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    President Rajapaksa Addresses the South Asia Judicial Roundtable Featured

    August 08, 2014

    President Rajapaksa Addresses the South Asia Judicial Roundtable on Environmental Justice President Mahinda Rajapaksa addressed the opening ceremony of the Third South Asia Judicial Roundtable on Environmental Justice that took place at the Central Bank Auditorium this morning.

    Pointing out that there is “an urgent need to accelerate progress in strengthening judicial knowledge and competence in environmental rule of law” in the region of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation), President Rajapaksa offered Sri Lanka’s assistance to set up a special unit to coordinate capacity building activities.


    “As a contribution from Sri Lanka towards this noble endeavour, I shall be happy, if you so decide, to provide start-up institutional and financial support to establish a small but efficient entity in the Office of the Chief Justice of Sri Lanka to work with UNEP [United Nations Environment Programme] and ADB [Asian Development Bank] and other competent organisations, to initiate and coordinate judicial capacity building activities within the SAARC region, in this subject area of Environmental Justice and Rule of Law,” the President said.


    The Roundtable, taking place in Colombo today and tomorrow (Aug. 9) under the theme “Environmental Justice for Sustainable Green Development,” is jointly organized by the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka and the ADB. It brings together chief justices, judges and legal experts from throughout the SAARC region, experts from UNEP and the ADB, and other specialists in the field.


    In his remarks, President Rajapaksa highlighted the role that the judiciary plays in upholding the balance between competing interests toward sustainable development and stressed the need to prevent double standards in the application of laws.


    “There must be consistency and evenness in the application of international and national laws,” the President said. “This means that there cannot be, and must never be, double standards in the application and interpretation of laws by courts and international organisations. Your Conference provides a timely opportunity to deliberate on these matters and set up a mechanism to establish generally acceptable rules to compel consistency and evenness in the application of international and national laws, and norms. Justice and the rule of law, demand no less, dear friends.”


    The first Roundtable took place in 2012 in Bhurban, Pakistan, and resulted in the Burbhan Declaration with pledges for an educated judiciary and specialised courts. The second Round table took place last year in Thimphu, Bhutan, and produced the Thimphu Declaration on Enhancing Environmental Justice in South Asia. This Conference is expected to produce the Colombo Declaration.(KH)





















    Last modified on Friday, 08 August 2014 14:26

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