”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.
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”.
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”.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha addressing the Human Rights Council on behalf of the 'Country Concerned' ahead of the vote on the resolution on Sri Lanka on 27th March 2014, observed that the key imperative driving the resolution was not genuine concern for the welfare of the Sri Lankan people but electoral compulsions of some States at the behest of certain extreme elements with links to the LTTE. He said such biases and extreme ideologies ignore the ground realities, the legitimate aspirations of the Sri Lankan people, and trivialize the price paid by all Sri Lankans to defeat a 30-year brutal terrorist conflict and consolidate peace.
Ambassador Aryasinha who made a detailed critique of different elements of the resolution, said Sri Lanka categorically and unreservedly rejects this draft resolution, as it challenges the sovereignty and independence of a Member State of the UN, violates the principles of international law, based on flawed premises, and is inimical to the interests of the people of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha responding to the High Commissioner's Report on Sri Lanka, informed the UN Human Rights Council on 26th March 2014 that rather than encourage and support the ongoing reconciliation process in Sri Lanka, as well as the constructive engagement Sri Lanka continues to maintain with the Council, it was ironic that the draft resolution on Sri Lanka being mooted by some members of this Council, is reflective of the same partisan politicised agenda through its request to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to undertake "a comprehensive independent investigation". Assistance to this process by third party ‘experts’ whose mandate and credentials are far from clear; and its deliberate exclusion of a significant part of the duration of the terrorist conflict from the period under investigation via the introduction of a particular time frame, would be both precedent setting and prejudicial to the interests of all member and observer states of this Council in the future.
Exercising the right to reply on statements made regarding the arrest and detention of Ms. Balendran Jeyakumari, and the incidents in Killinochchi last week, Sri Lanka asked the member states at the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council on 26 March 2014 how their respective countries would react if there was a credible threat of re-grouping terror networks and if they would remain passive bystanders or take proactive action to ensure terror networks were kept at bay.
Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva and Chair of the Personal Representatives of G-15 Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, recalling the active role played by Dr. Gamini Corea in reinforcing unity among nations of the Global South and their position in multilateral negotiations, said Dr. Corea’s “legacy and intellectual prophecy continues to inspire international institutions such as the South Centre, as well as cross regional groups of nations such as G-15, to continue to strive and work tirelessly for a more equitable and just world order”.
Ambassador Aryasinha made these observations when he addressed a half-day special Tribute seminar, organized by the South Centre with support from the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka, in commemoration of the life and intellectual legacy of Dr. Gamani Corea (Former UNCTAD Secretary-General and South Centre Board Chair), was held on 20 March 2014 at the United Nations in Geneva.
Intervening in the 6th session of the Forum on Minority Issues at the 25th UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 19th March 2014, Sri Lanka said that mindful of the many challenges after a three-decade long conflict that had taken its toll on the population of an entire country. We are seeking to address these challenges in line with the National Plan of Action for the Implementation of the Recommendations of the LLRC which contains many recommendations that seek to promote religious tolerance and inter-communal and inter-religious understanding, as well as to address grievances and grant redress to those whose rights have been violated on ethnic or religious grounds.
Exercising its Right of Reply on statements made regarding the arrest and detention of Ms. Balendran Jeyakumari and the detention of Mr. Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen, the Government of Sri Lanka detailed to the Human Rights Council today (18th March 2014), the sequence of events preceding this action. Sri Lanka said Ms. Jeyakumari was placed under arrest on suspicion of aiding and abetting K.P. Selvanayagam a.k.a. ‘Gobi’ who is believed to be leading the revival of the LTTE in Sri Lanka, while Mr. Fernando and Father Praveen have been detained as it has been revealed that they have been in Killinochchi engaging with persons connected to Gobi. Their questioning is continuing at present, to ascertain the whereabouts of Gobi and other related operatives.
Intervening in the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar at the 25th UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 17th March 2014, Sri Lanka reiterates its consistent position that any action taken in the promotion and protection of human rights of a country must have the consent of that country, and be based on the principles of cooperation and genuine dialogue, and on the founding principles of universality, impartiality, non-selectivity which govern the work of the Council. Sri Lanka also believes that the UPR mechanism is the appropriate platform to address the human rights situations of all countries in a uniform, objective and constructive spirit of engagement.
Minister of Plantation Industries and Special Envoy of the President on Human Rights, Hon. Mahinda Samarasinghe has said Sri Lanka’s opposition to the Resolution being moved by the US, UK and a few other countries against Sri Lanka was a fight on a matter of principle and that Sri Lanka would not compromise on it. Noting that what is happening to Sri Lanka today, could happen to any other NAM country tomorrow, Minister Samarasinghe called upon all Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) member states to continue to show solidarity with Sri Lanka.