Lanka overcoming, polarization and distrust - Buhne

Lanka overcoming, polarization and distrust - Buhne

October 27, 2010   10:30 am

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Pictured here Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris in conversation with United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Neil Buhne at the UN office in Colombo at the 65th UN Day celebrations. Pic by Eranga Perera



Sri Lanka is overcoming the polarization and distrust associated with a long conflict, United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Neil Buhne said addressing the 65thUN Day celebrations. He added that, more than most countries Sri Lanka is positioned to move beyond that and take advantage of the opportunities an interconnected world offers - to improve peoples’ lives.

 

It is Sri Lankans who will make this happen.  However the United Nations can help Sri Lanka use the universal values of tolerance, mutual respect and human dignity to do this - values which are central in Dhamma Pada, the Bhagavath Gita, the Quran and the Bible.  The progress made so far needs to be recognized – whether it is in terms of the progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, or in the accomplishments of the people displaced as they return and rebuild their lives with the support of the Government, the UN system and international organizations, civil society and the private sector, Buhne said.

 

Full speech delivered by Buhne;

 

 

Address by the United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator at the United Nations 65th UN Day celebrations.

 

Mr. Minister, Excellencies, friends of the United Nations, colleagues,



Thank you for joining us to mark the 65th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations.  For the United Nations system to be effective in a country, it needs strong partnership and many friends. We are grateful for the Minister’s presence here tonight. It is a mark of the support the Government of Sri Lanka provides for our work – which we need if we are to effectively support the Government’s efforts to improve lives.  We appreciate greatly the presence of so many partners and friends tonight - whom we work with every day in our efforts to help all Sri Lankans meet their goals for the future.



The Secretary-General said “despite our problems, despite polarization and distrust, our interconnected world has opened up vast new possibilities for progress”.  This is perhaps even truer for Sri Lanka than for other countries. Sri Lanka is overcoming the polarization and distrust associated with a long conflict.  But more than most countries it is positioned to move beyond that and take advantage of the opportunities an interconnected world offers - to improve peoples’ lives.



It is Sri Lankans who will make this happen.  However the United Nations can help Sri Lanka use the universal values of tolerance, mutual respect and human dignity to do this - values which are central in Dhamma Pada, the Bhagavath Gita, the Quran and the Bible.  The progress made so far needs to be recognized – whether it is in terms of the progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, or in the accomplishments of the people displaced as they return and rebuild their lives with the support of the Government, the UN system and international organizations, civil society and the private sector.



As the Secretary General says, UN Day is a day on which we resolve to do more.  Here in Sri Lanka that means continuing to help those who suffered the most during the war, whether that is a widow in Anuradhapura who lost her husband, or a fisherman  in Batticaloa, who lost his house  and his livelihood twice – first in the Tsunami and  then during the conflict, or a family in Mullaitivu who were displaced multiple times, and now returned back to a damaged house and are planting their land for the first time since 2007, while grieving the loss of a family member.  It means helping them put back together their homes, their farms and their hearts.



Here in Sri Lanka it also means helping the country take advantage of the opportunities development can bring – and supporting the government in ensuring that as this happens inequalities become less rather than more. It means helping the country to adapt to changes – including climate change so that peoples’ lives are not made worse as the climate changes.  It means recognizing and promoting, and preserving the richness, diversity of Sri Lanka’s environment and people, and helping the world to appreciate and recognize that unique beauty.



So as the Secretary General said, let us re-commit ourselves to the charter to “promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.”




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