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* Former Sri Lankan President calls on government to uphold internationally accepted principles on democracy
Tue, Mar 11, 2014, 07:44 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 11, Colombo: Former President of Sri Lanka Chandrika Kumaratunga on Tuesday said the country could be protected by international interventions only by the government upholding internationally accepted norms of democracy.

Responding to a question posed by a journalist after she met with the Opposition Leader Opposition and United National Party (UNP) Leader, Ranil Wickremasinghe today, the former President said the good governance underscored with democratic values are the best way to save Sri Lanka and its people from international pressure.

Kumaratunga said she has initiated a dialogue between political parties and other groups in the country to promote interfaith coexistence.

The Former President said she discussed the need to promote religious harmony in the country during her meeting with Wickremasinghe and has also sought a similar meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

She told the media that she initiated the dialogue following an invitation extended by the South Asia Policy and Research Institute (SAPRI), a non-governmental organization she chairs.

Her initiative for a dialogue on promoting interfaith coexistence has resulted from the recent rise in attacks by extremist Buddhist religious groups on churches and mosques in the country.

Kumaratunga said she expects to meet several government ministers and speak to the public on how the interfaith coexistence can save the country.

She said it is significant that the issue of attacks on religious minorities is included in the draft resolution on Sri Lanka tabled at the current UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva.

The resolution, expressing alarm at rapid rise of violence and discrimination on the basis of religion against members of religious minority groups, urges the government to investigate all attacks, by individuals and groups on places of worship and take steps to prevent future attacks.

The rising religious intolerance from extremist Buddhist monks-led organizations in Sri Lanka has raised alarms among the moderate public and if authorities fail to take adequate measures to curtail the violence the actions of these extremist groups would have serious consequences, civil society leaders have warned.

The Opposition leader said his party will support the former President's initiative and efforts to create unity among all religions in Sri Lanka.

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