Hon. Gamini Lokuge, Minister of Labour and Labour Relations delivered a Joint statement on behalf of the Group of Fifteen (G-15) at the 102nd International Labour Conference on 12th June 2013 in Geneva. The Group of Fifteen raised their concern that the continuing global financial crisis resulting in uncertain economic outlook, aggravated unemployment and rising poverty levels, is hampering ongoing efforts towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in many developing countries particularly in Asia and Africa.
Sri Lanka has observed that the high enrolment rates at primary and secondary levels which reflect the impact of longstanding policies supporting access to basic education without discrimination, have contributed towards Sri Lanka’s success in achieving gender parity in primary, secondary and tertiary education.
Senior Minister for Scientific Affairs, Prof Tissa Vitarana told the 16th Session of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD) held in Geneva last week, that Sri Lanka which is now a middle income country expects to increase the contribution of high tech value added exports to the national economy from the present 1.5% to 10% by 2016 through the implementation of the National strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation. Revealing details of the national strategy he mentioned that in line with the target of doubling its per capita GDP to USD 4000 by 2016, the strategy is aimed at achieving effective social economic development, through research directed on national needs, use of advanced technologies and building a culture of techno – entrepreneurship between the public & private sector partnership.
Sri Lanka has emphasized that regulation, transparency and accountability of funding to NGOs and NPOs is a pre-requisite in the interest of national security and counter-terrorism as recognized by states, and that obligation placed on states to adhere to the regulatory framework in compliance with 40 Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force, makes it mandatory to monitor fund transfers of all financial institutions inclusive of NPOs and INGOs (associations) and other financial institutions, in countering financing of terrorism, money laundering or other related trans-national crimes.
Sri Lanka has observed that the Legal Aid Commission of Sri Lanka primarily funded by the state, covers most parts of the country with approximately 70 legal aid centres, including in the former conflict-affected areas, and records a high caseload and provision of services.
Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation to the 23rd session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) delivering the national statement on Monday (27 May 2013), apprised the Council of progress with regard to reconciliation in Sri Lanka since its last session in March 2013, Sri Lanka’s engagement with the Council and its mechanisms and on Sri Lanka’s position with regard to thematic issues of relevance to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Participating in the High Level Segment of the ordinary and simultaneous extraordinary meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions held on 9 - 10 May 2013 in Geneva, Minister of Environment and Renewable Energy Minister Susil Premajayantha has emphasized the necessity for international cooperation involving both developed and developing nations, to address the problems related to the management of man-made harmful chemicals in the environment. He also elaborated on the future activities planned in Sri Lanka to comply with the three conventions.
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha has said,strong political will is needed to finalize the process of considering, revising, and ultimately endorsing the draft Right to Development criteria and operational sub-criteria, towards the elaboration of a coherent set of standards on this intrinsic right. Addressing the 14th session of the U.N Open-ended Intergovernmental working group on the Right to Development at the UN in Geneva on 13 May 2013, he said with the world struggling through multiple crises, a renewed international commitment toward sustainable development at RIO+20, and the post-2015 development agenda upon us, the effective implementation of the right to development is required now, more than ever before.
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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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