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.
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha on 2 April 2015 addressed the first in the 'Ambassador’s Luncheon Series', on "The Role of Women in Peace-building: a Sri Lankan Perspective". The event which is a follow-up to the Geneva Peace Conference that was convened last year and focussed on Asian experiences of peace building, was co-organized by the Journalist and Writers Foundation (JWF), the Dialog Institute and Geneva Press Club. Mr. Subhas Gujadhur, Director of Universal Rights Group chaired the event.
Minister of Public Order, Disaster Management & Christian Affairs John Amaratunga led the Sri Lankan delegation to the Third UN Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction held 14 – 18 March 2015 in Sendai, Japan.
In his statement the Minister highlighting the common but differentiated principle at all levels of disaster risk reduction said Sri Lanka earnestly urges the international community to increase global cooperation and partnership with a view to transfer technological know-how, financial assistance and capacity building particularly for developing countries.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mangala Samaraweera addressing the High Level segment on the opening day of the 28th Session of the UN Human Rights Council, on 2nd March 2015 in Geneva briefed the Council on developments in Sri Lanka following the presidential election on 8th January and the new Government taking office. The Minister noted the Government was committed to engage and work in cooperation with a range of international organisations and countries and seek solutions to issues through dialogue, cooperation, understanding and learning.
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha has said the special 'Declaration of Peace' pledge made at this year’s Independence Day celebration in Sri Lanka was an important reminder of the concerted efforts being made in the country to seek reconciliation and to ensure that we do not repeat mistakes of the past. He said the challenge before expatriate Sri Lankans, was to consider ways and means of making the 'Declaration of Peace' pledge a reality abroad in practical ways. He particularly urged Sri Lanka related organizations abroad, to play a catalytic role in furthering the objectives of unity, amity and reconciliation contained in the 'Declaration of Peace' in all their work.
Mr. Jayantha Dhanapala, Senior Advisor on Foreign Affairs to the President of Sri Lanka visited Geneva from 27th – 29th January 2015.
He met the High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, President of the Human Rights Council Joachim Rücker, as well as all members of the Human Rights Council in Groups.
The ceremonial opening of the Buddhist Centre in the “House of Religion” in Bern , Switzerland was held on 14th December 2014, following the opening of the “House of Religion”, which is an intercultural and interreligious centre accommodating places of worships for number of other religions including Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, etc.
The Buddhist Centre will provide an opportunity to the followers as well as the community interested in Buddhism to exchange their views on Buddhism, engage in Dhamma discourse and to practise meditation.
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha has said, in implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Global South must continue to reflect on 'how' development is done, not just 'what' is done.
He made this observation, when in his capacity as and Chairman of the Personal Representatives of G-15 , together with Executive Director of the South Centre Dr. Martin Khor, he initiated a joint consultation by the South Centre and the Group of Fifteen (G-15) on 'The state of play of the Post-2015 Development Agenda and potential opportunities for the Global South'.
Sri Lanka said “while there needs to be commitment at both national and international levels to achieve full realization of the right to development, effective international cooperation is essential to create a conducive environment to the realization of the right to development.”
Intervening during a panel discussion on “Realizing a Vision for Transformative Development: Challenges and Paths to Progress” at the commemorative event “'Sustainable Development with Dignity and Justice for All' organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on the occasion of the 28th anniversary of the 1986 United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development, held on 2nd December 2014 at Palais des Nations in Geneva, Sri Lanka highlighted that concerted and sustained efforts are needed to eliminate obstacles to the realization of the right to development, such as unequal trade relations; unsustainable debt burdens; restrictions on technology transfer, labour flow and aid; and the democratic deficit in global governance; all of which exclude developing countries from full participation within the international decision making process.
A series of initiatives aimed at boosting protection and improving conditions of employment for millions of foreign workers in the Gulf have been agreed upon at the Third Ministerial Consultative Meeting of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue (ADD) comprising Asian countries sending and receiving labour, which concluded in Kuwait last week. The 'Kuwait Declaration' noted that "recognizing that individual government's efforts may fall short, we resolve to work together to prevent and sanction exploitative recruitment practices that place workers at great risk and undermine fundamental rights".
Ministers and Heads of Delegations from Afghanistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Kuwait, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, the Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam attended this meeting, held on 26-27 November 2014 under the chairmanship of Kuwait. Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha led the Sri Lanka delegation.
On 26 November 2014, during the 105th Session of the Council of the International Organization for Migration in Geneva, Ms. Samantha Jayasuriya, Chargé d’Affaires of the Sri Lanka Mission in Geneva delivered the Group of Fifteen’s (G-15) Joint Statement on behalf of Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Chairman of the Personal Representatives of the G-15. In the statement, she drew attention to the positive impact of international migration flows in the development of countries of origin, transit and destination. In addition, she highlighted international migration should be incorporated to the global economic discourse and development paradigm, given its cross-cutting and multidimensional reality involving all areas of human rights, labor, health, economy and education.
Sri Lanka’s renowned tourist attractions and its finest teas were in focus at the National Stall set by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, Geneva at the United Nations Women’s Guild Bazaar held on Tuesday, 18 November 2014 at the Palais des Nations.
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".
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.
Sri Lanka reiterates its supports the adoption of a Declaration which would demonstrate the commitment and efforts of the international community for the promotion and protection of the rights of peasants and other people working in rural areas.
Sri Lanka made this intervention at the First Informal Consultation of the Open-ended Working Group on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas at the Human Rights Council on 12 November 2014 in Geneva.