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British High Commissioner concludes visit to Central and Uva Provinces
This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka HE John Rankin visited the Central and Uva Provinces from 3-5 November, 2014.
During his visit, the High Commissioner met a range of individuals and communities, including the two Venerable Mahanayakes of the Malwatte and Asgiriya Chapters in Kandy, the indigenous Vedda community in Dambana, the MENCAFEP School for children and young people with disabilities, government officials and members of opposition parties. Commenting on the visit, the High Commissioner said:
“My recent visit to the Central and Uva Provinces reminded me anew of Sri Lanka‘s diversity. This diversity includes people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, different languages, and people of different religions and beliefs. Celebrating these differences, as well as recognising the values that are shared by all communities, can only contribute to the stability and prosperity of this beautiful island.
In my conversations –including with the Venerable Mahanayakes in Kandy – I discussed the importance of religious harmony and the freedom to practice one’s chosen religion. In recent months, there have been incidents of religious tension, most seriously in Aluthgama. We continue to call on all Sri Lankans to respect diversity and work together to achieve reconciliation.
Undoubtedly, the three main highlights of this visit were paying my respects at the sacred Temple of the Tooth in Kandy; spending a morning with the Vedda chief Uru Warige Vanniya Aththo and his community in Dambana, learning about Vedda culture; and a lively morning with the teachers and students of the MENCAFEP school in Nuwara Eliya, which provides invaluable support for disabled children in the area.”
See photos of the visit in our flickr album