Recently an all female delegation from Sri lanka participated in the GUEST PROGRAMME OF THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF GERMANY. The 5 day visit focused on Women’s rights, reconciliation, and the culture of remembrance. The high ranking Sri Lankan delegation led by Hon. Minister Thalatha Athukorale, Minister of Justice and Prison Reforms included also Her Worship Ms. Rosy Senanayake,the Mayor of Colombo, Dr Deepika Udagama the Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission and Commissioner Ambika Satkunanathan , OMP Commissioner Dr. Nimalka Fernando, Ms Shyamala Gomez, the executive Director of the Centre for Equality and Justice, human rights activist Shreen Saroor from Mannar Women’s Development Federation (MWDF) and renowned journalist Dharisha Bastians, Editor of the Sunday Observer Newspaper.
During their visit to Germany, the Sri Lankan delegation group met i.e. with the Vice President of the German Parliament (Bundestag), Thomas Oppermann (see photo) and as well with German female MPs from different political parties (photo) . The discussions with the MPs focused on ways to increase the female representation among other topics.
The group visited also the Ostholfen Concentration Camp Memorial which is now operated by the Regional Centre for Civic Education of Rhineland-Palatinate, and held discussions with the head of the Centre Mr Bernhard Kukatzki and the Director of the Memorial Mr Uwe Bader on reconciliation and the culture of remembrance. The delegation also held talks with Dr Lars Brocker, the President of the Constitutional Court of Rhineland-Palatinate and Vice President Dr Dagmar Wünsch when they visited the Constitutional Court. This was followed by a dinner with Ms Astrid Schmitt the Vice President of the Parliament of Rhineland-Palatinate where the discussions were focused on the subject of women in houses of Parliament. On 26th June, the delegation met with Dr Gerhard Braun the President of the Confederation of business associations of Rhineland-Palatinate to exchange thoughts on women’s participation in the business world and afterwards with the Deputy Director of the German Institute for Human Rights Mr Michael Windfuhr.
Latter part of the programme consisted of meetings with Member of the German Bundestag and Parliamentary State Secretary Ms Rita Hagl-Kehl (SPD) and thereafter the delegation had the opportunity to visit the Federal Foundation for the Study of the Communist Dictatorship in Germany where they received a comprehensive presentation about the foundation.
On 31st of July, Ambassador Rohde his wife Mrs Sonia Lapointe hosted a luncheon and at his residence where the participants of the Guest Programme, joined him to share their insights and experiences.