Sri Lanka has been designated by acclamation to Chair the 2015 Meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW). Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva, succeeds Ambassador Remigiusz A. Henczel, the Permanent Representative of Poland to the UN in Geneva.
Accepting the honor conferred on Sri Lanka by the 118 High Contracting Parties to the convention at the conclusion of the week long CCW sessions in Geneva on 14 November 2014, Ambassador Aryasinha expressed appreciation to the Non Aligned Movement (NAM) for proposing Sri Lanka on behalf of the Group. He said, "I am deeply humbled by the confidence placed in Sri Lanka, and the recognition of Sri Lanka's contribution to the field of disarmament over many decades - through the the Indian Ocean as a Zone of Peace initiative, the Conference on Disarmament (CD), the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT), the International Atomic Energy Authority (IAEA), the Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), and particularly since the ending of the terrorist conflict by its comprehensive demining programme, a key focus area of the CCW".
Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha has said Sri Lanka stands ready to share its experience in comprehensive demining as a 'best practice' with countries which are facing similar challenges. Noting that "Sri Lanka’s continuing progress in demining has been achieved by telescoping what according to some estimates was to take 15 – 20 years, into one of 5 – 7 years duration, he said this was not only a rewarding experience for our people as they now move about freely across the country, but also a positive lesson for other conflict affected countries, where nationally owned and nationally driven programmes could achieve their intended purposes, if the necessary political commitment, resolve and pragmatic vision is put in place".
Ambassador Aryasinha made these observations when he addressed the 16th Annual Conference of the High Contracting Parties to Amended Protocol II on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the use of Mines, Booby-Traps and other Devices of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) on Wednesday (12 November 2014) at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons came as a result of an increased international realization that the effects caused by certain conventional weapons may be excessively injurious and indiscriminate. The Convention and its Protocols together manifest a clear intention and commitment of the Contracting Parties to address this challenge effectively, through the adoption of national programmes and measures.
Following the News Release yesterday (7 November 2014) by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights condemning disinformation designed to discredit the UN investigation on Sri Lanka, the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva has sent the attached communication to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in this regard.
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha, has said Sri Lanka which took over the chair of the Colombo Process (CP) one year ago was of the view that if it were to make a difference and ensure that some real benefits would accrue to the people of the member countries, it was important that they address the tough issues, including 'Ethical Labour Recruitment Practices'. He noted that in ongoing deliberations the CP is seeking to harmonize existing national regulatory frameworks, promote Standard Employment Contracts (including addressing issue of contract substitution and create a registration mechanism for contracts), consider common minimum wage levels, and conditions that promote health and well-being and insurance protection, and to develop a common position on ethical recruitment practices.
Ambassador Aryasinha made these observations and reviewed the progress made by the CP under Sri Lanka's leadership, when he addressed an Expert Consultation on Recruitment Practices and their Impact on Human Rights of Migrants, held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva on 31 October 2014. The consultation was convened by Mr. Francois Crepeau, Special Repporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants and was attended by diplomats, academics, representatives of the ILO and IOM, Recruitment specialists, as well as NGOs involved in the field.
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Leader of the Sri Lanka delegation to the Human Rights Committee Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha asked the Human Rights Committee to “judge Sri Lanka in proportion to the challenges Sri Lanka has continued to face as a country emerging from a 30 year terrorist conflict".
The Ambassador made this observation in responding to comments made during the consideration of Sri Lanka's 5th Periodic Report under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) by the Human Rights Committee, which was held on 7-8 October 2014 in Geneva. The Human Rights Committee comprises a body of independent experts from 18 countries that monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by its State parties.
Responding to a question raised by the Committee as to why the PTA is still in existence in Sri Lanka, Ambassador Aryasinha said Sri Lanka does not shy away from making considered choices and is adept at differentiating, in the best interest of its people. He recalled that notwithstanding security concerns, the government had speedily resettled almost all internally displaced persons, that out of approximately 12,000 LTTE ex-combatants who have been reintegrated into society, all but 114 are undergoing rehabilitation, and 84 are under legal proceedings, and that in 2011 the government had allowed emergency to lapse, which at the time many felt was too hasty. In spite of concerns raised, the Government of Sri Lanka had taken these calculated risks. He said, the government had to keep the PTA in effect, albeit reluctantly, due to recent incidents pointing to attempts at the resurgence of terrorism in Sri Lanka with involvement of external networks. He pointed out that such caution was also taken by many governments who have had to face the threat of terrorism.
Sri Lanka has called on refugee receiving countries to expedite the processes of finalizing resettlement claims and to also assist UNHCR to enhance its resource capacity, in order to overcome present difficulties being experienced in Sri Lanka on account of rapid influx of refugees/asylum seekers.
Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and CDA a.i. Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya in a statement to the 65th Session of the Executive Committee of the UNHCR on Thursday in Geneva (2 October 2014), said despite not being a signatory to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, Sri Lanka has been accommodating refugees/ asylum seekers in the country. However, during the last two years Sri Lanka witnessed an almost 700% increase in the arrival of asylum seekers/refugees, resulting in serious law & order, security, as well as health related issues for Sri Lanka. While being sensitive to the humanitarian aspects of asylum seekers/refugees, the Government has sought UNHCR’s assistance in addressing related issues including establishment of a safe house/welfare centre for identified refugees until they are resettlement, regularization of the return of asylum seekers whose claims have been rejected, expediting the resettlement process; and ensuring adequate facilities and monetary assistance provided to Asylum seekers until their claims are processed or resettlement is found. However these issues remain largely unresolved and Sri Lanka urges UNHCR to work closely with the Government to resolve these issues.
Responding to the ‘Oral Update’ on Sri Lanka by the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva today (25 September 2014), Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha said “the Government of Sri Lanka does not wish to help legitimize a flawed process and have a detrimental precedents established”, and hence “has to respectfully refuse those who urge that Sri Lanka cooperate with the OHCHR investigation.”
He said this position has been taken after much consideration and represents not only the will of the Sri Lankan people as reflected in the motion recently adopted in the Parliament with an overwhelming majority, but also the majority within the Human Rights Council, who refused to support Operational Paragraph 10 of HRC resolution 25/1 which created an OHCHR investigation on Sri Lanka in March 2014.
Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha said Sri Lanka believes that the ‘10 Point Action Plan’ between the Government of Sri Lanka and WIPO could serve as a useful model for developing countries in upgrading their intellectual property protection regimes and delivering the benefits of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) to a broader spectrum of stakeholders.
Ambassador made this observation when he addressed the 54th Series of Meetings of the Assemblies of Member States of WIPO on 23rd September 2014 in Geneva. He noted as the coordinator of SAARC Countries for WIPO- SAARC Consultation Meeting earlier this month, Sri Lanka highlighted the need to enhance implementation of the Development Agenda through its activities and the importance of formulating targeted country plans to achieve the objectives of WIPO’s technical assistance. He also added that the proposed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen mutual cooperation between WIPO and SAARC countries, expected to be considered during the upcoming Summit Meeting of SAARC Member States scheduled to be held in Kathmandu November this year, will further contribute to the development of IP regimes in our region.
Sri Lanka has reiterated its consistent and steadfast support for the Palestinian people in the pursuit of their inalienable rights, including the right to statehood, within the framework of a sovereign, independent, contiguous and viable State of Palestine, peacefully co – existing alongside Israel.
Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, Ambassador Aryasinha made this statement at the General Debate under Item 7 at the 27th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 22nd September 2014.
Sri Lanka believes that the only way to achieve success in the process of drafting a Declaration on right to peace should be through consensus, based on established principles of international law.
Sri Lanka made this observation at the General Debate under Agenda Item 5 on the Report of Inter-Governmental Working Group on the Right to Peace at the 27th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
Intervening in the interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons at the 27th UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 9th September 2014, Sri Lanka reiterated its full commitment to address the increasing challenges of the ageing population, and reaffirms its unwavering commitment to upholder the rights, dignity and the wellbeing of the older persons.
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Leader of the Sri Lanka delegation Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha addressing 27th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva today (8 September 2014), welcoming the new High Commissioner Zeid Bin Ra'ad Al-Hussein on his appointment, said, "his wide experience in diplomacy, in-depth knowledge of the UN system and understanding and respect for social and cultural characteristics are useful assets that will guide the work of the OHCHR, consistent with the IB package and based on the fundamental principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity, non‑selectivity, constructive international dialogue and cooperation". He observed that "despite Sri Lanka's non-recognition of the politically motivated resolution on Sri Lanka during HRC 25, Sri Lanka would continue to engage with the regular mechanisms of the Council, and looked forward to the opportunity to engage during Sri Lanka's fifth periodic report under the ICCPR next month -October 2014".
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.