The permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nation in Geneva celebrated the 69th Anniversary of Independence on 4th February 2017 at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) with the participation of over 250 members of the Sri Lankan community.
Ambassador 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, sustainable development and eradication of poverty, 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 numerous international organizations based in Geneva. Illustrating the tangible results achieved through the Mission in the areas of human rights, trade, migration, disarmament, sustainable development, intellectual property, scientific cooperation, environment and humanitarian work, over the past year, which has benefitted Sri Lanka, he expressed gratitude and appreciation to the Sri Lankans in these respective organizations for their expertise and contribution as well as for their engagement with the Mission.
Describing the overseas Sri Lankans working in the international organizations and Missions based in Geneva as “Goodwill Ambassadors of Sri Lanka”, Ambassador Aryasinha said that they have a specific role to play in the advancement of reconciliation and economic development of their country of birth. He 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.
The programme for the Community Event to mark the 69th 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 to honour those who sacrificed their lives safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka.
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 and Rev. Karthik Ragavan Kurukkal conducted the Hindu religious observances. Mr. A.M. Zawahir conducted the Islamic religious observances. Rev. Sumanth Sudha conducted the Christian religious observances.
The 69th 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, Counsellor read the Message of Minister Mangala Samaraweera of Foreign Affairs.
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 playing of the National Anthem in Tamil.
The programme was conducted by Mr. Saman Ganiachchi, Attache (Administration) in Sinhala, Mrs. Asha Neeliya, Management Assistant in Tamil and Mr. Hans Koch, in English.
The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka hosted the community to a traditional Sri Lankan dinner following the conclusion of the ceremonial segment of the programme.
Read Statement Made by H.E. Ravinatha Aryasinha, Ambassador and Permanent Representative - 69th Independence Anniversary of Sri Lanka Organized by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Geneva, 4th February 2017.
Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka
10 February 2017