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Foreign civil socity activists are calling on their Sri Lankan counterparts to organize themselves to make a reality of the remarks on democracy and media freedom made by president Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Commonwealth People’s Forum in Colombo.

Dr. Anas Altikriti, speaking to BBC Sandeshaya at the conclusion of the first day’s session of the forum at Hotel Chaya Transz, said he welcomed the president’s statement.

In his speech, president Rajapaksa said Sri Lanka was focusing on, and expects to achieve progess, in media freedom, equality, democracy, peace and human development.

Steve Crawshaw of Amnesty International, which is strongly critical of the Sri Lankan government’ actions, said the purpose of their attendance was to raise a strong voice against the Lankan government through the participating heads of state.

Dr. Jehan Perera of the National Peace Council said he educated the forum on problems faced by Sri Lanka.

According to reports, he was interrupted in his speech, and a Sri Lankan by the name Keerthi Jayasuriya, who opposed a remark by Dr. Perera, was threatended by former diplomat Dr. Dayan Jayatilake to return to Australia.

The media was not allowed to cover proceedings of the Commonwealth People’s Forum.