Commonwealth Secretary-General, President discuss CHOGM objectives

Tuesday, 28 October 2014 01:48 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Kamalesh Sharma and Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa Monday discussed the reforms and objectives agreed upon at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013 that took place in Colombo last November. Sharma met the Sri Lankan President at Temple Trees this morning to brief the current Commonwealth Chair-in-Office on the ongoing work and progress of objectives agreed upon at CHOGM 2013.                 The Secretary-General, who is on an official visit to Sri Lanka from 25-29 October 2014, called his visit a routine “health check” of work resulting from a CHOGM and told President Rajapaksa that the check “is successful.” Sharma updated the President on CHOGM reforms that are being considered, including matters pertaining to the duration of the biennial meeting and the level of participation, among others. Regarding initiatives taking place in Sri Lanka, Sharma informed the President that the collaborations between the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka have been very productive. He stated that the Secretariat stands ready to continue assisting in the implementation of the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) as required. Sharma also noted that the work of the Commonwealth Youth Council (CYC) has been very successful thus far. Commonwealth heads endorsed establishing a CYC during CHOGM 2011 in Perth, Australia. Fulfilling that decision, the first general assembly took place in Hambantota during CHOGM 2013. Subsequently, following an offer by the Government of Sri Lanka, the International Secretariat of the CYC was established in Hambantota and officially declared open in August 2014. “Hambantota will always be remembered as a watershed in our youth-related work,” Sharma told the President. With the approach of the one-year mark since Sri Lanka hosted CHOGM 2013, the visit of Sharma is a routine one that takes place at the half-way point to brief the Chair-in-Office of the progress of initiatives planned for the two-year period. Minister of External Affairs, Prof. G.L. Peiris was also present at the meeting. The Secretary General Sunday visited Jaffna and met the Governor of the Northern Province G.A Chandrasiri. He and the Governor held discussions on the progress of the post-war development activities carried out in the war-torn province. Sharma also held discussions with representatives of human rights groups and civil society in the North. During his visit, the Secretary-General will also meet the Minister of External Affairs, Professor G. L. Peiris, Speaker of Parliament, Chamal Rajapaksa, and other political leaders.