Yesterday, the United Nations General Assembly adopted by consensus, a resolution, spearheaded by Sri Lanka, declaring 15th July as the World Youth Skills Day. Sri Lanka initiated this resolution, with the assistance of the G77 & China, to highlight at a global level, the importance of youth skills development. The goal is to achieve better socio-economic conditions for today’s youth, including as a means of addressing the challenges of unemployment and under employment. This is the only resolution promoted by Sri Lanka at the UN in New York since 1999.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa mooted the idea of a UN Youth Skills Day in his address to the 68th Session of the UNGA in 2013. The proposal to designate a day for youth skills development was endorsed by both the youth and the policymakers, including Ministers, at the World Conference on Youth held in Colombo in May 2014. The ‘Colombo Declaration’ which was adopted by consensus, after detailed debate, called upon the United Nations to designate a day to highlight youth skills development to draw attention to the critical need for marketable skills. The successful adoption of this resolution by the UN General Assembly is a fulfillment of a commitment that was made by Sri Lanka to all youth around the world.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa had appointed another international expert to advise the Presidential Commission to Investigate into Complaints Regarding Missing Persons.
The Japanese expert, a former international judge Motoo Noguchi has been appointed as the sixth foreign adviser to the Commission, Chairman of the Commission retired High Court Judge Maxwel Paranagama said.
Noguchi is a former International Judge of the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia and the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims of the International Criminal Court.
Six experts from Western and Asian countries have been appointed to the Commission at several stages. They are Sir Desmond de Silva of UK (Chairman), Sir Geoffrey Nice (UK), Prof. David Crane (USA), Mr. Avdhash Kaushal (India) and Mr. Ahmer Bilal Soofi (Paksitan) and Judge Motoo Noguchi (Japan).
The Advisory Council was appointed in July 2014 to advise the Commission on matters pertaining to its work, including legal aspects.
The Missing Persons Commission has conducted eight public sittings up to now and 19,761 complaints had been received including more than 5,000 from the families of the Security Forces.
The Minister of External Affairs, Prof. G.L. Peiris met the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations, Mr. Subinay Nandy today and conveyed to him, the Government’s extreme discontent regarding the unprofessional manner in which the investigation on Sri Lanka is being conducted by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
The Minister’s protest to the UN Resident Coordinator focused on the unacceptable way in which the deadline for submission of evidence to the investigation, 30 October, that had been originally set by the OHCHR had been changed unofficially and re-set once again.
The festive day of Deepavali, which underlines the great spiritual values of Hinduism, is filled with the spirit of love and devotion, and is an occasion for Hindus to strive for greater spirituality, foster understanding among communities, and increase harmony among people, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The President, in his message issued for Deepavali festival states that the religious practices and festivities that go with this festival will also add to the spirit of reconciliation that prevails in the country, for which, one looks forward to the eager and active participation of the Hindu community.
The Government of Sri Lanka has noted with concern the decision of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on 16th October, to annul the EU regulations proscribing the LTTE. The defendants of this case have been the Council and Commission of the European Union, together with two member states, the Netherlands and the UK.
Expectedly, the ECJ judgment requires in-depth study by all the defendant parties. It is noteworthy that the Court has stressed the annulments to be “on fundamentally procedural grounds” and “do not imply any substantive assessment of the question of the classification of the LTTE as a terrorist group.” Further it is observed from the decision of the ECJ that “the effects of the annulled measures are maintained temporarily in order to ensure the effectiveness of any possible future freezing of funds”.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa handed over land deeds to 20,000 people in Northern Province today (12 October 2014).
President Rajapaksa arrived in Kilinochchi today commencing his 3-day visit to North.
The people of the North who lost their lands due to the terrorist activities were given their lands again under a programme to implement the recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).
Sri Lanka signed the global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. Dr. Palitha Kohona, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, signed the Minamata convention on Mercury on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka on 8th October 2014 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The Minamata Convention is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury. It was concluded at the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee in Geneva, Switzerland. One hundred and twenty five countries have signed this agreement, while six countries have so far ratified it.
The government has taken measures to establish a special Bureau for Reconciliation to facilitate the implementation of Recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry on Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation.
A Committee headed by the Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga is engaged in monitoring the implementation of 144 recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) contained in the National Plan of Action.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa who was received at an audience by His Holiness Pope Francis I this morning extended an invitation for His Holiness to visit Sri Lanka in January next year.
President Rajapaksa and First Lady Shiranthi Wickremasinghe Rajapaksa who arrived at the Vatican this morning were received with honor by Head of Vatican Protocol Office, Msgr. Jose Avelino Bettencourt. The traditional Swiss Guards of the Vatican formed a Guard of Honor to the President. Later the President, First Lady and members of the Sri Lanka delegation were escorted to Apostolic Palace where President Rajapaksa had his audience with His Holiness at the special audience hall of the Palace.