The 70th Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s independence celebrated in Geneva

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The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva celebrated the 70th Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s Independence in a grand manner, on 4th February 2018 at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) with the participation of over 250 members of the Sri Lankan community in Switzerland.

The ceremonial event for the community to mark the 70th Independence Day commenced with the hoisting of the National Flag followed by the singing of the National Anthem in Sinhala. Two minutes silence was observed in hounouring all patriots, who sacrificed their lives to preserve and protect the freedom, unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. 

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Following the lighting of the traditional oil lamp, multi-religious observances were conducted. Ven. Thawalama Dhammika Thero, Ven. Halyale Wimalarathana Thero and Ven. Halwitigala Sujatha Thero invoked blessings according to the Buddhist religious tradition. Rev. Uma Shankar Kurukkal conducted the Hindu religious observances. Mr. A.M. Zawahir conducted the Islamic religious observances. Rev. Sister Philo Jesudasan, Rev. Sister Clarista Benedict and Mrs. Sandra Bandaranaike conducted the Christian religious observances.

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The 70th Independence Day message of President Maithripala Sirisena was read by Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya, Deputy Permanent Representative, while Mrs. Mafusa Lafir, Second Secretary read the Message of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Ms. Shashika Somaratne, Minister Counsellor read the Message of Minister Thilak Marapana of Foreign Affairs.

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Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Ravinatha Aryasinha, addressing the gathering highlighted the importance of appreciating the diversity that we all add as individuals and as groups, belonging to different ethnicities, religions, beliefs and ways of life, to the fabric of Sri Lanka, and to look to the future as one nation. He further noted that the Government under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, is committed to achieve lasting peace, national reconciliation, achieving inclusive green growth and eradication of poverty, and uplifting the quality and competitiveness of our human capital in a global scale, which have been identified as key priorities by the Government.

Ambassador Aryasinha noted the unique position and responsibility of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Geneva in advancing and contributing to these efforts of the Government through engagement with the United Nations and other International Organizations based in Geneva.

Ambassador thanked community for the continued support and urged the community to continue to contribute in the process of building a peaceful and prosperous country for all Sri Lankans. The Mission, he said will also, continue to engage and work closely with the Sri Lankan community.

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Ambassador Mr. R.D.S. Kumararatne, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization (WTO) delivered the Vote of Thanks. The official ceremony concluded with the playing of the National Anthem in Tamil.

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Following the conclusion of the ceremonial segment of the programme, two cultural performances were staged by the Sri Lankan children based in Switzerland namely ‘Bulath Padaya’, a dance depicting the festive season and a Baratha Natyam.

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Qatar Airways code sharing with Sri Lankan Airlines drew a raffle providing a free return air ticket to a Sri Lankan in the community.

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The programme was hosted by Ms. Tharaka Botheju, First Secretary (Trade) in Sinhala, Mr. K. Chandramohan, Consular Officer in Tamil and Ms. Dulmini Dahanayake, Second Secretary in English.The Permanent Mission hosted the Sri Lankan community attended to the ceremony, a traditional Sri Lankan dinner.

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On the sidelines of the celebrations in commemorating the 70th Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s Independence, the Permanent Mission with the Sri Lankan Association in Geneva (SLAG) also jointly organized a Blood Donation Campaign on 3rd February 2018 at Geneva University Hospital (HUG) for which the staff of the Mission and Sri Lankans in Switzerland donated blood. Ambassador Aryasinha, the President of the SLAG, Mr. Lalantha Sirisenage, the staff of the Mission and Sri Lankans in Switzerland were present. Another round of blood donation will be held on 17th February 2018 at HUG.

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Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka

Geneva

08 February 2018

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