WIPO commends Sri Lanka for concrete deliverables under IP Action Plan

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The Director General of the Geneva based World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Dr. Francis Gurry, commended Sri Lanka for its achievements and concrete deliverables under the 10 Point GoSL-WIPO Intellectual Property Action Plan, which could serve as a good model for other countries similarly placed as Sri Lanka.

Dr. Gurry made these observations when Secretary of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce Mr. T.M.K.B. Tennekoon met him on the sidelines of the 35th Session of the Standing Committee on the Law of Trademarks, Industrial Designs and Geographical Indications (SCT) held from 25- 27 April 2016 in Geneva.

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Sri Lankan inventors win 2 Gold, 3 Silver and 2 Bronze Medals at the 44th International Inventors Exhibition in Geneva

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A team of 7 inventors led by Dr. Mahesh Edirisinghe, Commissioner of Sri Lanka Inventors Commission (SLIC) participated at the recently concluded 44th International Inventors Exhibition held from 13-17 April 2016 in Geneva. They have secured 2 Gold Medals with a special recognition from jury for one invention, 3 Silver Medals and 2 Bronze Medals.

Two inventors were fully sponsored by Sri Lanka Inventors Commission (SLIC), having been selected from among the Presidential Award Winners and Sahasak Nimavum Award winners while the other inventors have joined the Sri Lankan delegation on their own expenses.

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Sri Lanka integrating IP into national policy formulation with special emphasis on innovation

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Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha said a IP system has a key role to play in supporting innovation and technology, which are essential components of sustainable development. 
 
Ambassador Aryasinha made this observation to the 17th Session of the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) at the World Intellectual Property Organization on 11th April 2016 in Geneva.
 

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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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High Level Delegation Visits WEF as follow-up to Davos

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Professor Klaus Schwab, Chairman of the World Economic Forum and 
South Asia team leaders with members of the Sri Lanka delegation at the WEF Headquarters in Geneva

Following the participation of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and delegation at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos in January, a Sri Lankan delegation consisting of senior government officials and representatives from the private sector engaged in a two-day follow-up meeting at the World Economic Forum’s headquarters in Geneva. Coordinated by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva, the visit was aimed at strengthening the engagement between Sri Lanka and the WEF and to identify specific areas of engagement. The WEF, is the world leading "platform" that brings global political leaders, private sector leaders and thought leaders together to engage, discuss and deliberate and learn from each other.

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Government of Sri Lanka takes note of the Report by the SR on Minority Issues and welcomes her visit to Sri Lanka

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Sri Lanka said “Especially in the context of factually incorrect reference to Sri Lanka in the Report, we welcome the visit of the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues to Sri Lanka, as such a visit will certainly enable the Special Rapporteur to engage with all concerned in my country to obtain the factual position in this regard and accurate information which will clarify and clear misconceptions pertaining to the areas mentioned in this report”.

Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya made this intervention at the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues under Agenda Item 3 during the 31st Session of the Human Rights Council held at the Palais des Nations on 15 March 2016 in Geneva.

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Sri Lanka – Switzerland signs agreement for regular political dialogue and cooperation

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Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and Federal Councillor and the Head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland Mr. Didier Burkhalter on Thursday (03.03.2016) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on ‘Foreign Office Consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka and the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of the Swiss Confederation’, in Bern the capital of Switzerland.  The agreement would   facilitate a more stronger and regular dialogue between Sri Lanka and Switzerland.  The MoU was signed at the conclusion of an official visit to Switzerland, which was noted to be the first by a Sri Lankan Foreign Minister to Bern in 30 years. Ministers also discussed on the possibility of entering into a comprehensive partnership agreement on migration between the two countries, and agreed to pursue the proposal through technical committees from both sides. 
 
Welcoming Minister Samaraweera in Bern, Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, recalled his visit to Sri Lanka March 2015, shortly after the Presidential elections.  He affirmed Switzerland’s continued cooperation and assistance to Sri Lanka both for the ongoing activities, as well as in new areas, including in providing expertise to the process of developing the proposed models of reconciliation   by the Government of Sri Lanka. 
 

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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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Remarks by Hon. Mangala Samaraweera Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka 20th Meeting of the Governing Council of the Community of Democracies

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Remarks by
Hon. Mangala Samaraweera
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka
 
20th Meeting of the Governing Council of the Community of Democracies
Geneva, 2 March 2016
 
Recent developments in Sri Lanka
 
Secretary General
Excellencies
Ladies and Gentlemen
 
•It is an honour to be invited to the Community of Democracies, since my distinguished predecessor Lakshman Kadirgamar addressed the Inaugural Ministerial Conference of the Community in Warsaw in June 2000. 
 
•As you all know, democracy in its modern form began to take root in my country over a century ago when the basic forms of participatory democracy were introduced by the colonial government at the time. These systems evolved until, in 1931, Universal Adult Franchise was introduced in Sri Lanka, long before many other countries in the world. In 1948, with Sri Lanka becoming Independent, our Parliament was established. 
 

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The 68th Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s Independence Day celebrated in Geneva

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The 68th Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s Independence was celebrated at an event organized by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva on 6 February 2016 (Saturday) at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) New Building. Over 250 members of the Sri Lankan community attended the event.
  
Addressing the gathering, Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya, Charge d’Affaires a.i. said this solemn event was a celebration of Sri Lankan identity and the rich ethno-religious diversity that all Sri Lankans share. She noted that the Independence Day this year was celebrated at a time when the national unity government under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, “has presented to the world a Sri Lanka that is seeking to be a prosperous and peaceful nation, with equal opportunities for all its peoples, irrespective of their cast, creed or ethnicity”. Mrs. Jayasuriya, also highlighted the contribution made by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Geneva through  actively engaging with a wide range of UN and international agencies, on human rights, trade, migration, disarmament, sustainable development, intellectual property, scientific research, environment and humanitarian work, over the last year, accruing tangible benefits to Sri Lanka. In this context she commended the Sri Lankan experts who have worked and are working in these organizations for their dedication as well as for their assistance to Sri Lanka over the years, and recalling Ambassador Aryasinha’s call on expatriate Sri Lankans and organizations to help in making the 'Declaration of Peace' pledge a reality abroad in practical ways she invited the overseas Sri Lankans and their associations to continue their good efforts to promote peace, prosperity and harmony in Sri Lanka.
   

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Sri Lanka ratifies the Employment Policy Convention No. 122

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The Instrument of Ratification of the ILO Convention concerning Employment Policy C 122 of 1964 was handed over by Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva to Mr. Georges P. Politakis, Legal Adviser and Director of the Office of Legal Services of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on 3 February 2016.

Sri Lanka is the 110th ILO Member State to have ratified this priority Convention, which is included among the four standards that are the most significant from the viewpoint of governance, giving clear signal of the Government’s commitment to actively promoting full, productive and freely chosen employment, in consultation with the social partners, bilaterally as well through the Colombo Process, the grouping of Asian Contractual Labour Sending Countries, as its Chair-in-Office.

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Sri Lanka has embarked on a great mission towards achieving reconciliation - PM

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Over 2,000 world leaders and economic specialists, including Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe participated at the inaugural ceremony of the World Economic Forum at Davos in Switzerland on Wednesday (20).
 
It is the first time in history that a Sri Lankan leader attended the World Economic Forum on a special invitation.
 

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Sri Lanka expresses commitment to protect endangered wildlife species

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Minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife, Mr. Gamini Jayawickrama Perera has re-iterated Sri Lanka's commitment to protect endangered wildlife species. He said consistent with this policy, the Government had decided to destroy a confiscated blood ivory shipment on 26th January 2016 at the Galle Face Green in Colombo. The consignment consists of 359 pieces of blood ivory, equalling 1.5 tonnes.

The Minister made these remarks during his meeting with the Secretary – General of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Mr. John E. Scanlon, on the side-lines of the 66th Standing Committee meeting of CITES held in Geneva last week. Since ratification of the CITES Convention in 1979, this is the first time Sri Lanka has been represented at a Ministerial level at any meeting of this important global convention. Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Second Secretary of the Permanent Mission in Geneva Mrs. M.L.F. Mafusa, and Advisor to Minister Mr. Daniel Fernando were associated with the Minister.

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Sri Lanka selected for WIPO Project on Intellectual Property, Tourism and Culture

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Sri Lanka has been selected as one of the four pilot countries to participate in a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Project titled “Intellectual Property, Tourism and Culture.” This Project will contribute to promoting awareness of the role of IP in Sri Lanka and supporting the tourism-related economic activities of the country. Further it will enhance the scope for utilizing IP for development in a new area, under the ongoing cooperation between WIPO and GOSL through a 10 Point Action Plan.

Dr. Francis Gurry, Director General of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) communicating this decision to Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva, has informed that this selection was made pursuant to Sri Lanka’s expression of interest and formal proposal submitted to WIPO to participate in this Project in August 2015. This is the first time Sri Lanka has been selected to participate as a pilot country for a Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) Project. WIPO officials will liaise with the relevant authorities of the Government of Sri Lanka to begin project implementation early in 2016.

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Ambassador Aryasinha participates in the ‘Annual Hearing of the Holy Pope’

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Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the Holy See Ravinatha Aryasinha participated in a series of events held in connection with the Occasion of the ‘Annual Hearing of the Holy Pope’ on 11th January 2016 held at the Vatican. 83 Resident Ambassadors and other concurrently accredited non- Resident Ambassadors participated in these events. 

During an interaction with His Holiness, Ambassador Aryasinha conveyed greetings from the President and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka to His Holiness and particularly appreciated the attention the Holy Father had given Sri Lanka over the past year long period since his visit to Colombo on 13 – 15 January 2015. He also assured him of Sri Lanka’s support to his global efforts, particularly in relation to social upliftment, the environment and inter-religious dialogue.

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Multi-religious observances held to mark the First Anniversary of the assumption of the office of H.E. the President

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The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka organized multi- faith religious observances to mark the first Anniversary of the inauguration of Office of H.E. the President Maitripala Sirisena on 8th January 2016 from 8:00- 9:00 a.m. at the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Geneva

Members from the Sri Lankan community, representing Sri Lankan Associations in Geneva and the staff of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka attended this event. Multi-religious observances were conducted, invoking blessings on President Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Government and the people of Sri Lanka. Two minutes silence was observed in honor of all those who sacrificed their lives for the motherland.

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Sri Lanka says “renewed political commitment to strengthen National IHL Compliance”

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Addressing the plenary of the 32nd International Conference of the Red Cross & Red Crescent Societies today (9th) in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka in Geneva, has said “there is renewed political commitment and will in my country, to strengthen the national IHL compliance mechanism as well as on advancing measures to prevent and respond to all forms of violence including Sexual and Gender Based Violence (GBV), in a holistic manner”. He further noted that “this is reflective in the clear policy of the current administration to engage positively with the international community, including international organizations”. 
 
Ambassador Aryasinha recalling that this year marks the 50th Anniversary of the proclamation  of the fundamental principles of the ICRC, which has enabled the movement to carve out a clear identity and a distinctive role for itself, said “the guiding principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntariness, unity and universality has enabled the ICRC to be an acceptable party to intervene in situations of complex emergencies, and to win the confidence of the global community”,  including during the difficult times of the internal armed conflict in Sri Lanka. 
 

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Special UN Meeting to Commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

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The International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People was commemorated on 30 November 2015 at a Special Meeting held at the United Nations Office at Geneva.

Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva H.E. Ravinatha Aryasinha who participated at the event, presented the statement delivered by Ambassador H.E. Amrith Rohan Perera, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations and Chair of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories on the occasion of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People held on 23 November 2015 in New York.

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President Sirisena Proposes holding a Global Consultation in Sri Lanka on the Lessons Learnt in Advancing the Health of Migrants

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President Maithripala Sirisena has invited the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to host a global consultation in Sri Lanka, on the lessons learnt in advancing the health of migrants.

The President extended this invitation in a special message to a panel discussion on 'migration, human mobility and global health', held during the 106th Council Session of the IOM held in Geneva on 26th November 2015, which was read by Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva. The panel discussion was moderated by Ambassador William Lacy Swing, the Director General of IOM, while Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization was among the panelists.

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Sri Lanka's leadership of the Colombo Process commended at IOM Council in Geneva

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The Director General of International Organization for Migration (IOM) Ambassador William Lacy Swing has commended "the dynamic leadership that Sri Lanka has provided for the Colombo Process (CP) - the Regional Consultative Process on the management of overseas employment and contractual labour for countries of origins in Asia". He noted that "the outcome of the recent 3rd CP Senior Officials Meeting held in Colombo projects the prospects for further progress". Ambassador Swing in particular noted the efforts taken by Sri Lanka as a CP Chair to work closely with the Abu Dhabi Dialogue (ADD), a group of the 11 CP States and 7 labour receiving countries, in view to creating a better environment for migrants. Ambassador Swing said he intends to participate at the CP Ministerial Conference which is scheduled to be held in Sri Lanka in mid- 2016. 
 
Ambassador Swing made these observations in responding to the statement delivered by Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha during the General Debate of the 106th IOM Council, which concluded in Geneva last  Friday. 
 

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Sri Lanka’s famed pure Ceylon Tea showcased

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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, 24 November 2015 at the Palais des Nations. Organized by the United Nations Women’s Guild and Permanent Missions accredited to the United Nations in Geneva, over the years the UNWG Bazaar has become a premier event in the UN calendar, with more than 150 country’s National stalls which attracting close upon 6,000 visitors.


Proceeds from the Permanent Mission’s national stall are donated to the UN Women’s Guild’s charity account which assists in raising funds for disadvantaged children around the world annually.

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Ambassador Aryasinha calls on the Secretary for Relations with States of the Holy See

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Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the Holy See and Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha called on the Secretary for Relations with States of the Holy See (equivalent to Foreign Minister) His Excellency Archbishop Paul Gallagher at the Vatican on 18 November 2015. 
 
Ambassador Aryasinha updated Archbishop Gallagher on the political, social and economic developments that had taken place since the visit of His Holiness Pope Francis, particularly aspects pertaining to addressing democracy and human rights related concerns, as well as ensuring a permanent peace and reconciliation.

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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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Colombo Process meeting concludes with far reaching decisions aimed at ensuring skilled and safe labour migration from Asia

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Colombo, Sri Lanka – A two-day Senior Officials’ Meeting of the Colombo Process (CP) held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 4-5 November 2015 has resulted in far reaching concrete decisions and recommendations aimed at advancing collective efforts for safe and skilled labour migration management by sending countries in Asia. These include the setting up of a Colombo Process Technical Support Unit (CP TSU) in Colombo, to provide support to all the CP countries in pursuing the goals and actions set in the current thematic priorities of the CP and any other areas that the CP would agree to in the future.

Hon. Ms. Thalatha Atukorale, Minister of Foreign Employment of Sri Lanka and Chair-in-Office of the Colombo Process delivering the key note address emphasized the importance of migrant workers’ contributions to economic development in both home and host countries. She reiterated Sri Lanka's commitment as CP Chair-in-Office to work towards the well being of all migrant workers of Asia, and to leverage the support of other Regional Migration Processes, as well as regional and international groups of nations and civil societies to achieve this goal.

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