Democracy & Human Rights | Speeches

Democracy in Action

Mahatma Gandhi Memorial

Colombo, Sri Lanka

October 9, 2009

In days gone by India and Sri Lanka could make the proud boast of being the best functioning Parliamentary Democracies in the developing world. Some political historians, including Karl Marx, have stated that the ancient monarchical systems in our countries tended to be benevolent autocracies.

Poverty, Disease and Terrorism

60th Session of the UN General Assembly

New York, USA

September 17, 2005

I extend to you Mr. President, our warmest congratulations as you assume the high office of the President of the Sixtieth Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. We wish you all the best and assure you of Sri Lanka’s support and cooperation in your work. To Honourable Jean Ping, I convey gratitude for his astute leadership of the Fifty-ninth Session....

The Role of a Leader in a Developing Country

High Level Plenary Meeting of UN General Assembly

New York, USA

September 15, 2005

May I at the outset extend our sympathy and solidarity to the people and the Government of the United States of America as they begin reconstruction and rehabilitation, following the recent Hurricane disaster on the Gulf Coast. We do so while recalling the generous and spontaneous response of the people,...

The Fight against Terrorism

Address following the Assassination of Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar

Colombo, Sri Lanka

August 14, 2005

I address you today at a time of profound sorrow. The nation has lost a leader, a great humanist and I have lost a dear friend and colleague. Minister Kadirgamar was the one Minister, who worked most closely with me in the critical area of the fight against terrorism and the attempt to bring about a negotiated political solution to the Tamil people’s problem....

Action against Hunger and Poverty

Meeting on World Leaders ECOSOC Chamber

United Nations, New York, USA

September 15, 2004

It is a privilege for me to address this distinguished gathering on such a significant occasion as the meeting of world leaders to discuss this very important global challenge – Action against Hunger and Poverty. At the very outset I would like to pay a warm tribute to the efforts of the distinguished President Luiz Inacio da Silva, for his inspiring initiative to face this challenge and his tireless work towards galvanizing a great deal of international support.

Children are Our Future

Launch of the National Action Plan for Children

Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Colombo, Sri Lanka

September 15, 2004

I am indeed extremely happy to be here today with you at this very special event when the Government of Sri Lanka inaugurates its National Plan of Action for Children. I remember a little over two years ago, in May 2002, when Heads of state and Government, other world dignitaries, representatives of UN agencies and International Organizations gathered at UN General Assembly for children...

The Convention on the Rights of the Child

Universal Children's Day Celebrations

Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, Colombo, Sri Lanka

October 1, 2002

Let me begin by expressing my warm appreciation to the children who’ve organized this function. I am happy to be here today as ‘a participant’ in your event to mark this Universal Children’s Day,..

Cohabitation and Democracy

Address to the Nation

Colombo, Sri Lanka

August 9, 2002

I have had occasion during the past 08 years as your President to address you on numerous occasions through television and radio, regarding National Issues and other matters of concern to the Nation and to the people. At times I have carried on a dialogue with you, listening to your questions and discussing them with you...

The Status of Children in Sri Lanka

United Nations Special Session on Children

New York, USA

May 8, 2002

Today as the United Nations General Assembly hosts this Special Session on Children, I am honoured to be part of a renewed world leadership movement to make choices for children, with children, to give fresh vitality to our belief that they alone are the bearers of our future, and a nation’s most valuable asset. ...

Achievements and Shortcomings since Independence

Independence Day Celebration

Colombo, Sri Lanka

February 2, 2002

This day, our fifty fourth anniversary of independence, affords us yet another appropriate opportunity to reflect on our many achievements, analyze our failures, assess the challenges that lie ahead of us and commit ourselves with renewed energy and determination to provide for all our peoples the quality of life they deserve,...

Terrorism, Democracy, and Conflict Resolution

Address following LTTE attacks on the International Airport & Air Force Base

Colombo, Sri Lanka

July 30, 2001

President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga addressing the nation on state television Wednesday night, strongly condemned Tuesday’s LTTE attack on the Katunayake Air Force Base and the Bandaranaike International Airport...

Policies, Challenges, and Vision for the Future

Opening of the First Session of the 11th Parliament

Sri Jayawardenepura, Sri Lanka

November 9, 2000

The new session of the 11th Parliament of Sri Lanka begins as we look forward to meeting the challenges of a new century, at a time when our beloved motherland and our people face a very significant and decisive moment in history. I would first extend my warmest greetings to the Hon. Members of the Government and the Opposition who have been elected to this August Assembly....

Free and Fair Elections

Address to the Nation

Colombo, Sri Lanka

September 29, 2000

I am addressing you, as the leader of a political party, with only 10 days more to go for another general election.

At this time when the whole country is preparing for an election, there is an important matter to which I, as the Head of State, should draw the attention of my countrymen and solicit their co-operation. ..

Democratic Reforms and Accountability

51st Anniversary of Sri Lankan Independence

Colombo, Sri Lanka

February 4, 1999

There are epochs in history when it is evident to all that one social order has to give way to another. These are eras of fundamental change, rejuvenation and rededication, which are part of the history of any country....

Improving Health at Low Cost: Lessons and Challenges from Sri Lanka

Seminar on Health Developing Asia: Seizing the Opportunities

Geneva, Switzerland

April 28-30, 1998

It is with a deep sense of humility that I accept the invitation of the Asian Development Bank to address this seminar on the success story of Sri Lanka's achievements in health care delivery to its people...

Freedom and Nation-Building

50th Anniversary of Sri Lankan Independence

Colombo, Sri Lanka

February 4, 1998

I am humbled by the great honour that destiny has bestowed upon me, to stand here, before my people, as the head of independent Sri Lanka, on this momentous day when the Nation commemorates 50 years of freedom from colonial rule.