda for the Tamils all expenses paid by Sri Lanka.

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    You talk about well being of the people. Exactly that is what Tamils wanted for nearly six decades. You do whatever you want with your people. Let Tamils to enjoy their well being by removing your rule from that part of this island. You don’t need to worry about human rights violation. You don’t need to worry about war crimes and humans. Don’t bring the poor Buddha any one. We can live without your help and we can develop our land without a penny from you. We don’t need your murderous military and development. Please leave us alone!

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      Exactly I want……

    • 0
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      Ok Ajith. I understand. The government should arrange for the minorities to leave the country instead of continuing with the genocide. I hope you escape. I wish you well.

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        You are talking of Sinhala minority. They are minority in our land. We don’t do what you butchers do?

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      Yes we will leave you alone.Bugger off to Tamil Nadu,that is where you belong!

      • 0
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        but that is against the values of the commonwealth that he said is continue to be relevant to which he has signed up to?

        • 0
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          Rajash you poor thing,
          You believe what we say?Yes we say what we want and it doesn’t mean that we will do what we say.When will these defeated Tamil terrorists ever learn?Forget Mahinda.Do you believe what David Cameron and Manmohan the politicians say?Keep on swallowing dead ropes.

          • 0
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            you poor thing
            you can’t detect a sarcastic comment.

          • 0
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            No body is worried about what you say or what you do. First lern to think. Then worry about other things. Sri Lanka is being slowly taken over by others.

          • 0
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            The whole world now knows that what you have been saying all these years is a pack of lies, thanks to hoeting CHOGAM in Sri Lanka

          • 0
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            The whole world knows that he lied through his teeth to get CHOGAM in Sri Lanak , so that he can have a family photo shoot out with Charlie and decorate his facebook.

      • 0
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        and where do the ‘somewhat Chink’ Jarapakses bugger off to ? China ! Good riddance…..

      • 0
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        I told you several time. First you go out to your jungle. We will follow you.

  • 0
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    maha sangha should be [Edited out]

  • 0
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    A rather flat defensive speech. Clearly addressing a skeptical and guarded audience. No promises made other than expectations. Given the past record no way that he can claim that he is following commonwealth values or that they are relevant, having made them irrelevant. Actions will speak not words.

  • 0
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    Prince Charles in his speech completeley ignored the war against the tamil rebels and chose not to congratulate Mahinda. Instead he was re calling the Tsunami and how the country have recovered from the Tsunami

    There must be a message hidden here?

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      Where has all the Tsunami money gone? An indirect message to our tsunamipathy!

    • 0
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      Rajash,
      You are absolutely right.There is a hidden message.When i say “one,two,three”run run run,look for the hidden message!Oh!you poor defeated Tamil terrorists,our daily dose of “Bite”!

      • 0
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        yes hide and seek is a good game.
        the “hide” part of the game is done, and in March the seek part of the game will begin

  • 0
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    Yes…yes….TO US…TO US……TO THE REGIME
    ” Know the people know who the we….”
    hik..hik..hik…

    Lasantha was murdered…NATO….on Commonweath values
    Prageeth Eknaligoda stll missing…on Commonwealth values.
    Bharatha Lakshman was killed …on Commonwealth Values
    Duminda Silva is at large…on Commonwealth Values..

    The putrid way the CJ 43 was removed …on Commonwealth Values…
    The CJ 44 ( rogue ) was installed ….on Commonwealth Values..
    Nimalaruban was not given Justice…Commonwealth Values..
    The threat to ban Face Book…on Commonwealth Values…

    Noori Estate “Athakota ” action …on Commonwealth Values
    Akuraessa ” Sunil ” had raped 100 girls…on Commonwealth Values
    Mandana Ismail was chased….on Commonwealth values..
    Rathupasvala shoot out …on Commonwealth Values..

    the list is too long….Commonwealth Values are what
    LORD BUDDHA /LORD JESUS CHRIST said 2000 years ago…
    WE BUDDHISTS LEARN IT FROM THE BRITS…
    WHO RUNED OUR COUNTRY…

  • 0
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    What President Rajapakse said is exactly correct.

    The commonwealth values such as good governance, rule of law and independence of judiciary are fully respected and in place here.

    That is why CJ is kept under house arrest and not allowed to perform her duty and the office of the CJ is filled with a stooge, making the Judiciary a mere rubber stamp of Executive President Rajapakse.

    That is why the Judiciary in Sri Lanka (Court of Appeal and Supreme Court) is filled with (more than 99%) subservient stooges appointed from the Attorney General’s Department.

    That is why the Parliament had been reduced to a rubber stamp with Executive President’s brother (Chalmal) appointed as the Speker to control Parliamentary business.

    That is why the media freedom is completely denied and fear psychosis is inflicted in all medi institutions by his brother Gotabaya,

    That is why Freedom of speach, right to dissent, right to life, freedom of movement of the people has been constantly under threat with Executive President’s brother Gotabaya appointed to maintain ‘peace, law and order’.

    That is why the Country’s public finance is openly abused with embazellement of public funds in unimaginable scale by another brother of the Prsident (Basil) appointed to ‘look after re the economic progress’ of Sri Lanka.

    And that is why Govt of Sri Lanka ardently refuse to ratify all international treaties brought in to ensure accountability and abuse of power of those exercise peoples’ executive power for them.

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    ‘Let not one take notice of faults of other’s or what they have done or not done. Let one be concerned only about what one has done and left undone.’

    Very confusing!! There is not much difference between the first sentence and the second sentence!!!

    Any way the International community and the innocent Tamils are asking the Sri lankan governemnt Of what they have done – ie. War crime, genocide, white van, rapes and murders etc. What the Government has left undone is- Have the courage to admit the crime and punish the perpetrators and let the Tamils live without harassment by your uniformed thugs and give back their lands and freedom!!!

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