This article is about my Sri Lanka experience.
Few weeks back, I received an exclusive invitation to attend and speak as a international delegate at South Asia Summit on Youth for Human Rights SASYHR 2014, organized by the Non-Profit Organization called The Road to Rights. Founder Mr.Ashan Perera, Senator at Youth Parliament. Ministry of Social Media, Ministry for Youth and National Youth Council have supported this event.
Youth for Human Rights International, and USA based Non-Profit organization headed by the Dr.Mary Shuttleworth, founder and Mr.Bruce Ferguson South Asia Co-Ordinator. The event was colored by Mr. Nishant, Ms. Stephanies, Actress Pooja UmaShankar and South Asia Ambassador Sheena Chauhan.
3 day event was grandly opened with high profile speakers such as Dr Chris Nonis, UK Amabassador and Lalit Piyum Perera lighting the opening ceremony.
There were 100’s of youth volunteers who were energetic and actively co-ordinated the whole event.
This 3 day event was planned with 7 sessions. Firstly, on the 1st day, 1st session was on the topic Gender Equality. For some reason, the panelist for the 1st session was not finalized and henceforth an open invitation was given to be panelist. I thought this is an excellent opportunity, so I said with all your permission, I am taking up the panelist position.
But for Instance, I was very blank on the topic, since no preparation was done and no subjects were referred. However, since there were 4 panelist, I took my turn to be 3rd and meanwhile I started pen down the important points of the topic.
When it comes to Gender Equality, there are many issues under this category, so I started taking few important points such as female foeticide and women reservation policy for the session, and elaborated the points with two way interactions.
1) The boy gender going to find it very difficult to find a bride if the female foeticide keeps continuing and ratio is imbalance.
2) Politicians talk so much about women reservation, but practically no representation given for women. Women should come forward in jobs, politics and administration. Deserve 33%.
This session I have ended with a note that, though the women deserve equal right to men, don’t misuse that equal right by wrongly comparing with the cruel attitude of some men.
Also submitted one of my Facebook post. ““Women is a special character, mother of hospitality, gentleness and softness. Never get to match yourself with the men character and never be at a wrong place at wrong time.”
An audience raised a question during QA time. He asked… why no religion never ever talk about gender equality.
- So I categorically concluded, this is an issue of every individual and it is a unwritten constitution to respect women. As well, it would be better, if this question can be raised in the World Religious Conference, if any amendments can be made.
Secondly, I found very interesting topics were discussed on ICT, Internet Communication Technology, using ICT how can we do the uplifting of the needed one and uphold the human rights, yet another interesting topic was press media. The debates were very thoughtful.
Thirdly, on day 3 of the event, international delegates were given slots to represent their country and topics. So it started first with me India. I was the first one to take up the podium and presented my ppt on UDHR articles 25, 26, 29
26. The Right to Education. Ensure you and all in your family are EDCUATED
UDHR Article 26 , Constitution of Sri Lanka, Chapter VI, Article 27, (2) (h)
Education is a right. Primary school should be free. Our parents can choose what we learn. (h) the complete eradication of illiteracy and the assurance to all persons of the right to universal and equal access to education at all levels.
25. Food and Shelter for All. Protect your Environment
UDHR Article 25 , Constitution of Sri Lanka, Chapter VI, Article 27, (2) (c)
We all have the right to a good life. Mothers and children, people who are old, unemployed or disabled, and all people have the right to be cared for. (c) the realization by all citizens of an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families, including adequate food, clothing and housing, the continuous improvement of living conditions and the full enjoyment of leisure and social and cultural opportunities ;
29. Responsibility/Duty You are responsible for your Country and you UDHR Article 29, Constitution of Sri Lanka, Article 28, Fundamental Duty
We have a duty to other people, and we should protect their rights and freedoms.
End of the presentation introduced about my initiative about the Saraswathi Foundation for Promoting Education and Environment. Sarasedentrust.org
In thanks note, I had no other option except to call Mr.Ashan Perera to the stage and requested a big applaud for the initiative.Then I had keynote speech to the Audience and the Administrators, which I made the earlier night.
The speech goes as follows
Dear Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Burghers, Moors, Malay & Veddah’s
South Asia Summit on Youth and Human Rights have come to the final day along with World Educational Tour for Peace 2014. This day is going to be a day written in the history of Mother Sri Lanka.
The Road to Rights, youth led movement headed by Mr.Ashan Perera, The Senator member of the National Youth Parliament and his concept of creating awareness programme to the public on human rights is going to have very positive impact on the development of Sri Lanka.
Every youth of this nation have a courtesy to thank the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skill Development, Ministry of Mass Media and Information and National Youth Services Council for their support and supervising this summit.
Likewise, in my country India the disputed Kashmir, like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria the conflict of interest has taken a override on peace and a safari ride on the violation of fundamental rights of the common man.
This nation, after ending 3 decades of war, now transforming into the stage of reconciliation and development. However, reconciliation and development would be a challenging factor to the State and the Administrators. Primarily because the fundamental rights such as equality, education, health, economy and sustainability, which are to be addressed by each and every citizen of this beautiful nation.
As Dr.Chris Noni said in the opening ceremony, you the youth, the brand ambassadors of the nation, have a duty to open your mind to inquiry, embrace the change, come out of subjugation, come out of autocracy, agony, apartheid and apply equanimity to reap the dividend of peace and uphold the sovereignty of human values, open your heart to each other and respect to each other irrespective of color creed, ethnicity, religion and rich.
Unity in diversity is a prosperity, peace bonded with economical, social and political rights are the roads for the rights, of course a genuine way to the fundamental rights.
In this juncture, let us all take the inspirations from the leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, C.W.W. Kannangara (Father of free education of Sri Lanka), Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr, Dr. Ambedkar & Nelson Mandela and follow their paths towards the humanity and peace.
As a citizen of this developing nation, you the vibrant, energetic, responsible youth, you hold a complete responsibility in contributing to the development of the nation. To become a developed nation and peace prevailing country, requires a Continued education filled with social ethics and moral values , increasing the agriculture production, technology development, intellectual property assets, establishment of local industries, strong manufacturing base, self and sustainable development .
“My dear youngsters! youths of this nation, youths representing the villages and cities; Please note that every bad habit and immoral personal activity that you do in public is witnessed by the children’s and kids of our community, like consuming liquor in public, smoking cigarettes, public nuisance and gambling. Don’t set yourself as an example of a bad role model and a bad society”
I register my heartiest thanks to Mr.Ashan Perera, Dr Mary Shuttleworth, Dr. Bruce Ferguson, Sheena Chohan, Jinnie, Toven, Tushant, Stephanie, Pooja, Hansaka, Dumi, my co-delegates from India, International delegates, Local delegates, each and every volunteer, food & transport providers, Sri Lankan Airways for the ever remarkable smile and all kind of support provided in your Mother Sri Lanka.
At the outset, I wish the outcome of this event will give extracts to the forthcoming World Youth Conference 2014, Mainstreaming Youth in the post-2015 Development agenda.
Though I took excess time than allotted, I wanted to deliver what I wanted to convey.
Later Afghanistan team made a wonderful presentation, they did a good homework and they were very positive in creating a very positive image of Afghanistan. They had Apple products and technology geeks. Ha ha, however, me Indian had to help them in setting my laptop to run the presentation and audio connection with my Dell Studio 17″ . But from my heart I appreciate Afghanistan for binded brand building presentation. Wish to visit Afghanistan.
Next 2 days, we had a train Travel to Kandy Province and did 4 hour sightseeing and returned back to Colombo. Did some shopping. We were given a free accommodation to MoonSoon Suites, where we were given a serviced apartment.
General Highlights of Sri Lanka
– Colombo is like Singapore, small and beautiful Country
– Sri Lanka Rupee value is half of Indian Rupee. 1INR = 2 SR
– People are tourist friendly.
– Cost of goods and food is expensive in Colombo, it is cheaper as we get out of Colombo.
– Motor vehicles are costly, at least 3 times costlier than India, including bikes and scooters.
– Sri Lankan youth are not much aware about India, same like Indian’s have no much idea about Srilanka
– Sri Lanka is not a manufacturing based country, they don’t produce much. Industries are lagging.
– Sri Lankan youth speak very good English.
– I like the Sri Lankan Baila songs. Party songs
– I felt like it is Goa, Tourist friendly and company
– Muslim community feeling heat after Ethnic war end.
– Tamil community still feel the heat of discrimination, restriction of freedom and opportunities.
– XtremeYouth photography group is the best association of photographers I ever saw in the Indian land. (Dear Chennai photographers, join hands to help social events and make free photos. Earn ad mileage. http://www.xtreamyouth.com)
– Many NGO are job creators.
– Traffic rules are followed, at places, they are following Chennai
– Heavy traffic on the Airport road, inside city.
– Food is cheaper at some roadside hotels and you get fish
– Kandy train route is the best hillside train travel almost 40 KM goes uphill
– Train coaches are giving too much noise and vibrations.(China make). Son, these are going to be replaced by Indian.
– Nuwara Aliya seems to be best hill station in SL
– In colombo, people seems not using much of milk. They use powder instead.
– Milk and most vegetables are coming from North
– North provinces seems more productive than south
– Beaches are good for evening out. With friends and party.
– Nothing great to purchases except thigh height midi’s and nighties.
I liked Sri Lanka, friendly people. Would like to visit with family in a good season.
Thanks all for the courtesy, hospitality and opportunity!
Hail YHR!!! Hail HUMAN RIGHTS!!!