Peace and stability in the country are vital if sustainable development is to take root and flourish, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said.
“While stability and peace are essential components which promote sustainable development and ensure the well being of all, instability and violence remain the greatest obstacles to achieving such gains,” he added.
President Rajapaksa was speaking at the National Mediation Felicitation Ceremony-2014 at Temple Trees yesterday (1) with the participation of over 5,500 mediators from all corners of the country.
The President said political and social instability in some Arab and Asian countries, the result of foreign interventions, have considerably hindered the overall growth in those countries. While noting that political stability and peace, which were absent during the long drawn out conflict spanning nearly 30 years, were the key catalysts in the country’s impressive economic growth and overall development, President Rajapaksa stressed that it was the responsibility of all Sri Lankans to sustain these achievements.
On a cautious note, the President added , however, that there were yet some elements both within and outside the country that were conniving to destabilize the nation to realize their ulterior motives. “Such attempts should be defeated through unity to ensure the future well being of the country,” he added.
On the role of Mediation Boards, the President observed that Sri Lanka has had a strong tradition of consensus based dispute resolution since ancient times. “Members of Mediation Boards numbering 326 throughout the Island render a yeoman service in maintaining peace and harmony by facilitating the amicable settlement of disputes,” he added. President Rajapaksa said he was of the opinion that it was feasible to present family related disputes too to the Mediation Boards before going further. He added that referring such disputes to Courts directly may result in the separation between husband and wife, which may have a direct impact on the well being of their children.
While noting that mediators are being chosen from among the most suitable to hold such honourary positions, the President stressed that his government will do its utmost in the future to further strengthen the process. President Rajapaksa also presented honourary awards to mediators who completed more than 20 years in service.
Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem, Secretary Kamalini de Silva, former Attorney General Palitha Fernando PC and Mediation Commission Chairman former Justice Hector S Yapa also spoke.