Speaking at the launch of a Commonwealth civil society meeting, which precedes a meeting of Commonwealth leaders later this week, President Rajapaksa said the country had suffered immensely as a result of a 30-year war.
He said now Sri Lanka wants to ensure sustainable peace which will also assist the development of the country.
The Commonwealth People’s Forum brings together civil society representatives from Commonwealth countries. Ahead of the opening of the forum, President Rajapaksa also declared open the Commonwealth Youth Forum in the southern town of Hambantota.
Speaking at that event, President Rajapaksa said terrorism that plagued Sri Lanka for nearly three decades dealt the biggest blow to Sri Lanka’s youth. The president said Sri Lankan youth have been deprived of many valuable opportunities during the war.
He said the children and youth, forcibly recruited by the terrorists and who surrendered, were released into society after being rehabilitated.
The president also said it is noteworthy that Commonwealth countries abide by the principles of restoring human dignity and equality among human beings in the Commonwealth.
Sri Lanka defeated the Tamil Tiger rebels in May 2009 after three decades of war but continues to face allegations of committing human rights abuses during the final stages of the conflict.
The main event of the Commonwealth summit, which begins this week, has been embroiled in controversy as some Commonwealth leaders, including Canadian and Indian prime ministers, have decided to skip the summit in Sri Lanka over human rights concerns.