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Lakshman Kadirgamar ; Legal and Political Career

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Subsequent to leaving Oxford Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar had a successful career as an international lawyer in Geneva. Upon retiring from his legal career there, he returned to Sri Lanka and began practising commercial, industrial and administrative law. In 1963, Amnesty International enforced him with the task of investigating the Buddhist-led resistance campaign that year against the regime in South Vietnam. During the period from 1974 to 1976 Kadirgamar served as a consultant in the International Labour Organization. Following that he worked in the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), where they appointed  him as the Director for Asia and the Pacific in 1983. Kadirgamar wrote many scholarly articles for international legal journals like the Modern Law Review, South African Law Journal and Conveyancer and Property Lawyer. After that in 1988 he came back to Sri Lanka and resumed his legal career there and was appointed as the President's Counsel in 1991. His legal background must have influenced in his view of democracy since his actions were always based on rational evaluation rather than emotion.

In 1994, Peoples Alliance (PA) nominated him as national list MP on the list of candidates for the General Election and was appointed Foreign Minister under President Chandrika Kumaratunga following the victory of PA. He was active in his post till 2001. During his reign did his best as a patriotic citizen in banning the LTTE banned internationally and ultimately was able list the LTTE as a terrorist organisation and deprive them of the funding they got from The United States and the United Kingdom. Despite being a Tamil, he was highly critical of the attempts to negotiate with the Tamil Tigers and of the Ceasefire Agreement between the government and the Tamil Tigers. In 2001 when the government was defeated he worked as an adviser on foreign affairs to President Kumaratunga. His belief was that we should fight ultimately to build a lasting peace in our country that can only come about by welding the communities together not driving by them apart.

Among his many international achievements, being appointed as Vice-chairman (19971999) and later Chairman (20032005) of the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) was of great significance. He was able to become a Chair of the South Asia Foundation (SAF), a non-governmental organisation from 1999 onwards. And was active as  Chair of the Council of Ministers of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) from 1998 to 2000. And before entering into pol[pic 2]itics he held the post of the Director of the United Nations Intellectual Property Organisation, where he was responsible for the drafting of legislation of nineteen states.



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