The Impact of Technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) on Achieving the SDGs is Becoming Apparent

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As we pursue Sustainable Development targets with an objective to ‘leave no one behind by 2030’, it is becoming apparent that the kind of impact technology and AI can make in realising the 17 SDG’s and its 169 targets, the CDA a.i. of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to UN, Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya said addressing the Meeting of the Group of Governmental Experts (GCE) on Emerging Technologies in the areas of Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS) held in Geneva on 9th April 2018. The use of AI to automate UNDP’s Rapid Integrated Assessment (RIA) systems, which helps in determining a country’s readiness for implementation of the Global Development Agenda, and in building interlinkages among national and sectoral policies is clearly, among one of the many positive narratives of the peaceful application of AI, she noted.

Highlighting that there are several challenges before the GGE, Sri Lanka stated that a careful study of different definitions available so far, and an objective consideration of the language used in different national defence doctrines could serve as the first step in finding a ‘working definition’ for LAWS. The degree to which AI has already been built into military weapons systems and the accepted degree of autonomy related to the critical functions of these weapons, the ‘predictability’ of their functions and the ‘reliability’ of its operations under changing conditions during a conflict is another challenge. Also, the difficulty of the ‘attribution of accountability’ is getting blur with the use of AI in military weapons systems. Nevertheless, the test of public conscience and laws of humanity as referred to in the Martens Clause should guide the Member States, even if any IHL principles are founded to be inapplicable, Sri Lanka stated.

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"Sri Lanka makes its best contributions to the international community when it leads from the centre" - Ambassador Aryasinha

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Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha has said "Sri Lanka makes its best contributions to the international community when it leads from the centre", rather than positioning itself in a manner "either to be taken for granted, or to remain isolated".

The Ambassador who this week relinquishes his tour of duty as Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, made this observation in his farewell address to the Conference on Disarmament (CD) on 27th March 2018, where last month under Sri Lanka's Presidency, the Conference unanimously adopted Decision CD/2119 setting up 5 subsidiary bodies to commence substantive work. Addressing the High-Level Segment of the CD, UN Secretary-General António Guterres welcoming this Decision stated, “I believe you are off to the best start in nearly two decades, and I look forward to building on this new momentum”.

Recalling that for long years Sri Lanka had been an active player in the field of disarmament, Ambassador Aryasinha expressed satisfaction that Sri Lanka was once again able to make a meaningful contribution through CD/2119 during its recent Presidency, notwithstanding the challenging global environment we live in today. He said the decision "was a balance between flexibility and safeguards, and it offered a framework for a more focused and continued debate on all core issues on the CD agenda. “I believe this has the potential of being an irreversible first step in getting the CD back to work, and in asserting its credibility as the single multilateral forum for negotiating disarmament treaties" he said.

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Sri Lanka’s leadership at the Geneva based Conference on Disarmament commended

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The Decision arrived at during Sri Lanka’s Presidency of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) to resume substantive work, and the role played in this regard by Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, has been commended during the High-Level Segment of the CD held in Geneva this week.

In his address to the CD on Monday (26 February 2018), the UN Secretary-General (UNSG) Antonio Guterres, referred to the recent Decision of 16 February 2018 as an effort “to find ways to break the long-standing stalemate in this Conference". He further said “I believe you are off to the best start in nearly two decades, and I look forward to building on this new momentum”.

At a follow-up meeting held on the sidelines of the High-Level segment, UNSG’s High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu said she was "deeply impressed and grateful for the leadership offered by Ambassador Aryasinha in adopting the Decision which is a contribution not only to the CD, but also towards the overall objective of disarmament". She requested Sri Lanka to help with the immediate next steps in the implementation of the recent CD Decision.

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Special Envoy of the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention HRH Prince Mired Al-Hussein to visit Sri Lanka

02 03 2018 APMBC

At the invitation of the Government of Sri Lanka, the Special Envoy of the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention, Prince Mired Raad Zeid Al-Hussein of Jordan will undertake an official visit from 5 – 7 March 2018.

The visit is of particular significance since Sri Lanka acceded to the Anti-personnel Mine Ban Convention on 13 December 2017 becoming its 163rd State Party. The ‘Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destruction’, typically referred to as the ‘Ottawa Convention’ or ‘Mine Ban Treaty’, seeks to end the use of anti-personnel landmines (APLs) worldwide. It was opened for signature on December 3, 1997, and it entered into force on March 1, 1999. Currently the convention has 164 state parties. 

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UN Secretary General welcomes Decision adopted under Sri Lanka’s Presidency to advance work of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva

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The Conference on Disarmament (CD) presided over by Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, on Friday (16 February 2018), adopted a Decision to establish five subsidiary bodies to discuss all items in its agenda, with a view to advance the substantive work of the Conference. The Decision described as a "well-brokered balance between flexibility and safeguards and offered a framework for a more focused and continued debate on core issues", seeks to bring the CD back to its original mandate of negotiating disarmament instruments. Since its negotiation of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996, the CD is yet to negotiate any new treaty. 

In a statement released the same evening in New York, the Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said "the Secretary-General welcomes the decision adopted today by the Conference on Disarmament to take forward its substantive work. The Secretary-General commends the Members of the Conference for achieving this positive step, which he hopes will lead to resumption of negotiations on effective measures for disarmament and arms control. The current international security situation underscores the vital need to restore disarmament as an integral component of our collective efforts to prevent armed conflict and to maintain international peace and security". It added that "the Secretary-General urges Member States to make use of this opening, redouble their efforts and forge a new consensus for disarmament".

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Sri Lanka assumes the Presidency of the Conference on Disarmament

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Sri Lanka has called on member states of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) to seek to bring back the necessary attention at the highest political levels to the CD, in order to maintain the integrity and credibility of the Conference, as well as to create forward movement and momentum.

Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha made this call today (23rd January) on the occasion of Sri Lanka assuming the responsibility of the CD as its first President of the 2018 session. Sri Lanka assumes the Presidency of the CD after 11 years.

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Sri Lanka welcomed as a State Party to the Anti – Personnel Mine Ban Convention

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The 16th Meeting of States Parties to the Anti – Personnel Mines Ban Convention welcomed Sri Lanka on Monday 18th December 2017 as the newly joined 163rd State Party to the Convention, following the depositing of the Instrument of Accession on 13th December 2017 in New York.

“We welcome Sri Lanka to this ever growing movement,” said H.E. Thomas Hajnoczi Ambassador of Austria and Head of the Department of Disarmament at the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs who is Presiding over the 16th Meeting of States Parties (MSP) to the Convention held in Vienna from 18-21 December 2017. The meeting also coincides with the 20th Anniversary of the signing of the Convention.

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SRI LANKA CALLS FOR A REVIEW OF THE COMPOSITION OF THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL OF THE OPCW

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Sri Lanka has called for an urgent review of the composition of the Executive Council of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), to better reflect the geographical distribution, the importance of chemical industry, and the political and security interests of Member States in the contemporary world.

Addressing the 22nd Session of the Conference of the States Parties to the Chemical Weapons Convention in The Hague, last Wednesday (29th November 2017), the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to The Netherlands and Permanent Representative to the OPCW, Mr A.M.J. Sadiq made this call while delivering the National Statement on behalf of Sri Lanka. Elaborating further, Ambassador Sadiq noted that since the establishment of the OPCW twenty years ago, there have been major positive developments of economic and geo-political significance in Asia, Africa, Latin America & the Caribbean. Today, around 84% of the world population and 73 % of Member States of the OPCW belong to these regions.

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7th Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions

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Sri Lanka participated in the 7th Meeting of the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) entered into force in August 2010, held in Geneva on 4-6 September 2017, which opened today.

The attached statement was delivered by Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha.

Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) is an international treaty that addresses the humanitarian consequences and unacceptable harm to civilians caused by cluster munitions, through a categorical prohibition and a framework for action. The Convention prohibits all use, production, transfer and stockpiling of cluster munitions. In addition, it establishes a framework for cooperation and assistance to ensure adequate care and rehabilitation to survivors and their communities, clearance of contaminated areas, risk reduction education and destruction of stockpiles.

Sri Lanka’s delegation included Major General D S Weeraman psc, Brigadier W A N M Weerasinghe RSP USP and Ms. Dulmini Dahanayake, Second Secretary of the Sri Lanka Permanent Mission in Geneva.

Full Statement

 

4 September 2017

Sri Lanka Permanent Mission

Geneva

Sri Lanka supports for a State – led formal dialogue on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) within the framework of the CCW

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Sri Lanka said that it supports the establishment of a Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS) in 2017, within the framework of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) and to elevate the dialogue on LAWS to a State –driven formal process.

 

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Sri Lanka supports convening conference in 2017 to negotiate a legally – binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons

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Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha expressing concern on the slow progress made over the decades on international multilateral nuclear disarmament efforts, has affirmed Sri Lanka’s support for the convening of a conference in 2017, to negotiate a legally – binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination. Sri Lanka further noted that the agreement on such a negotiation would ensure the fulfillment of the wish of the UN membership at large.


He made these observations during an intervention by Sri Lanka at the third and final session of the General Assembly mandated Open – Ended Working Group (OEWG) on Taking Forward Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations, held in Geneva last week. During its final plenary meeting held on 19th August 2016, the Group adopted the report by vote, and recommend to the General Assembly to convene a Conference in 2017, to negotiate a legally – binding instrument, to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading towards their total elimination. The recommendation, which will be assessed by the General Assembly, is seen as a significant step towards nuclear disarmament.

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Sri Lanka calls for collective efforts to strengthen the international law with regard to nuclear weapons

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Referring to the arguments made by some that “nuclear weapons are not illegal as per se and that the UN Charter has not excluded the possibility of using nuclear weapons in self – defense”, Sri Lanka said that such “existing lacuna in international law for not explicitly prohibiting nuclear weapons should not be taken as a cover to legitimize nuclear weapons, instead we should take it as a catalyst to work collectively in order to close the gaps and strengthen the international law.”

Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya made these remarks on 11th May 2016 at the second session of the Open – Ended Working Group (OEWG) on Taking Forward Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations, held in Geneva from 2-13 May 2016. She further added that a ‘step –by –step’ approach with an undefined ‘final stage’ tends to lose the momentum, and that any “undue delays in taking proactive actions or having to wait until a minimum threshold point is fulfilled by all nuclear possessing States, compromises the rights of States who are not relying on nuclear weapons for their security, and are being subjected to unfair risk of nuclear weapon detonations, accidental or intentional.”

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Sri Lanka says Lethal Autonomous Weapons would undermine regional and global stability

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Sri Lanka has cautioned that the potential military advantages of Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS) would risk proliferation and thereby lower the threshold of the rules of warfare, undermining regional as well as global stability. Sri Lanka also alerted on the risk of non-state actors gaining access to such weapons and the potential breach of cyber security in the autonomous technology used in weapons systems. 
 
Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha, made these observations during an intervention by Sri Lanka at a five day Meeting of Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS) within the framework of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) which commenced yesterday (11 April) at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. LAWS also commonly known as 'Killer Robots', is being broadly categorized as an emerging type of autonomous technology with potential use in lethal weapons systems, that will once activated, have the ability to select, engage, and use force at targets, without any human intervention. 
 

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Sri Lanka announces readiness to become a State Party to the Ottawa Convention

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Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha said on Wednesday (2 March 2016) that the Cabinet of Ministers earlier the same morning had approved that Sri Lanka accedes to the ‘Convention on the Prohibition of the use, stockpiling, production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on Their Destructions’, which is commonly known as the ‘Ottawa Convention’.

Ambassador Aryasinha made this announcement when he addressed the First International Pledging Conference for the Implementation of the Anti – Personnel Mine Ban Convention on the theme “Mine Free World by 2025: The Last Stretch”, held yesterday (2 March 2016) at the Palais des Nation in Geneva. The pledging conference was organised by the Office of the UN in Geneva and the Government of Chile marking seventeen years of success and calling on all parties to redouble their efforts to meet the humanitarian goals set by the Convention by 2025.

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CCW MEETING TAKES FORWARD MANDATE ON LETHAL AUTONOMOUS WEAPONS SYSTEMS AND PAVES THE WAY FOR 2016 FIFTH REVIEW CONFERENCE

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States Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons(CCW)completed a week of conferences on Friday, 13 November, where one of the key issues before States parties was Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS), which has been the subject of intense discussion over the past two years within the CCW. 
 
The meeting was chaired by Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha of Sri Lanka. 
 

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Sri Lanka says a dialogue among States should be at the center of any future discussion on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems

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 Sri Lanka has said it “wishes to see the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) move beyond, where a dialogue among States would be at the center of any future discussion on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems (LAWS), and that such a process will help in ensuring clarity on the concerns of States, as well as to create a matrix of common elements which could be derived from the debate“.
 
Addressing a dedicated discussion within the CCW agenda on Lethal Autonomous Weapons, Sri Lanka’s delegate to the Session Mrs. Mafusa Lafir, Second Secretary of the Sri Lanka Mission in Geneva, highlighted that the debate on LAWS within the CCW “is not a question of whether to ban or not to ban the autonomous technology, but a question as to what this technology should be applied to and not applied to”. She said it should be an exercise “to explore how the State Parties can take pre-emptive action on the development and the use of lethal autonomous weapons, while not affecting the much required civilian and non-lethal military use”. She noted that the concerns over the concept of ‘dual use technology’ in the nuclear field also has relevance  to the issue of LAWS and that it is important to consider safeguards that can help avoid the abuse and unintended consequences of this technology. 
 

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Ambassador Aryasinha presides over the 2015 Meeting of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW)

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Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha, presided over the Meeting of the High Contracting Parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) which opened on 12th November 2015 at the United Nations Office in Geneva. Ambassador Aryasinha was formally designated to this post in November 2014, by acclamation, succeeding Ambassador Remigiusz A. Henczel of Poland. Over the past year Ambassador Aryasinha held extensive consultations with all stakeholders, state parties, non-governmental organizations and civil society members on key issues on the agenda of the CCW, including Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS). 

In his opening remarks, Ambassador Aryasinha thanked Members for the confidence and trust placed in him and Sri Lanka to take forward the objectives of this Convention, as a clear sign of the international recognition of Sri Lanka's steadfast contribution to the field of disarmament over many decades. “Our acceptance of the Chair, in turn, was yet another manifestation of Sri Lanka's firm belief in and commitment to the UN multilateral system and the pivotal role it plays in maintaining international peace and security, notwithstanding the continued challenges it faces “ he said.
 

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Sri Lanka express its support for the reconvening of the Conference on Middle East as of Zone Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction

While underscoring the importance of establishment of Nuclear Weapon –Free Zones, as a form of mutually assuring security among members, Sri Lanka expressed its support for the reconvening of the Conference on Middle East as a Zone Free of Weapons of Mass Destruction, as decided in the 2010 NPT Review Conference.
 
Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Vienna, Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez made these observation on 8th May 2015 under the Agenda Item: Regional Issues, nuclear weapon free zones and related matters (Subsidiary Body II – Nuclear Non-Proliferation) of the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons held in New York.

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Sri Lanka reiterates its call for a total elimination of nuclear weapons

Noting the legitimate right of the countries which have given up the nuclear-weapon option under NPT to receive legally binding security assurances against the use or threat or use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances, Sri Lanka urged countries which possess nuclear arsenals to rethink their approach towards national security in such a manner that the use of nuclear weapons is not envisaged in their national security doctrines.

Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Vienna, Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez made these observation on 7th May 2015 at the Main Committee I – Disarmament of the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons held in New York.

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Sri Lanka underscores the validity and relevance of the concept of peaceful use of nuclear energy

While noting the increasing role of the nuclear energy and nuclear technology for the socio-economic development of States, Sri Lanka expressed that there should be no obstacles placed on the path to peaceful uses, subject to accepted safeguard standards. Sri Lanka also noted the importance of civil nuclear cooperation, as an important tool for realising such peaceful uses by many countries.

Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in Vienna, Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez made these observation on 7th May 2015 Main Committee III – Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy of the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons held in New York.

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Sri Lanka remains committed to make nuclear disarmament realizable

Dr Rohan Perera, PRUN/NEW York at the NPT Review Conference 2015


Sri Lanka reiterated its commitment to strive with all States and other Stakeholders, to make nuclear disarmament realizable and bring peaceful uses of nuclear technology within reach. While recognizing the inalienable right of peaceful use of nuclear technology as provided for in Article IV of the NPT, Sri Lanka also stressed the importance of shared responsibility of States to work toward eventual elimination of nuclear weapons. Sri Lanka also expressed caution on the over-emphasizing of the increasing role of nuclear security, particularly in an era where nuclear material and technology reaching the hands of non-state actors remains a distinct and dangerous possibility.


Dr. Rohan Perera, Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York made these observations on 30 April 2015, at the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). The Review Conference is being held from 27th April to 22 May 2015 at the United Nations Head Quarters in New York.

 

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Sri Lanka cautions that autonomous weapons could compel states to abandon restraint and ignite an arms race

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Sri Lanka has cautioned that "the possession of autonomous weapons by some States, combined with their possible asymmetric usages in war, may compel other States to also abandon their policies of restraint or moratorium and ignite an arms race". It has been noted that "the experience in nuclear weapons provides a useful lesson for all of us to understand the consequences of such an arm race, where even today possession itself has continued to remain a threat to regional as well as global security.

Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha, made these observations during an intervention by Sri Lanka at the Meeting of Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS), held within the framework of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) from 13-17 April 2015 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. Second Secretary Mafusa Lafir participated in the deliberations. Earlier on Monday, Ambassador Aryasinha opened the week long meeting in his capacity as the Chair – Designate of the CCW for 2015.

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Ambassador Aryasinha opens the 2015 Meeting of Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS)

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Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha, in his capacity as the Chair – Designate of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) for 2015, opened the week long 'Meeting of Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS)', held within the framework of the CCW on Monday (13th April) at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. The Convention, which 120 States are party to, seeks to ban or restrict the use of specific types of weapons that are considered to cause unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering to combatants or to affect civilians indiscriminately.

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Sri Lanka designated to Chair 2015 Meeting on the CCW

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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".

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Sri Lanka ready to share its experience in comprehensive demining as a 'best practice' with other countries

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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.

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Sri Lanka calls for international action to stem glorification of terrorism


Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha has asked that greater attention be paid in Global Counter Terrorism Strategy, to the role of terrorist support networks that take the form of front organizations, the challenge posed by the abuse of Information Communication Technology (ICT) and the propriety of the use or display of terrorist group emblems, insignia and symbols.

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