Stability should not come at the sacrifice of values of freedom of expression: U.S. Ambassador

Julie Chung - U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka

Julie J. Chung – U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka

The U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung said stability should not come at the sacrifice of the values of freedom of expression, whether through peaceful protest, expression through the arts, or through social media.

Making her remarks at the event to mark the International Peace Day Celebration, she said, “Let us all be ambitious about the future, ambitious about economic stability, political stability, and building innovation; but also ambitious about safeguarding democracy and systemic change against corruption.”

She said, “This week, world leaders gathered in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. A lot was spoken about peace.

But peace can be elusive, as we see from the brutal invasion of Ukraine and the humanitarian crisis in Sudan, highlighting how peace can exist one day and suddenly change and ultimately take years to be restored. Around the globe, we see more democracies under threat.

Some threats are internal from those who exploit resentments and stoke fears rather than promote understanding and peace.”

She said the United States remains committed to a shared vision for the future – a world that is open, free, prosperous, and secure.

“A world where individuals are living in peace, free in their daily lives, and can shape their own futures, their communities, their countries through democratic processes including timely, free and fair elections.

Divisions and challenges to peace occur in my own country as well, but we try to acknowledge that with humility and work with resolve to address them and become “a more perfect union,” and in our work globally, our non-government organization partners are essential to these efforts.

Through USAID, the U.S. Embassy is immensely proud to support initiatives like the Social Cohesion and Reconciliation Initiative.

SCORE not only embodies the theme of today’s gathering “Promoting National Actions for Peace” but champions a cohesive national identity, paves the path for economic growth, and empowers our communities, especially the women and youth, to become beacons of peace.

Last month, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, who was here 50 years ago as the son of the U.S. Ambassador visited Sri Lanka.

Together, he and I met members of the Victoria Rural Fishermen Society in Kandy and inaugurated an inland fishing project with SCORE that helps the local village made up of a diverse community of different religions and backgrounds that is supported by SCORE.

Because you see, we believe that peace can be achieved in many ways and bringing a community together around an economic growth opportunity can help do that,” she said.

(Courtesy: Daily Mirror)