Lankan ex-prez recalls her fight for peace

Lankan ex-prez recalls her fight for peace

Former president of Sri Lanka Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga on Friday said she always tried her best for peace despite military conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in the island nation during her tenure.

Speaking at the sixth international women’s conference organised by the Art of Living (AOL) in the City, Kumaratunge said she ensured that development works and peace talks progressed simultaneously in the war-torn country .

“I always wanted to talk to the terror (LTTE) groups. They did not want any government officials involved in the talks and I even agreed with their demand for international observers,” she said.

Stating that the hospitals she opened had even treated the terrorists injured in the battle, she said she continued her efforts for peace even after an attempt on her life.
“They tried to kill me two days before the elections and even made an attempt on my life after elections,” she said. Mentioning some of the dark phases in her life,  Kumaratunga said it is the religious belief and study of religion that shaped her life.

On leadership, she said that when an individual in power begins thinking of himself, corruption begins.

“A leader begins to think that power is God’s gift and begins to do whatever he wants. In order to rock, he (the person in power) needs to consolidate power and to consolidate power he builds his family around him, this becomes terrible as he tries to eliminate opponents,” she said.

Senior Congress leader Rita Bahuguna Joshi said that 70 per cent of women in South Asia were subjected to domestic violence.

“Even in America, a report says that two million women were victims of domestic violence. This shows women are most vulnerable to crime against them,” she said and called for united effort to fight atrocities. Prominent leaders who spoke on Friday are Aliza Lavie, MP, Israel, Shiranthi Wickremesinghe Rajapakshe, the First Lady of Sri Lanka, Hiraj Huseynova, chairperson of the State Committee for Family, Women and Children Affairs, Azerbaijan.

At the three-day conference, representatives from 46 countries will deliberate on several issues and women leaders from Azerbaijan, Norway, Afghanistan, Israel, Iraq, Belgium and other countries will speak on several issues.

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