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D.M. Jayaratne: Address to World Summit 2014

Address to World Summit 2014, Seoul, Korea, August 9-13, 2014

On behalf of the Government and the peace-loving people of Sri Lanka, I would like to take this opportunity to thank UPF for their global peace-building efforts. Their work is commendable.

The purpose of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the development of freedom, equality, dignity, justice, and the rights and the spirit of brotherhood throughout the world.

I am proud to state that Sri Lanka has set an example to the world. Fighting against terrorism is fighting for peace, freedom and democracy. Terrorism destroys everything but gains nothing. Sri Lanka has made steady progress and achieved development in all spheres with the dawn of peace within a short period of time from 2009.

Having provided the unmatched political leadership of the President of Sri Lanka, H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka has made a concerted effort in national reconciliation. Sri Lanka, certainly, cannot perform miracles overnight and the international community should desist from making unreasonable demands from Sri Lanka. The President pledged to develop and strengthen the economy to make Sri Lanka the Wonder of Asia.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has also endorsed Sri Lanka’s economic growth. In recent years, it has been one of the fastest among Asia’s developing economics. My country’s recent economic performance has been better than expected.

The resettlement and reconciliation process reassured the hope for peace and harmony in our society. Sri Lanka has become the fastest developing country in South Asia opening avenues for safe investment opportunities.

Last year when I participated in this summit I mentioned about “Ambuluwawa.” This is where all four of the world’s religions have their houses of worship established in one place. And there is only one entrance. I am extremely happy to say that I was able to make my dream a reality by promoting interreligious harmony, and demonstrating respect for all religions. I would like to invite all of you to visit Sri Lanka and experience for yourselves the peaceful co-existence of different communities and the current development of Sri Lanka.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was accepted by most members of the United Nations in 1948. However, the Human Rights found in the ideal of Buddhism emerged more than 2,600 years ago. They emerged from two basic assumptions, philosophical and ethical doctrines, which consider moral principles – rights and duties. In fact, according to the Buddhist view human beings are born with complete freedom and responsibility. We see that the Dharma means the Universal Law which is applicable to all mankind, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religion.

We are now living in the era of the 21st century. The whole universe is inter-related, so when we generate wholesome and unwholesome energies it will affect others. We therefore, should generate and develop pure energies so that everyone in the world, including animals and plants, receive our pure energies. This will help to encourage all people around the world who work for peace, security and human development.

Peace and sustainable development are two facets of the same issue. Efforts to create sustainable peace always face challenges. Armed conflicts, civil wars, guerrilla wars, ethnic violence and separatist movements in the world have caused untold misery and death across many generations. Terrorist attacks threaten many people. Thousands of people die every year because of violence. If every citizen practices compassion, loving kindness and transformation of anger and hatred in order to establish a culture of peace, then we could probably save several thousands of people each year from violent death.

Sustainable peace-building should be started from the trend towards fostering social and political inclusion, in order to reduce violence and war as much as possible. Acknowledgement of past mistakes, calling for forgiveness, seeking justice, rebuilding brotherhood and sisterhood, re-establishing social systems and communal structures on the basis of respect for equality will help efforts to realize sustainable peace and sustainable development.

What humanity needs today is not hatred or anger, but loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic-joy and equanimity, so that every living being in the world can live happily and harmoniously enjoying fully their rights, social justice and human dignity.

In conclusion, while commending your efforts in encouraging the people around the world who work for “Peace, Security and Human Development,” I present all my sincere regards and respect for a successful summit.

For a report of the Prime Minister's speech in the Daily News, click here. For more information about the World Summit, click here.