Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma will visit Sri Lanka from 25-29 October 2014 to brief the current Commonwealth Chair-in-Office, President Mahinda Rajapaksa, on the achievement of objectives and implementation of work set at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Sri Lanka in November 2013.
The Secretary-General will also meet other members of the Government of Sri Lanka, including the Minister of External Affairs, Professor G L Peiris. The Secretary-General is expected to meet the Speaker of Parliament, ChamalRajapaksa, and other political leaders.
During his five-day visit, the Secretary-General will also review the implementation of various initiatives being undertaken as part of his Good Offices work to support Sri Lanka’s national development and post-conflict plans, and will take the opportunity to meet with the Chairperson and Commissioners of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka; the Commissioner of Elections; and, representatives of civil society organisations.
Sharma will travel to the Northern Province for the first time as Secretary-General where he will spend the day in and around Jaffna to review first-hand post-conflict developments, current priorities and ongoing challenges.
Commonwealth Heads of Government held their biennial meeting in Colombo from 15 to 17 November 2013, where they agreed a set of mandates for implementation by the Commonwealth Secretariat. These included a collective Commonwealth Leaders’ Statement on the Post-2015 Development Agenda; strengthened collaboration between the Commonwealth and the G20; the development of a climate finance skills hub; and a proposal for a trade finance facility for small states.
The Secretary-General’s Good Offices work in Sri Lanka is part of the Commonwealth’s ongoing commitment to support institution-building in the areas of human rights, the judiciary, public service and the media. (Colombo Gazette)