Over 35 persons representing various Non Governmental Organisations, Think Tanks, Conflict Resolution Centres, Church groups and academics associated with NSW Universities and media personnel participated in a Book Launch hosted by NSW State Parliamentarian Virginia Judge on 6 May 2008. The launch took place at the New South Wales Parliament.
The meeting was chaired by John Gormley.
The book included presentations by former US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Ambassador Jeffrey Lunstead, Professor Johan Galtung founder of the International Peace Research Institute (PRIO) in Oslo, Sumantra Bose, Professor of International and Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and Nadesan Satyendra, Advisor to CJPD. In addition there were presentations by several academics and activists from the Tamil Diaspora, Sinhala community and the international community.
The function began with Ms Judge thanking those present and the importance and significance of the international community’s involvement in the conflict in Sri Lanka.
He summarised the main arguments that were presented in the seminar as follows.
· General acknowledgement that India’s role in Sri Lanka since the 1980’s was primarily driven by its national interests.
· A view that Sri Lanka is of strategic and economic significance to the international actors i.e. West, China and India.
· A counter view that such geo political interests are of little or no significance but concerns for the promotion of democracy, human rights and a liberal peace are that which drive international intervention.
Justice John Dowd, a former Chairman of the International Commission of Jurists and a former NSW Attorney General spoke of the increasing influence of China and called upon the international community to recognise that Sri Lanka needs to be transformed into two states and structures developed for these states to coexist and cooperate.
Participants were provided with copies of the book. Many of the participants thanked the organisers and expressed their desire to keep themselves informed of CJPD’s future projects. Many appreciated CJPD’s modus operandi of working with all communities in facilitating diverse views points.