Mrs Beverly Antille, who was the winner of the second prize at the United Nations Womens’ Guild Bazaar (UNWG) in Geneva, which included 2 return air tickets to Sri Lanka and a 6 day stay at the luxurious Siddhalepa ayurveda spa, left Switzerland for the island this week.
Pictured here at the presentation ceremony, Mrs Antille is seen with Mr. Guy Ludwig, Manager Sales, Etihad Airways, Mr Ruvan de Alwis of the United Nations, Ms Kajori Masse Bassu, President of the UNWG, Ms. Ajkuna Thanati, President of the lottery and Ms. Laila Hilal, President of the Bazaar 2013.
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, has called for "a balanced approach" in addressing the objectives of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). Noting that "Sri Lanka remains fully committed to the nuclear non-proliferation commitments of the NPT and have steadfastly and consistently supported the global initiatives on non-proliferation", Ambassador Aryasinha noted that "nuclear non-proliferation however remains one of three pillars of the NPT, which requires equal attention along with the other two - promotion of safe and secure use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, and nuclear disarmament". He said "such an approach which includes the implementation of the 13 practical steps agreed on to meet the disarmament commitments during the 2000 Review Conference to advance progressively towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons, is a necessary step on the road map to achieving the ultimate goal of a world free of nuclear weapons."
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha addressing a Briefing on Migration and Healthheld at the International Organization on Migration (IOM) on 19th April 2013 has said the Government has readily recognized that migrants and their families left behind in Sri Lanka are vulnerable to migration related health challenges. Joint initiatives between the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), the Ministry of Health and IOM, have been established to ensure that the health-abuse of migrants is effectively addressed. Following a series of public consultations the draft 'Migration Health Policy for Sri Lanka' is to be formalized through its submission to the Cabinet of Ministers for final approval.
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Says vote a rare moment of solidarity in re-constituted HRC for those who continue to believe in principle
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha has said Thursdays vote on Sri Lanka in the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), had provided a rare moment of solidarity for countries that continued to believe in principle, to stand up and be counted, at a time the composition of the HRC is heavily weighted in favour of Western powers, and Bangladesh, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Jordan, Russia and Saudi Arabia who resisted action against Sri Lanka in 2012, were no longer members of the HRC. Ambassador Aryasinha said the Government of Sri Lanka was deeply grateful to the countries that stood by Sri Lanka this year - by voting against, abstaining and absenting themselves, and also helping in lobbying for support, thereby resisting this resolution, which was both deeply intrusive, as well as precedent setting.
The Resolution before the Council today is premised upon Resolution 19/2 of 2012 which was not recognized by Sri Lanka.
Despite our dissociation with that initiative, I must point out the salient features of that Resolution which called for Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of its domestic mechanism, the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and to formulate an action plan for implementation. Since its adoption, Sri Lanka has shown clear progress towards comprehensive reconciliation including by the preparation and implementation of the action plan called for by the Resolution.
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With 13 countries opposing the resolution, 8 countries abstaining, and 1 country absenting itself, 22 out of a total of 47 members of the Human Rights Council, refused to support the U.S. sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka which was taken up for debate and vote at the 22nd Session of the UNHRC in Geneva on Thursday (21 March 2013). This cross regional group included Congo, Ecuador, Indonesia, Kuwait, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Thailand, UAE, Uganda, Venezuela (which opposed) and Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, and Malaysia (which abstained) and Gabon (which absented itself).
Developing countries expressed their confidence for the efforts made by Sri Lanka towards achieving national reconciliation and commended its level of cooperation with the UN.They clearly highlighted that the report A/HRC/22/38 was tabled today (20 March 2012) at the UN Human Rights Council under the agenda item 2 by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) was unwarranted and a clear overstepping of its mandate.They also underlined that the report of the OHCHR has no nexus to the principle objectives of the US sponsored resolution 19/2 of March 2012, and therefore, any further initiatives in the Council, based on or emanating from this report are counterproductive.
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We wish to express our strongest reservations as to the content of the report on Sri Lanka as well as the procedure followed in formulating this document which bears numberA/HRC/22/38. This report purports to be pursuant to Resolution L. 19/2 which we have rejected. We also question how a technical mission, after a visit of just over a week, could have produced such a document purporting to be a comprehensive report pursuant to L.19/2.
In letters addressed to Foreign Ministers of Human Rights Council (HRC) member countries, External Affairs Minister G.L.Peiris has said, “the Government of Sri Lanka believes that drawing disproportionate attention to Sri Lanka’s situation and introducing a resolution that seek to discredit, single out the country and name and shame are unhelpful and counter productive to Sri Lanka’s current reconciliation process. The beneficiaries of such action would be none other than the divisive forces that seek to destabilize the hard won peace in the country. Moreover, the precedent created by intrusive, biased and politicized actions such as the US sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka would pose a danger for all nations”.
Sri Lanka today stated that it remains constant in its support for the State of Palestine and its people for their struggle to achieve the right to statehood, within the framework of a sovereign, independent, viable and united state of Palestine, co-existing peacefully alongside Israel. The Statement was delivered by Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, Ms. Manisha Gunasekera.
Sri Lanka made this statement under the agenda item 07 of the General Debate, on 18 March 2013.
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The 47 member states of the United Nation Human Rights Council unanimously adopted the report presented by the UPR Working Group today, (15 March 2013).
Hon. Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Plantation Industries and Special Envoy of H.E. the President of Sri Lanka on Human Rights, and the leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation while making a statement assured the Council that “Sri Lanka will continue its transparent, proactive and constructive engagement with the Human Rights Council and keep Member and Observer States informed of further developments in Sri Lanka in the field of promotion and protection of human rights”.
Sri Lanka today insisted that the impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake was constitutional. Addressing the on-going session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, the Sri Lankan delegation at the session said that as a founding member of the Commonwealth, Sri Lanka is firmly committed to the values and principles of the organisation. “Due process and constitutional requirements have been followed in relation to the impeachment of the former Chief Justice,” the Sri Lankan delegation said at the 22nd session of the Council today. The comments were made by the Sri Lankan delegation as a right to reply to views expressed by Canada, Sweden and Slovakia.
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Sri Lanka made an intervention at the Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on Minorities held today, 12th March 2013. The Statement was delivered by Ms. PriyangaWickremasinghe, Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, on Friday ( 8 March 2013) intervened at a meeting called by the United States to discuss the Draft Resolution on ‘Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka’.
Chaired by US Human Rights Ambassador Eileen Donahoe, many member and observer states of the Human Rights Council participated in the discussion, while a number of Non-Governmental Organizations were also present at the event.
Sri Lanka made an intervention at the Annual Full Day Meeting on Rights of the Child – the Right of the Child to the highest attainable standard of health today, 07th March 2013. The Statement was delivered by Ms. Dilini Gunasekera.
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Sri Lanka made an intervention at the Clustered ID with the WG on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances & the SR on Freedom of Religion or Belief on 06th March 2013. The Statement was delivered by Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, Ms. Manisha Gunasekera.
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Sri Lanka made an intervention at the Annual Discussion on Human Rights and Persons with Disability on 06th March 2013. The Statement was delivered by Mr. Madhuka Wickramarachchi.
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Sri Lanka made an intervention at the Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, on 05 March 2013. Ms. Manisha Gunasekara, Deputy Permanent Representative delivered the statement on behalf of Sri Lanka.
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Sri Lanka made an intervention at the clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteurs on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism and the WG on Arbitrary Detention, on 05th March 2013. The Statement was delivered by Deputy Solicitor General Buwaneka Aluwihare.
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Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, addressing the Conference on Disarmament (CD) on Tuesday (05 March 2013), expressed the disappointment of Sri Lanka over the failure of the CD to reach consensus on its Programme of Work. He urged Member States to make concerted efforts to reach an early agreement on the Programme of Work. Ambassador Aryasinha highlighted that Nuclear Disarmament remains the highest priority of Sri Lanka in the work of the CD and that its international treaty obligations undertaken in the field of Disarmament are an indication of the country’s commitment to the elimination of the threat posed by nuclear weapons. Emphasizing the need to reach an early agreement on a universal, unconditional and legally binding instrument to assure non-nuclear weapon states against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, Ambassador Aryasinha said it is imperative to start negotiations for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons with a specific time frame.
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The Government of Sri Lanka strongly protests against the efforts by the organizers of this event – Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Festival du Film et Forum International sur les Droits Humains (FIFDH), to use the UN premises for the screening of this film “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka”. Sri Lanka also strongly protests the perception that has been sought to be created in the public mind, through pro-LTTE websites, as well as by duping even better known media organs such as even the International Herald Tribune, which yesterday in an article quoted the Director of this film Mr. Callum Macrae as saying that the film “would be screened at the 22nd Session of the Human Rights Council now underway in Geneva, where the United States plans to introduce a resolution asking Sri Lanka to investigate the allegations of the war crimes by its army”.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has disassociated itself from the screening of the Channel 4 film “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” organized by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and FIFDH to be held on Friday (01 March 2013) in Geneva at the UN premises.
In response to a protest lodged by Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha last Monday, which was followed up with a meeting on Tuesday, the President of the UN Human Rights Council Ambassador Remigiusz A. Henczel in a letter dated 27 February 2013, has observed that such events “do not reflect an official position of the Council”.
Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Plantation Industries and Special Envoy of H.E. the President of Sri Lanka on Human Rights, Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation, today (27th February 2013) delivered the National Statement at the High Level Segment of the 22nd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
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Exercising a ‘right of Reply’ to a statement made by Ms Esther Brimmer, US Assistant Secretary of State for international organisations during the High Level Segment of the 22nd Human Rights Council today ( 26 February 2013), Ms. Priyanga Wicremasinghe, Counsellor of the Sri Lanka Permanent Mission in Geneva said, “Sri Lanka should be encouraged in its reconciliation process, rather than being singled out for any disproportionate attention in this Council”. She said, “it is especially so, at a time when having overcome a 30-year long terrorist conflict, as well as having averted what many feared would be a ‘humanitarian catastrophe’, Sri Lanka is implementing a comprehensive process of reconciliation involving all communities based on the National Action Plan on the implementation of the recommendations of the LLRC”.
Sri Lanka has re-emphasized that the promotion and protection of human rights as enshrined in the Vienna Declaration & Programme of Action (VDPA) should be carried out in conformity with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and norms governing international relations.
Intervening during a high level panel on VDPA on the opening day of the Human Rights Council's 22nd Session, Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Representative Manisha Gunasekera said, “Sri Lanka recalls that the promotion and protection of human rights as enshrined in the VDPA should be carried out in a spirit of cooperation, mutual respect and dialogue, and in conformity with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and norms governing international relations.” “Sri Lanka therefore believes that the VDPA with its emphasis on cooperation and dialogue, continues to maintain its relevance, now more than ever, and we look forward to working with the Council to further enhance its effective implementation in the forthcoming years”, she added.
Sri lanka has lodged a formal protest against the screening of the latest Channel 4 documentary film “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” organized by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and FIFDH at the Palais de Nations in Geneva on 1st March 2013. In a letter addressed to Ambassador Remigiusz Achilles Henczel, President of the Human Rights Council, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ravinatha Aryasinha said “Sri Lanka views this film, as well as the timing of its broadcast as part of a cynical, concerted and orchestrated campaign that is strategically driven, and clearly motivated by collateral political considerations”.