ILO must be against all forms of terror - President
President Mahinda Rajapaksa urged the ILO to take cognizance of the
threat of worldwide terrorism which has impacted both the developed and
the developing world, in their pursuit for social justice for the
President Mahinda Rajapaksa was the
Chief Guest at the inauguration of the ILO’s 90th
Anniversary Celebrations at President’s Office yesterday.
Here the President receives a token of appreciation from
Regional Director (Asia and the Pacific) ILO, Ms, Sachiko
Yamamoto. Minister Athauda Seneviratne, Minister Dinesh
Gunawardena, and ILO Director Colombo Tine Staermose are
also in the Picture Picture by Sudath Silva
The President made this call when he addressed the International
Labour Organisation’s (ILO’s) 90th anniversary celebrations ceremony, at
the Presidential Secretariat yesterday.
“In its commitment to social justice for the working people, the ILO
must be against all forms of terror, not only in the workplace. The
fisherman deprived of his harvest from the sea, the cultivator deprived
of his crop from the land, the community driven out through ethnic
cleansing, the plight of the ‘Internally Displaced’, is a new agenda the
ILO would have to address as it enters its tenth decade and moves
towards celebrating its century of service and progress”, he said.
President Rajapaksa said due to the relentless efforts of the heroic
and gallant war heroes, a crucial sector of our workforce, terrorism
which threatened our peaceful society and gave rise to misery, has now
been eradicated from our land.
Having responded to the challenge in diverse ways such as dialogue
and negotiations, which were rejected within the past three and a half
years, they had been compelled to resort to force, the only language the
terrorists seemed to comprehend. Force nevertheless had been used with
caution, to minimise the inconvenience caused to the ordinary working
people and with no disruption to their livelihoods.
The major challenge of terrorism, that affected our society, both
rural and urban, and a challenge that drew on our resources that could
have been set aside for development, for poverty eradication, assurance
of gender equality, more improved working conditions among others, had
been finally defeated.
The President noted that to achieve decent employment for the people,
his Government presented the ‘Ten Year Horizon Development Framework,
the Mahinda Chinthana Vision for a New Sri Lanka, in year 2006”. “It is
a vision when converted to reality, as we do today, covers both
macro-economic and pro-poor social development strategies”, he added.
He said this framework recognised the major development challenges
confronting the country as being poverty alleviation, the elimination of
regional disparities in development, disparities that were stark in
nature, with the Western Province solely claiming the largest share of
development, in the post-independence era.
“We have a commitment to changing this pattern, to build on the
success we have already achieved and create the necessary decent
employment opportunities, especially in this long neglected sector that
is the reservoir of the strength of our people.
“We need to follow policies that will keep our rural people in the
villages, giving them pride in the rural upbringing and more healthy
environment. Infrastructure development must not by-pass the village but
move together with the village and enhance rural life”, he reiterated.
President Rajapaksa asserted that Sri Lanka could feel proud for
having an unblemished record and our compliance with the highest global
standards in working conditions, especially in an era where ‘working
conditions’ are of great concern in the global export markets.
The Garment industry, one of our largest exports, are proudly and
rightly presented as ‘Garments without Guilt’. Similarly, our
world-renowned Tea, is a Blend without Shame’.
It will be wrong not to acknowledge the guiding and inspiring role
that the ILO has played in Sri Lanka, achieving such high ratings and
recognition in an increasingly competitive world, President Rajapaksa
Labour Relations Minister Athauda Seneviratne, Urban Development
Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Secretary to the Labour Relations Ministry
Mahinda Madihahewa, ILO Director in Colombo Tine Staermose, General
Secretary of the Sri Lanka Nidhahas Sevaka Sangamaya Leslie Devendra,
Director General of the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Ravi Peiris, ILO
Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Sachiko Yamamoto also spoke.
A pre-recorded video presentation of the Director General of the ILO
Juan Somavia’ addressing the ceremony, was also shown.
Tokens of Appreciation for the ‘Commitment to the World of Work’ were
presented to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Minister Athauda Seneviratne
and Ministry Secretary Mahinda Madihahewa.
President Rajapaksa presented ‘National Decent Work’ Awards to the
Employers’ and Workers’ categories. The ceremonial announcements on the
ratifications of the ILO conventions were also made at the ceremony.