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.
Full text of the Statement
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.
Full text of the Statement
Sri Lanka made an intervention at the Clustered ID with the WG on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances & the SR on Freedom of Religion or Belief on 06th March 2013. The Statement was delivered by Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, Ms. Manisha Gunasekera.
Full text of the Statement
Sri Lanka made an intervention at the Annual Discussion on Human Rights and Persons with Disability on 06th March 2013. The Statement was delivered by Mr. Madhuka Wickramarachchi.
Full text of the Statement
Sri Lanka made an intervention at the Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, on 05 March 2013. Ms. Manisha Gunasekara, Deputy Permanent Representative delivered the statement on behalf of Sri Lanka.
Full text of the Statement.
Sri Lanka made an intervention at the clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteurs on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism and the WG on Arbitrary Detention, on 05th March 2013. The Statement was delivered by Deputy Solicitor General Buwaneka Aluwihare.
Full text of the Statement.
Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, addressing the Conference on Disarmament (CD) on Tuesday (05 March 2013), expressed the disappointment of Sri Lanka over the failure of the CD to reach consensus on its Programme of Work. He urged Member States to make concerted efforts to reach an early agreement on the Programme of Work. Ambassador Aryasinha highlighted that Nuclear Disarmament remains the highest priority of Sri Lanka in the work of the CD and that its international treaty obligations undertaken in the field of Disarmament are an indication of the country’s commitment to the elimination of the threat posed by nuclear weapons. Emphasizing the need to reach an early agreement on a universal, unconditional and legally binding instrument to assure non-nuclear weapon states against the use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, Ambassador Aryasinha said it is imperative to start negotiations for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons with a specific time frame.
Full text of the Statement
The Government of Sri Lanka strongly protests against the efforts by the organizers of this event – Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Festival du Film et Forum International sur les Droits Humains (FIFDH), to use the UN premises for the screening of this film “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka”. Sri Lanka also strongly protests the perception that has been sought to be created in the public mind, through pro-LTTE websites, as well as by duping even better known media organs such as even the International Herald Tribune, which yesterday in an article quoted the Director of this film Mr. Callum Macrae as saying that the film “would be screened at the 22nd Session of the Human Rights Council now underway in Geneva, where the United States plans to introduce a resolution asking Sri Lanka to investigate the allegations of the war crimes by its army”.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has disassociated itself from the screening of the Channel 4 film “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” organized by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and FIFDH to be held on Friday (01 March 2013) in Geneva at the UN premises.
In response to a protest lodged by Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha last Monday, which was followed up with a meeting on Tuesday, the President of the UN Human Rights Council Ambassador Remigiusz A. Henczel in a letter dated 27 February 2013, has observed that such events “do not reflect an official position of the Council”.
Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Plantation Industries and Special Envoy of H.E. the President of Sri Lanka on Human Rights, Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation, today (27th February 2013) delivered the National Statement at the High Level Segment of the 22nd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Full text of the speech.
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Exercising a ‘right of Reply’ to a statement made by Ms Esther Brimmer, US Assistant Secretary of State for international organisations during the High Level Segment of the 22nd Human Rights Council today ( 26 February 2013), Ms. Priyanga Wicremasinghe, Counsellor of the Sri Lanka Permanent Mission in Geneva said, “Sri Lanka should be encouraged in its reconciliation process, rather than being singled out for any disproportionate attention in this Council”. She said, “it is especially so, at a time when having overcome a 30-year long terrorist conflict, as well as having averted what many feared would be a ‘humanitarian catastrophe’, Sri Lanka is implementing a comprehensive process of reconciliation involving all communities based on the National Action Plan on the implementation of the recommendations of the LLRC”.
Sri Lanka has re-emphasized that the promotion and protection of human rights as enshrined in the Vienna Declaration & Programme of Action (VDPA) should be carried out in conformity with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and norms governing international relations.
Intervening during a high level panel on VDPA on the opening day of the Human Rights Council's 22nd Session, Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Representative Manisha Gunasekera said, “Sri Lanka recalls that the promotion and protection of human rights as enshrined in the VDPA should be carried out in a spirit of cooperation, mutual respect and dialogue, and in conformity with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and norms governing international relations.” “Sri Lanka therefore believes that the VDPA with its emphasis on cooperation and dialogue, continues to maintain its relevance, now more than ever, and we look forward to working with the Council to further enhance its effective implementation in the forthcoming years”, she added.
Sri lanka has lodged a formal protest against the screening of the latest Channel 4 documentary film “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” organized by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and FIFDH at the Palais de Nations in Geneva on 1st March 2013. In a letter addressed to Ambassador Remigiusz Achilles Henczel, President of the Human Rights Council, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ravinatha Aryasinha said “Sri Lanka views this film, as well as the timing of its broadcast as part of a cynical, concerted and orchestrated campaign that is strategically driven, and clearly motivated by collateral political considerations”.
The newly appointed Sri Lankan Ambassador to the World Trade Organization (WTO), Mr. Nimal Karunatilake presented his credentials to Director General of the WTO, Mr. Pascal Lamy on 13th February 2013.
Having welcomed the new Ambassador, Mr. Lamy provided him with a brief update on the state of play in the Doha Round of Trade Negotiations, which is commonly known as the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), with special emphasis on areas where the WTO Members have been able to achieve considerable progress in consensus building.
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha has called on Sri Lankans living abroad "to contribute towards moderating the negative narratives propagated against Sri Lanka – by clarifying genuine concerns and debunking the falsehoods".
The Ambassador made these observations when he addressed the 65th Independence Day celebrations attended by Sri Lankans living in Geneva and surrounding cities, held last week at the ‘ILO Headquarters in Geneva'. The event organized by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Geneva, and attended by around 250 members of the Sri Lankan community, showcased Sri Lanka's religious & cultural diversity.
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha, who is concurrently accredited to the Holy See, presented his credentials to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI on the 13thof December 2012 at a ceremony held at the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican.
Addressing the 101st Council Session of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Geneva on Friday (30 November),Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha has observed that emphasis by the international community that Sri Lanka is now free from the dangers that constrained it during the time of the conflict, has been an important factor for those who left the country as refugees during the time of the conflict to return, with the joint assistance of the host countries, and organizations such as the IOM. However, at the same time illegal people-smuggling rings continue to rob families not only of their hard earned savings, but some times even their loved ones. Noting that the IOM, as well as a number of foreign governments, have in recent months acknowledged that the many Sri Lankans who continue to arrive on foreign soil illegally, are in fact economic migrants and not refugees, Ambassador Aryasinha said Sri Lanka remains committed to work with international partners toward raising awareness as to the dangers relating to illegal migration, with a view to end such practices. Full text of statement is attached.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay chaired a meeting on 29th November 2012 at the Palais des Nationsin Geneva to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
Sri Lanka's renowned tourist attractions and its finest teas were in focus at the United Nations Women’s Guild Bazaar held on 21 November 2012 at the Palais des Nations, organized by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka accredited to the United Nations in Geneva with assistance from representatives of Sri Lankan Airlines from around Europe. The Sri Lanka national stall also offered tea for sale, while the Guild’s second prize this year included 2 return air tickets to Sri Lanka from Ethihad Airways with a 6 day stay at the luxurious Sidhaleppa health spa. Proceeds from the Permanent Mission’s national stall were donated to the United Nations Women’s Guild’s charity account which assists in raising funds for disadvantaged children around the world. Over the years, the Bazaar has become a premier event with the international community, attracting close upon 6 000 visitors.
WELCOME ADDRESS BY AMBASSADOR RAVINATHA ARYASINHA, CHAIRMAN OF THE PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVES OF THE GROUP OF FIFTEEN IN GENEVA
G-15 Workshop on Best Practices in Renewable Energies,
Dakar, 5-7 November 2012
Distinguished Participants, honourable guests from the Government of Senegal, esteemed colleagues from G-15 Missions in Dakar and faculty members of the University of Dakar. It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the first Workshop on Renewable Energies in Senegal organized by the Group of Fifteen.
You may be aware that the G-15 is a Summit Level Group of Developing Countries headquartered in Geneva. The Group presently has 17 member countries, including Senegal, from Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean regions of the world. Established in 1989 the G-15 has organized 14 Summits in which our Presidents and Prime Ministers have met in a demonstration of solidarity to discuss a wide range of global economic, social and political issues, particularly those affecting the welfare of the people inhabiting the developing world. As a founding member of the Group, Senegal was the gracious host of the Third G-15 Summit held in Dakar in 1992.
Welcoming the participants of the G15 Workshop on Best Practices in Renewable Energies held in Dakar, Senegal from 5-7 November 2012 Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Chairman of the Personal Representatives of the Group of Fifteen, recalled the establishment of the Group of Fifteen (G15) and its Summits as a demonstration of solidarity to discuss a wide range of global economic, social and political issues, particularly those affecting the welfare of the people inhabiting the developing world. He also highlighted that an important endeavour of the Group of Fifteen has been to implement South-South cooperation projects in member countries which could bring direct benefits to the people. He believed that the Workshop on Renewable Energies, as a part of G-15 technical cooperation projects which have been implemented by the Group, will also achieve its objective of enhancing the skills, knowledge and technical capabilities of all the participants.
Minister of Plantation Industries and Special Envoy of the President on Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe addressing the concluding session of Sri Lanka's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group in Geneva on Monday (5 November 2012), appreciated the interest shown by the 98 countries that made interventions during the Review on 1 November 2012. Referring to the outcome document adopted which summarized the comments made by the participating countries (attached below), Minister Samarasinghe said most speakers had commended the progress made by Sri Lanka in the short time since the end of the separatist conflict, while others who registered concerns, had also acknowledged the positive developments in the country.
A photographic exhibition titled “Sri Lanka; Facets of Post Conflict Development” was held in the entrance hall to the Human Rights Council Chamber at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 1 – 5 November 2012. It portrays the rapid political, economic and socio-cultural developments that have taken place in the Northern and the Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka since the ending of the terrorist conflict in May 2009.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Sri Lanka took place this afternoon at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva , amidst Member States and Observers of the Human Rights Council. The country’s opening Statement was delivered to the Council by Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Plantation Industries, Special Envoy of the President on Human Rights and Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation.