Only one week after her return from the 13th Session of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XIII) in Doha, where she was elected by acclamation as an Asian Vice-Chair of the Conference and member of the Bureau, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam, was unanimously re-elected, also by acclamation, and in the presence of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, for a second term as Chairperson/Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council Working Group on the Right to Development. The Working Group, which opened its 13th Session today in Geneva, is composed of all UN member States, including also Political Groups (NAM, OIC, EU, African Union) and Regional Groups (Africa, Asia, Latin America/Caribbean, Western Group, and Eastern Europe) represented in the United Nations.
The inventions of Dr S.J.B Lenadora and Mr Dinesh Katugampala took the forefront at the ‘Inventions Geneva’ Exhibition, winning prestigious Gold and Silver medals at the event. ‘Inventions Geneva’ which is the 40th International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva, is considered to be one of the most important in the world. With 46 countries, represented by 789 exhibitors showing 1’000 inventions, it was open to visitors from all across Europe.
Friday, 23 March 2012
At the end of the 19th Session of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam, taking the floor under the concluding general segment, affirmed that the US resolution against Sri Lanka constituted a negative precedent that challenged the core values of the Human Rights Council, and reflected a blatant case of politicization that ‘takes the Council hostage to the hidden agendas of the mighty’.
My delegation recalls Resolution A/HRC/S-11/2 adopted at the 11th Special Session on Assistance to Sri Lanka in the promotion and protection of human rights which recognizes that the promotion and protection of human rights should be based on the principle of cooperation and genuine dialogue and aimed at strengthening the capacity of Member States to comply with their human rights obligations for the benefit of all human beings, and urges the international community to cooperate with the Government of Sri Lanka in its post-conflict reconstruction efforts.
Thank you for this opportunity, as the country concerned, to outline our position in respect of the draft resolution before the Council.
Many in this Council would agree that Sri Lanka has been a role model of, consistently and unambiguously, engaging with everyone in the Council; not just on this occasion but over the years. This engagement has been voluntary and was not restricted to a period in the aftermath of the conflict, but occurred even during the height of the long-drawn-out armed conflict, against one of the worst manifestations of terrorism.
Statement made by Mr Mohan Peiris under the thematic discussion on “Sharing of best practices and promoting technical cooperation: paving the way towards the second cycle of the universal periodic review”
We have been repeatedly reminded that the promotion and protection of human rights should be based on the principle of cooperation and genuine dialogue and aimed at strengthening the capacity of member states to comply with their human rights obligations for the benefit of all human kind. It urges States to cooperate with Governments in that process.
In an unanticipated and impromptu right of reply at the Human Rights Council, Professor Rajiva Wijesinha pointed out that Amnesty International was part of the ‘band wagon’, that is now being built up. Recalling that Sri Lanka does not usually reply within the Council to nongovernmental organizations, Professor Wijesinha, said that he believed that a special exception needed to be made for Amnesty.
Amidst Sri Lanka’s active engagement within the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam, in her capacity as Chairperson-Rapporteur of the United Nations Working Group on the Right to Development, presented to the Council, the Report of the Working Group.
Drawing on the importance of the Declaration on the Right to Development, Ambassador Kunanayakam reminded the Council of the Declaration’s modernity and relevance in the context of today’s global challenges. Pointing out that she had on several occasions, affirmed the continued validity and modernity of the right to development, in the context of the economic, social, political, and ecological crisis, she further said that the situation at hand served as a reminder of the urgent need to make progress in the realization of the right to development.
Taking the floor under the general debate of Item 3 (Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development), Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam affirmed that if the ‘Council is to remain credible, it must give equal attention to economic, social and cultural rights as to civil and political rights; to the collective dimension as to the individual dimension; to the international as to the national.’ She regretted that more than 25 years after the adoption of the Declaration on the Right to Development and the consensus achieved, obstacles were still being placed in the way of its implementation, depriving developing countries of their right to determine the type of society in which this inalienable right can be realized.’
In a wide ranging interview H.E. Tamara Kunanayakam, Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, explained the motivations of the West and mostly the United States for pushing a resolution against Sri Lanka: “What, in fact, are the US trying to tell us with their draft resolution? They are not saying that our LLRC report is bad. They are not saying that there is gross and systematic violations of human rights in Sri Lanka. What they are saying is that they don’t have confidence that we will implement the recommendations. […] They are judging our intentions, not the ground reality! This is unacceptable to most countries, because it gives a role to the Council that was never intended. Moreover, there is a general feeling that Sri Lanka is being punished for cooperating.”
Taking the floor during the clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on adequate Housing, Deputy Solicitor General – Mr Shavindra Fernando, presenting the Sri Lankan statement, pointed out that some information contained in the Report of the special Rapporteur, was not accurate. ‘the information provided in the Report of the Special Rapporteur is perhaps a misappreciation of legal provisions with regard to the ownership of land’ he said.
Following the clustered Interactive Dialogues with the Special Rapporteur on torture and Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, Senior Advisor to the cabinet of Ministers, Mr Mohan Pieris took the floor, informing the Council of constitutional and legislative measures against torture, effective in Sri Lanka and further pointed out the importance of knowing the difference between true Human Rights Defenders and those who masquerade behind the ‘cloak of human rights defender’ in their execution of collateral agendas.
Statement made by H.E Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam,Sri Lankan Permanent Representative to the United Nations during the Interactive Dialogue with the High Commissioner on her Annual Report (Agenda Item 2)
Addressing the Human Rights Council under Agenda Item 2, H.E Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam highlighted that a dangerous precedent was once again sought to be established by way of a debate on the recommendations of a domestic process. Referring to the High Commissioner of Human Rights’ reference to Sri Lanka, Ambassador Kunanayakam recalled that the LLRC Report reflected the emblemic parameters of rule of law strategies, which have been earnestly taken note of by the Government of Sri Lanka for implementation. Ambassador Kunanayakam further asserted that ‘What concerns us and our people is the insidious attempt to selectively target Sri Lanka that seeks to set at nought our post conflict resurgence.’
In a persuasive right of reply to the Statement made by U.S Under Secretary of State, Maria Otero, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador/Permanent Representative Tamara Kunanayakam warned the Human Rights Council that the hypocrisy and double standards displayed by the United States in its treatment of countries such as Sri Lanka would, if encouraged, gravely affect the credibility of the Council and undermine its legitimacy.
Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe reminds the Human Rights Council to ensure adherence to cardinal postulates of universality, objectivity and non-selectivity in the consideration of issues in the promotion and protection of human rights.
Hon Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council with a powerful message during the High-Level segment of the 19th Session, in Geneva. Minister Samarasinghe, the Special Envoy of the President on Human Rights and Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation, outlined the effective developments taking place within Sri Lanka, and reiterated the Government’s commitment toward the reconciliation process. While emphasising the fact that ‘action initiated in the promotion and protection of human rights in a member State, must have the consent of that State and be based on the principles of cooperation and genuine dialogue’, he further went on to say, that today, there were good examples of instances where this cardinal principle had been violated, and ‘where even the application of a multiplication of special initiatives has nevertheless failed to establish peace’. He rightly pointed out that this had only contributed to exacerbating and at times externalising conflict situations.
Given below is the text of a communication issued today, by the Sri Lankan Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam, which rejects a misleading and unethical communication sent out to Missions in Geneva by the Permanent Mission of the United States, and exposes manoeuvres to deceive the Human Rights Council.
Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam, who is concurrently accredited to the Holy See, presented her credentials to His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI at a ceremony in the Vatican on 15th December 2011, in the presence of His Eminence Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State of the Holy See, and other high officials of the Vatican.
Non-resident Ambassadors from the following 10 countries also presented their credentials at the ceremony: Pakistan, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Guinea Bissau, Switzerland, Burundi, Mozambique, Kyrgyzstan, Andorra, and Burkina Faso.
Statement by the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka:Special Session of the Human Rights Council, 02nd December 2011 Human Rights Situation in the Syrian Arab Republic
Delivered by: H.E. Tamara Kunanayakam, Amabassador/Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations and other International Organizations
Sri Lanka wishes to reiterate its position articulated at the 17th Special Session of the Council on the Human Rights Situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, that no action be initiated by the Council in contravention of the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and the Declaration of Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation Among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, adopted by the UN General Assembly resolution 2625 (XXV) of 24 October 1970.
Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam affirms:” There is no single model of development valid for all peoples, at all times”
The right to development is a universal and inalienable human right, an integral part of our human heritage, which is as much a prerogative of States as it is of individuals.
Speaking at an event to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Declaration of the Right to Development organized by the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organisation of Islamic Countries and the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam, as Chairperson/Rapporteur of the United Nations Working Group on the Right to Development, reminded the international community that the Declaration recognizes “the human person, both individually and collectively, as the central subject of development” and that “there is no single model of development valid for all peoples, at all times. The realization of the right of peoples and States to determine their own economic, political, social and cultural systems, without externally imposed conditionalities, is a prerequisite for the realization of all other human rights”.
47th Session of the UN Committee Against Torture Consideration of the Combined 3rd and 4th Periodic Reports on Sri Lanka Introductory Statement by the Leader of the Delegation of Sri Lanka
Mr. Mohan Pieris, President’s Counsel, Former Attorney General, Senior Legal Advisor to the Cabinet on Legal Affairs Geneva, 8th November, 2011
Mr. Chairman and Distinguished Members of the Committee,
My delegation and I are pleased to be associated with the examination of Sri Lanka’s combined 3rd and 4th periodic Report under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment covering a period which has presented the Government and people with unprecedented challenges. A thirty-year terrorist conflict compelled the State to assume, during all of those years, an expanded and formidable task of maintaining national security, law and order. In these challenging years, the State also pursued an ambitious national development Plan with an emphasis on economic and infrastructure development that sought to enhance the quality of life of its people. The pursuit of peace saw the Government engaging in negotiations with a terrorist movement acknowledged as the most ruthless in the world, which over time lost its credibility as one which had a sincere desire for peace. Finally, in May 2009, terrorism was defeated and the task of rebuilding a fractured nation commenced. Sri Lanka’s Report is presented highlighting the manner in which its obligations under the Convention were sought to be honored during this challenging period.
Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam tells the Human Rights Council that the trend of ‘Might is Right’ needs to be discouraged at all costs
Statement Delivered by Ambassador H.E Tamara Kunanayakam, regarding the deferral of the Draft Resolution ‘Transparency in Funding and Staffing of the OHCHR’, during the final day of the 18th Session of the Human Rights Council.
Tamara Kunanayakam, Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, has been elected as a Vice Chair representing the Asia Group of the Trade and Development Board (TDB) of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) at its 58th Session held 12 – 28 September 2011 in Geneva.
Delivered by H. E. Ms. Tamara Kunanayakam, Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the United Nations
The Delegation of Sri Lanka wishes to respond to the references made to Sri Lanka by certain delegations of the Western Group.
To those who question the credibility and independence of Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, I wish to reiterate that we cannot accept such a priori judgements of our domestic mechanism even before it has had the chance to complete its work and make its findings public.
Statement by H.E. Tamara Kunanayakam,Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka During the General Debate under Item 2 at the 18th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council 12 September 2011, Geneva
You must note, however unpalatable it may be to some, that terrorism has not been allowed to rear its ugly head since 2009, in Sri Lanka. We, like many other like-minded nations, are not willing to create nurseries for terrorists wherever they may be.
Statement by Hon Mahinda Samarasinghe, M.P,Minister of Plantation Industries and Special Envoy of H.E. the President of Sri Lanka on Human Rights and Head of Sri Lanka Delegation at the 18th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council 12 September 2011,Geneva
It is my privilege to once again address this august body as head of the Sri Lanka delegation. We come here as always, Madam President, to share with the members of this Council and the other representatives of the community of nations, our experiences in overcoming the several challenges we face in the present era – an era that offers a fresh hope of a new Sri Lanka. The dawn of this new era coincided with the end of the armed conflict in 2009 just over 2 years ago. In that time, Sri Lanka, has made considerable – some may call it astounding – progress in addressing the many challenges that nearly 30 years of conflict poses to a nation, her Government and people.
“Pre-judgment of the Commission’s outcome is unacceptable and unwarranted”: Response by H.E. Tamara Kunanayakam, Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva, to media queries on the Amnesty International Report on the LLRC
Claims by Amnesty International (AI) that they have analyzed the work of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) is questionable when the final report of the LLRC is due only on 15 November 2011. It is recalled that AI in a demonstration of bad faith, refused an invitation from the LLRC in October 2010, to testify before the Commission. This would have provided an opportunity to AI to obtain first hand knowledge of the workings of the LLRC.