Sharma to push for progress in Sri Lanka

Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma will push for advancing Commonwealth values and principles, including the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers, during his ongoing visit to Sri Lanka, the Commonwealth Secretariat said in a statement issued in Colombo today.
Richard Uku, Official Spokesperson and Director of Communications and Public Affairs at the Commonwealth Secretariat said that the Secretary-General will discuss matters of shared interest between Sri Lanka and the Commonwealth, including the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which takes place in Sri Lanka in November.
He said that the Secretary-General will review organisational preparations for CHOGM and discuss possible outcomes that Sri Lanka and Commonwealth leaders will want to achieve at the summit.
“We want the 2013 summit to achieve significant outcomes for all members. It should show ways in which all Commonwealth citizens – be they city dwellers or residents of remote communities – can increasingly become beneficiaries of national development and growth, and be confident that they can shape their societies through democratic culture and processes. Development and democracy are mutually reinforcing,” Uku said.
During the Secretary-General’s last visit in September 2012, his discussions with government identified a number of areas in which Sri Lanka and the Commonwealth would collaborate to deepen their partnership. These included the strengthening of the Human Rights Commission; strengthening the public service, local government, electoral institutions and processes; youth entrepreneurship; sport for development and peace; supporting implementation of the report of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission; legislative drafting; and strengthening an independent media. The Commonwealth Secretariat has been working with the Government of Sri Lanka to take all of these forward.
The Secretary-General’s engagements in Colombo will include meetings with the President, the Speaker of Parliament and the Minister of External Affairs.
Sharma is expected to discuss, among other issues, options for advancing Commonwealth values and principles, including the independence of the judiciary and the separation of powers.
“The Commonwealth approach is to highlight our shared values and to offer best-fit practical assistance that helps achieve progress,” Uku concluded. (Colombo Gazette)