Dates confirmed for Pope Francis' trip to Sri Lanka, Philippines

pope FrancisI
The Holy See Press Office issued a communiqué Tuesday confirming the dates of the Apostolic Trip of the Holy Father in Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
 
Accepting the invitation from the civil authorities and the Episcopate, His Holiness Francis will make an Apostolic Trip to Sri Lanka from 12 to 15 January and in the Philippines from 15 to 19 January 2015. The program for the trip will be published shortly.
 

Sri Lanka expresses deep concern at the recent escalation of violence in Gaza

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“The Government of Sri Lanka is deeply concerned at the recent escalation of violence in Gaza, resulting in the tragic loss of civilian lives, and extensive damage to property. One cannot remain unmoved by the cruel fate of children who are innocent victims of violence. We offer our deepest condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones and for the devastation and grief they have suffered recently.”
 
Sri Lanka’s  Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva,  Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha made this observation at the 21st  Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem  held in Geneva on 23 July 2014 . 
 

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Sri Lanka completes development of risk profiles for major natural hazards, and landslide and drought hazard assessments

Sri Lanka has successfully undertaken the development of risk profiles for major natural hazards, and landslide and drought hazard assessments have already been completed. Hazard profiles of Coastal Hazards, Cyclones and Floods will be completed by the end of the year. The Ministry of Disaster Management has taken a number of other initiatives to mainstream disaster risk reduction into development sectors such as housing, road development, health, education etc.


Sri Lanka’s  Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva,  Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha made this observation at the Discussion on the "Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction" during the First Preparatory Committee for the Third United Nations World conference on Disaster Risk Reduction which took place in Geneva on 15 July 2014.

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Sri Lanka promotes participation of disable persons in vocational training in line with LLRC Recommendations

Sri Lank told the Human Rights Council today (25 June 2014) that persons with disabilities in conflict-affected areas receive benefits from Government schemes including housing and livelihood support. The Government promotes the participation of disabled persons in vocational training with assistance from international partners. For example, the ORHAN Vocational Training Centre in Vavuniya in the North has a current enrolment of 70 per cent disabled students.  These steps are also being taken in keeping with the implementation of the recommendations of the LLRC.
 
This observation was made at the  Panel Discussion on “Technical cooperation and capacity-building in advancing the rights of persons with disabilities through legal and institutional frameworks, including public-private partnerships”.
 

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Sri Lanka calls for implementation of UNGA Resolutions on the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to Statehood and the attainment of a two-State solution

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Sri Lanka has called for implementation of the UNGA Resolutions regarding the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to Statehood and the attainment of a two-State solution. Sri Lanka also urged  “ an end to the Gaza blockade and Israel’s settlements in Palestine Occupied Territories and the release of more Palestinian detainees”,  saying it “will help reduce the mistrust and bitterness between the Israeli and Palestinian peoples”.
 
Sri Lanka’s  Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha made this observation when he intervened in the general debate on Agenda  Item 7 – “Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories” which took place at the 26th Human Rights Council in Geneva today (24 June 2014).
 

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Sri Lanka rejects inference that the presence of the military contributes to the insecurity of women and girls in the former conflict-affected areas

Sri Lanka has strongly rejected the inference that the presence of the military contributes to the insecurity of women and girls in the former conflict-affected areas.

Exercising a 'Right of Reply' with regard to the statement made during the General Debate under Agenda Item 4 by Canada, claiming ‘ongoing use of rape and sexual violence by Sri Lankan security forces against perceived government opponents,’ Sri Lanka said this claim is not substantiated by verifiable data or evidence. It was noted that any allegations supported by credible evidence are dealt with firmly by the authorities and legal action has been taken by the Government in all cases in which the Sri Lankan security personnel have been involved.

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Sri Lanka briefs Human Rights Council on action taken by Government following incidents of communal violence

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Sri Lanka today informed the Human Rights Council that prompt action had been taken by the government to bring back normalcy to Aluthgama and Beruwala, the areas affected by recent incidents of the communal violence.
 
This observation was made by Ms. Manisha Gunasekera, Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva exercising a 'Right of Reply' in response to comments made by Germany,  Norway and Canada during the General Debate under Agenda Item 4.
 

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Sri Lanka says preserving and enriching multicultural and multilingual diversity is a first step in promoting better understanding among different communities

Intervening in the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on International Solidarity and Working Group on Discrimination against Women and the Special Rapporteur on Right to Education at the 26th UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 16th June 2014, Sri Lanka said,  inculcating in students a commitment to preserving and enriching multicultural and multilingual diversity is a first step in promoting better understanding among a country's different communities. Since the end of the conflict, the Government has launched a 10-year National Plan for a Trilingual Sri Lanka in January 2012 for the implementation of the Trilingual Policy. The vision of this plan is to provide Sri Lankans the education, infrastructure and resources to acquire skills in Sinhala, Tamil and English languages to bring about integration and foster a society with mutual understanding and a sense of assimilation and belonging.
 

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Sri Lanka committed to eradicating of all forms of human trafficking

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Intervening in the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on International Solidarity and  Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in persons, especially women and children at the 26th UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 12th June 2014, Sri Lanka said “the Government of Sri Lanka acknowledges the gravity of human trafficking and has adopted a zero tolerance policy against any form of human trafficking. . In this context, the Government has been continuously emphasizing the importance of eradicating of all forms of human trafficking”.
 

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Sri Lanka demonstrated that humanitarian crises can be overcome with political commitment- Amb. Aryasinha

Amb Aryasinha at SR on IDP session


”In contrast to the considerable challenges in the humanitarian crises that continue to engulf many parts of the world today, Sri Lanka’s achievements particularly following the ending of the terrorist conflict provides confidence and hope that even the most severe and insurmountable humanitarian crisis can be overcome, with political commitment.”

Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha made this observation during the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons in the Human Rights Council on Thursday, 12 June. The Special Rapporteur presented his report to the 26th session of the Council, currently underway in Geneva, pursuant to his mission to Sri Lanka in December 2013 at the invitation of the Government. He undertook several field visits during his mission, where he was provided with unfettered access, to engage with a variety of actors, including civil society.

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Sri Lanka says in national policy formulation to combat violence against women, it is necessary to focus on gender equality and the empowerment of women

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Intervening in the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women and SR on Extreme Poverty at the 26th UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 12th June 2014, Sri Lanka said “We believe that in national policy formulation to combat violence against women, it is necessary to focus on gender equality and the empowerment of women to enable them to fully enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms. Sri Lanka’s national policy framework, has consistently highlighted the importance of gender equality and taken measures to alleviate any existing gender gaps”.

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Sri Lanka says States should take steps to implement health education programmes to promote healthy food options in schools

Intervening in the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Right to Health and WG on Human Rights and Business at the 26th UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 11th June 2014, Sri Lanka has said “Multi-sectoral approach should be used to address diet-related Non-Communicable Deceases (NCDs) and to increase availability of healthier food alternatives through policy formulation. While providing information about the ill effects of unhealthy foods and raising awareness of the benefits of balanced diets and healthy foods, States should take steps to implement health education programmes to promote healthy food options in such institutional settings such as schools”.

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G-15 Urges all WSIS+10 Stakeholders to play a Greater Role in Ensuring Inclusiveness of Information Society

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Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Chairman of the Personal Representatives of the Group of Fifteen (G-15), has urged all WSIS+10 stakeholders to play a greater role in ensuring the inclusiveness of information society. He particularly drew attention to “the emergence of a new digital divide, especially in terms of quality of ICT infrastructure, broadband access, affordability and digital content, particularly in low-income countries, and stressed that it was “extremely important that the overall review of WSIS processes gives highest priority to the challenges in a balanced and equitable manner.”

 
Ambassador Aryasinha made these observations when he delivered a joint statement at the High Level Meeting of WSIS+10 (World Summit on Information Society) at CICG in Geneva on 11 June, 2014, on behalf of G-15, a Summit Level Group of Developing Countries comprising 17 member States - Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
 

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Sri Lanka says will not cooperate with the OHCHR-driven "comprehensive investigation"

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Sri Lanka has reiterated its categorical rejection of the Human Right Council Resolution 25/1, and said it will not cooperate with the OHCHR-driven so called “comprehensive investigation” emanating from it. Sri Lanka has observed that the Government is firmly committed to continuing its ongoing processes of reconciliation, nation building and accountability, and towards this end, will continue to work with countries and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations that are genuinely interested in the welfare of the Sri Lankan people.

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Minister Gamini Lokuge briefs ILC on Sri Lanka National Human Resource and Employment Policy and its Work Plan

Hon Minister Gamini Lokuge -ILC-04june2014srilanka delegation ILC June 2014


Hon. Gamini Lokuge, Minister of Labour and Labour Relations has said Sri Lanka prepared a comprehensive National Human Resource and Employment Policy and its Work plan after having had extensive discussions with all relevant stakeholders including trade unions and employer representatives with the blessing of the President of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa.

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The G-15 remains convinced that the eradication of forced lablour is essential for the full enjoyment of human rights and human dignity

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“The G-15 remains convinced that the eradication of forced lablour is essential for the full enjoyment of human rights and human dignity. In this vein, the G-15 is committed to cooperate within the ILO and other agencies to combat this unlawful practice which accounts for the nearly 21 million souls that continue to be silent victims of this scourge.
 
Mr. W.J.L.U. Wijayaweera, Secretary of Labour and Labour Relations made this observation when he delivered the G-15 Joint Statement on behalf of G-15 Group at the 103rd Session of the International Labour Conference held from  28 May – June 12 2014 in Geneva.
 

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“Let us all be eco-centered rather than ego-centered” – Health Minister Maithripala Sirisena

Hon Minister of Health at the 67th World Health Assembly


 Minister of Health and Vice President of the 67th World Health Assembly, Maithripala Sirisena, addressing the World Health Assembly today (20th May 2014) said “the World Health Assembly has a historic opportunity to once again appeal to the world community to demand those countries releasing large amount of carbon-dioxide and offensive gases to the atmosphere - to adopt carbon free energy sources to run their industries. These developed nations should be held responsible for releasing large quantities of offensive gases, and the people in developing and poor countries are the victims that have to bear the consequences. Let us all be eco-centered rather than ego-centered so that we can all live happily and with good health and leave to the future generations a much better and a healthy place to live in.

 

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G-15 Calls for WIPO to pursue balanced and Development-Oriented activities on Intellectual Property

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Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Chairman of the Personal Representatives of the Group of Fifteen (G-15), has urged WIPO to play a greater role in promoting the understanding and adoption of Intellectual Property policies and laws in member countries, respecting their different levels of development. He said that “WIPO’S activities should be supportive of the development goals agreed with the UN System” and “Accordingly, WIPO should be required to play a proactive role to support national scientific and technological capability; foster access to knowledge and explore all possible mechanisms for innovation to effectively promote development".

Ambassador Aryasinha made these observations when he delivered a joint statement at the 13th Session of Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) at WIPO in Geneva on 19 May, 2014 on behalf of G-15, a Summit Level Group of Developing Countries comprising 17 member States - Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

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Minister Ranawaka says ” Sri Lanka is currently engaged in formulating an Investment Framework for R & D”

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Minister Patali Champika Ranawka stated “Sri Lanka is currently engaged in formulating an Investment Framework for R&D for our country.  The framework, when finalized will form the basis for Government investments in the R&D sector.  The Framework will eliminate what the scientists are often blamed for - engaging in research projects which have meaning to the scientific world but which are not always an effective response to the development priorities of our own nation.  In formulating this Framework, we have adopted a participatory and inclusive process so as to ensure that the views of all stakeholders are obtained.” 

Minister made this observation at the Seventeenth Annual Session of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) held in Geneva, 12–16 May 2014.
 

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Colombo Process Senior Officials Meeting concludes in Colombo

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The first Senior Officials' Meeting of the Colombo Process under Sri Lanka's chairmanship reached a successful conclusion on Wednesday 7 May in Colombo with discussion and agreement on key labour migration principles, including the promotion of cheaper, faster and safer transfer of remittances, standard employment contracts, ethical labour recruitment, and cooperation and dialogue with the Abu Dhabi Dialogue (ADD). Established in 2003 in Colombo, the Colombo Process is a Regional Consultative Process on Labour Migration (RCP) of 11 labour sending countries from Asia comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam - all of who were represented at the meeting.  The IOM, SDC and ILO were also associated with the Meeting. Sri Lanka assumed the chairmanship of the Colombo Process in October 2013.
 

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10 point Action Plan' to boost Intellectual Property benefits in Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha  has said a '10 Point Action Plan', between the Government of Sri Lanka and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) that would benefit a cross section of sectors dealing with intellectual property in the country has become operational. 
 

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Sri Lanka Youth Council Delegation in a promotional tour, “Around the World in 40 Days” visits Switzerland

around he world in 40 days -WYC 2014 in Colombo wyc 25apr2014-2


A delegation from the Sri Lanka Youth Council visited Geneva, Switzerland from 24-27 April 2014 as a part of a promotional campaign titled “Round the World in 40 Days” of the World Conference on Youth (WCY 2014) which is scheduled to be held from 6th – 10th May 2014 at the BMICH in Colombo. The Delegation was headed by Mr. Saman Abeywardena, Assistant Director of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development, and included Mr. R.A.S. Kumara, General Secretary, Sri Lanka Federation of Youth Clubs, Mr. A. Thevarajah, Member of National Federation, Sri Lanka Federation of Youth Clubs and Mr. T.Y.Kamalsiri , General Manager (Sirasa TV), Mr. I.R.M. Angello, Program Producer (MTV).

Welcoming the Youth Council Delegation at a promotional event organized at the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva on 25th April 2014, Ms. Manisha Gunasekera, Charge d’Affaires and Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva said, “Sri Lanka is hosting the WCY at an opportune moment when the country is in the process of consolidating peace and reconciliation, having emerged from a nearly 30 year brutal terrorist conflict where generations of young people from all communities, especially the North and the East, suffered heavily”. She noted that "Sri Lanka has made significant progress in reintegrating its youth in the development process since the end of the conflict despite challenges” and shared statistical details on the high performance of the students of the Northern and Eastern Provinces in the A/L examination which further proved this phenomenon.

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Sri Lanka wins two Gold Medals and two Bronze Medals at the 42nd International Exhibition of Inventions in Geneva

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Four Sri Lankan inventors won 2 Gold medals and 2 Bronze medals, including a Gold medal with special jury recognition at the 42nd International Exhibition of Inventions held from 2-6 April 2014 in Geneva, which is known as the world’s largest market-place for inventions. At this event, inventions of more than 700 companies, universities and individual inventors from 45 countries are exhibited for the first time, with 60,000 visitors from all 5 continents.

 

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Sri Lanka acutely conscious of extremist elements and terrorist groups seeking to foster separatist agenda and engender hatred, discrimination and intolerance

Deputy Permanent Representative, Ms. Manisha Gunasekera made this observation in an intervention during the 12th session of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA).  
 
 
Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka
Geneva

07 March 2014
 

Countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America express their support to Sri Lanka’s efforts at achieving national reconciliation

HRC floor

Sri Lanka’s efforts at achieving national reconciliation and significant progress in many spheres received support from countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America during the  adoption of the resolution on 27 March 2014 and consideration of the High Commissioner's Report on Sri Lanka on 26 March 2014 at the Human Rights Council.

China said “the international community must respect the right to choose one’s own path of development.” They also pointed out that the co-sponsors of the draft resolution on Sri Lanka “used the problem of human rights to openly exert pressure on Sri Lanka” to intervene in the internal affairs of the country.” China shared the concerns of many other countries that “this resolution does not reflect the consensus of the Council” and it is “an example of politicization of human rights” and at the same time “some of the contents of the draft goes against the mandate of the High Commissioner and provision of the resolution which established the Council.”

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Countries supporting US-led action against Sri Lanka are now a minority in the HRC - Amb. Aryasinha

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Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha has said countries supporting US-led action against Sri Lanka are now a minority in the Human Rights Council.


Speaking to media following the vote today (27th March 2014), the Ambassador said a significant point about the vote in the Human Rights Council on the resolution on Sri Lanka, was that since the US first began moving resolutions on Sri Lanka in 2012, a majority of the 47 members of the Human Rights Council - 12 countries opposing and 12 other countries abstaining - has made it clear that they do not support the action taken by the US, the UK and the other co-sponsors of the resolution to impose an international inquiry mechanism concerning Sri Lanka. Those 24 countries, as against the 23 ( that includes 12 - EU, EU aspirants and the USA), who refused to endorse the action being taken, have sent a very clear and emphatic message rejecting imposition of external solutions on Sri Lanka, and the detrimental effect it would have on the reconciliation process.

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