Ensuring equity of people Lankan minister points finger at minority issues, The News Today, 7 August 2012

Date: 6 August 2012

Sri Lankan Foreign Affairs Minister GL Peiris on Monday stressed practicing ‘genuinely representative democracy’ to ensure equity, opportunity and empowerment of people in South Asia, reports UNB.

“Besides taking economic measures to empower people, it’s equally important to ensure emanation of the ideas from the grassroots to upwards and people’s involvement in a genuinely representative democracy,” Peiris said.

He was delivering a lecture, titled ‘Equity, Opportunity and Empowerment: A South Asian Perspective’, at Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) Auditorium.

Citing Sri Lankan experiences, Peiris said Sri Lanka’s many constitutional reforms did not produce good results due to lack of ‘adequate consensus of people’.

Quotas for women and disadvantaged groups in educational institutions and jobs are vital for a just and balanced economic development to take place, but “you also need to make sure that the groups can sufficiently represent themselves in politics,” he said.

In Sri Lanka, he said, political parties are now compelled to ensure that certain proportions of their candidates are from different groups, including youths and women.

Stressing the importance of mainstreaming the ethnic minorities through economic, political and cultural interventions, he said economic causes, such as deprivation, are not solely responsible for creating terrorism. “Rather, it’s the lack of identification of the minorities that we need to address to resolve the problems.”

The Sri Lankan minister is in Dhaka to participate in a two-day international conference on the ‘People’s Empowerment and Development Model’, proposed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the 66th General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA) last year. The model has been accepted and adopted by G-77 and the 2nd committee of the United Nations.

Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs adviser Gowher Rizvi, Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) president Farooq Sobhan and BIISS director general Emrul Quayes, among others were present at the lecture programme jointly hosted by BIISS and BEI.

Source: http://www.newstoday.com.bd/index.php?option=details&news_id=2320418&date=2012-08-07