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Thanks to all who responded to my comments and for the
commiserations on the disaster we faced. It was also a signal
lesson in what goodwill and co-operation can do to relieve human
suffering and that we are now a global village. Sri Lankans as well
as numerous world citizens responded in an unprecedented manner to
provide clothes, food and medicine in the immediate aftermath of the
disaster while pledges are being made by many countries to
contribute to the rebuilding of the infrastructure in the short,
medium, and long term. Thanks again to all.

I would like to reiterate that I did not respond to anyone in
particular and that my comments were only a perspective from a third
worlder. Since frequent negative references have been made against
foreigners, especially Asians, in the Orchid Forum I thought that I
must shed some light about the real situation in our regions so that
a better understanding will be created. I admit that we have a long
way to go but we are moving in the correct direction. Further I
have no interest in getting involved in acrimonious debates.

However I would like to clarify a comment Gerry made “What do you
mean by the phrase " protection laws (along with institutions that
enforce these laws) that have evolved over a period of over seventy
five years and are often in line with current international thinking
on these matters.” I am unaware of any International Agreement that
set standards for Child Labor Please give me a reference of this
International Agreement.

I never referred to any international agreement. My words were
‘current international thinking on these matters’. Normally what
happens is that at various international forums, like the UN and its
numerous bodies, new ideas and thinking gets discussed and then
canvassed with various governments so that they can be legislated in
each country. Generally, universally accepted values are developed
through discussions over a long period of time - hence my reference
to current international thinking.

Sri Lanka has a National Child Protection Authority, empowered by
the Sri Lankan Parliament to protect children from being abused or
exploited for sex, war etc. They have wide ranging powers and the
NCPA is a very effective body. Basically what I meant was that Sri
Lanka has enlightened legislation in these matters. Through
campaigns in the media people are made aware that child abuse is a
punishable offence and a socially unacceptable practise. Please
check about the National Child Protection Authority of Sri Lanka in
the internet and you will get authentic

Finally I repeat - the only way to make a world a better place is
via more and more trading. Market forces will compel industries and
economic activities to be relocated in the most appropriate
environment/countries. In this process some will get affected
negatively while benefits will accrue to others - matters being
always in a flux. It is best that we understand these changes,
which are, often, beyond the control of individuals, and adjust
ourselves to new situations.

Peace and prosperity to all in 2005 and beyond.

Yath Iqbal
Intergem Exports and Ceylon Sapphires International
Sri Lanka - the land of the smiling people.