Christine Robichon, the Ambassador of France to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, has been briefed on land issues in the Eastern Province, the French Embassy in Colombo said today.
The Embassy said that during a visit to the Eastern Province, the Ambassador paid particular attention to the relations between ethnic and religious communities and to land related issues.
“She was briefed on several cases of land disputes and she witnessed the despair of some of the inhabitants of Ashraf Nagar village, whose lands have been integrated in an Army camp,” the Embassy added.
In the Eastern province, she had meetings with Members of Parliament and Municipal and Urban Councils, the United Nations agencies, representatives of civil society and local organizations, as well as with the staff and the students of the Eastern and the South Eastern Universities.
“Initiatives such as the Sri Lankan Council of Religion for peace of Ampara, which are fostering respect, understanding and peace, through mediation and dialogue at the community level will contribute to build a better future for all Sri Lankan people” she said.
She also witnessed the development of the economy of the districts affected by war while visiting an apparel factory in Ampara and seeing the booming in touristic infrastructures in Passekudah. In Batticaloa, she also visited several successful European Union-funded projects to support small businesses run by single women headed households, implemented by the French NGO ACTED. In Ampara, she participated to the opening of an Early Childhood Care and Development unit in the Zonal Education Office of Akairipattu, in the framework of a program financed by AFD, French Agency for Development and the French Organisation Solidarité Laïque and implemented throughout the Eastern Province with three local counterparts.
The Embassy said that she also visited the Uva Province where she was briefed on the social needs of the tea plantations Tamil workers. During her journey in and around Kandy, Batticaloa, Kalmunai, Haputale and Balangoda, Christine Robichon visited Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christians religious sites, which are part of the rich multicultural and multi religious heritage of the country.
The aim of this visit was to understand better the conditions of living and aspirations of the people, particularly the women and the youth while assessing the progresses in reconstruction of both the economic infrastructures and the social fabric in the districts affected by war. (Colombo Gazette)