World / Asia-Pacific

Commonwealth conference opens in Sri Lanka

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-09-11 16:57

COLOMBO - A Commonwealth parliamentarians' conference was declared open in Sri Lanka on Tuesday with President Mahinda Rajapaksa urging the delegates to see for themselves the post war developments in the country.

Secretary General of the Commonwealth Kamalesh Sharma is among the over 600 legislators from commonwealth countries attending the conference which will focus on a range of issues of common concern from empowering future generations through access to health, education and vocational training to the threat to democracy, peace and security from terrorism.

"Your presence in Sri Lanka gives you an opportunity to see the progress in the country. You can now see the truth and return to your country with deeper understanding," President Rajapaksa said while addressing the delegates at the opening ceremony.

Tamil Tiger rebels held control over most part of the north during the 30-year war with the Sri Lankan military, but the military eventually defeated the rebels three years ago.

However, despite the end of the war, the Sri Lankan government continues to face allegations of committing human rights abuses during the final battle against the rebels.

Among the countries critical of Sri Lanka's human rights record is Britain and a British delegation is also attending the commonwealth conference in Sri Lanka.  

The Sri Lankan government said that holding the conference in Colombo is indicative of the new climate of peace and normalcy prevailing in Sri Lanka after the war against terrorism and a sign of the international confidence in Sri Lanka.

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