Sri Lanka Mission in Geneva celebrates 71st Independence Day

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The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva celebrated the 71th Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s Independence on 9th February 2019 at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) with the participation of over 250 members of the Sri Lankan community in Switzerland. This was preceded by a separate event hosted at the same venue for the diplomatic community in Geneva, which was attended by Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives, officials of international organisations and the Executive Director of the UN Office Geneva, the Secretary General of Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Director General of World Health Organisation, among others.

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The event, which Sri Lankan community attended, commenced with the hoisting of the National Flag by Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva followed by the singing of the National Anthem in Sinhala. Two minutes silence was observed in remembrance of all those who lost their lives for the country.

Following the lighting of the traditional oil lamp with the participation of children representing multi-ethnic backgrounds, multi-religious observances were conducted. Ven. Halyale Wimalarathana Thero and Ven. Karuwalgaswewa Anurudha Thero invoked blessings on the country and it's people, followed by Rev. Uma Shankar Kurukkal, Mr. A.M. Zawahir, and Rev. Father John Abhishek, assisted by other dignitaries. 

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Ambassador Azeez, addressing both event highlighted that Sri Lanka has successfully managed to strengthen its trade and economic relations with many countries in the past few years with consolidated bilateral partnership with friends in the region and far beyond. He reiterated that it was a clear demonstration of Sri Lanka's continuing commitment to remain engaged with its regional and international partners in addressing the challenges together, with the sensitivity and tact that it called for. He further stated "as we celebrate the 71st Independence Day this year, the foundations of democracy in Sri Lanka and the independence and credibility of its institutions stand further strengthened."

Ambassador Azeez emphasized that the Government’s policy of providing free-education, free-healthcare, and other amenities over many decades has led to Sri Lanka’s impressive progress in social sectors, thus enjoying higher social indicators in the region. Elaborating further on the social development achieved by Sri Lanka, he highlighted WHO's recognition of Sri Lanka as an exemplary developing country model for healthcare service towards achieving universal health coverage. 

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"What is important, going forward, is courage, vision and commitment to face up to the challenges and to turn them into opportunities" added Sri Lanka's UN envoy in Geneva, stressing "a sustainable, resilient, and reconciled Sri Lanka is a dream that we all cherish."

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

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At both events, the guests were hosted for Sri Lankan dinner with food items representing the diversity of Sri Lankan culture. 


Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nation


15 February 2019