His Holiness Pope Francis received Secretary of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa at an audience in the Vatican on Wednesday. Mr. Rajapaksa who visited the Vatican as the Special Envoy of His Excellency the President, conveyed to Pope Francis an invitation from President Mahinda Rajapaksa to visit Sri Lanka in the near future.
During his visit, the Secretary also paid courtesy calls on dignitaries of the Vatican City State. Mr Rajapaksa appreciated efforts by the Holy See to promote world peace, disarmament, interfaith dialogue and dialogue among civilisations. He said that as a nation that has been blessed with a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural social fabric, and more importantly as a country that was coming out of a long period of conflict, Sri Lanka valued the strength that comes from the unity of the diverse communities in Sri Lanka. After almost thirty years of suffering, Sri Lanka had embarked upon a new era of development and reconciliation for all its people and looked upon the international community for encouragement and support.
The Colombo Process is a Regional Consultative Process on the management of overseas employment and contractual labour for countries of origin in Asia, which was initiated at Ministerial Consultations for Asian Labour Sending Countries held in 2003 in Colombo. The group includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam, and has met in Manila (2004), Bali (2005) and Dhaka (2011) to review and monitor the implementation of previous recommendations and identify areas for future actions. The Geneva headquartered International Organization for Migration (IOM) serves as the secretariat for the Colombo Process.
The G-15 foreign ministers, meeting on the side-lines of the General Assembly last week (27 September 2013), renewed their commitment for enhanced engagement and cooperation among themselves, as well as with the relevant Geneva-based institutions. Their primary focus was on newly emerging areas of cooperation in step with the evolving post-2015 development agenda, and they agreed to expand cooperation in four new thematic areas – information communication technology, intellectual property, migration for development and renewable energy. The Group includes Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha told the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday (25 September 2013) "Sri Lanka strongly repudiates the High Commissioner’s assertion that if certain concerns are not comprehensively addressed before March 2014, she believes the international community will have a duty to establish its own inquiry mechanisms". The Ambassador said High Commissioner Navanethem Pillay had "no mandate to make such a claim". He said having accomplished the task of bringing normalcy to the lives of the civilian population, GOSL has put in place "multiple mechanisms" to address concerns relating to accountability.
In an intervention made during the interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on Sudan in the 24th session of the Human Rights Council on 25 September 2013, Deputy Solicitor General Mr. A. H. M. D Nawaz said that, as a country that has emerged from a protracted terrorist conflict, Sri Lanka is empathetic to the many challenges faced by Sudan in its progression towards normalcy.
Sri Lanka recognized the need to address, at the global level, contemporary manifestations of racial discrimination such as xenophobia and related intolerance and reiterated its strong commitment to the core principles of equality and non-discrimination embodied in the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.
Addressing the 51st Session of the WIPO Assemblies on 23rd September 2013, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva observed that the innovations and the well-managed mechanisms for protection of intellectual property rights play a crucial role in enhancing the social and economic development of a nation.
As the world is looking beyond the year 2015 for way forward through a comprehensive development agenda, IP has a crucial role to play in enriching the lives of vulnerable sections of humanity and creating greater opportunities for growth and prosperity. Sri Lanka believes that IP is not only a tool for innovation and creativity but also an important catalyst for economic and social empowerment of a wide spectrum of people.
Exercising a 'right of reply' with regard to references made to Sri Lanka by Germany, the US and Ireland under Agenda Item 4 - General Debate at the ongoing 24th Session of the Human Rights Council, the Sri Lanka delegation on Thursday (19 September 2013) said, it seemed ironic that at a time when for the first time since the introduction of the Provincial Council system in 1987 elections to the Northern Provincial Council are to be held later this week that Germany should choose to discredit the process and prejudge its outcome and impact. It was noted that the commitment of the Government to ensure the transparent and free and fair conduct of the election not only to the Northern Provincial Council, but also to the Central and North Western Provincial Councils which go to the polls this Saturday is clearly demonstrated by the presence of 24 election observers from the South Asian region as well as from Commonwealth countries, on the invitation of the Elections Commissioner.
Full text of the statement
The Government of Sri Lanka has launched a three-year project, implemented by the Ministries of Cultural Affairs and National Heritage, to table a draft bill to safeguard the existence and rights of the indigenous people, “vanniyaletto” also known as the “aadivasi”. The project also provides legal facilities to the indigenous community, measures to conserve their traditional knowledge and traditional medicines, and support to establish a museum on their heritage, among others. In order to create greater awareness about the indigenous community, which is instrumental towards the preservation of their lifestyle, the Government has also established several cultural centres and documented the history of the community and their way of life.
H.E. Mr. Ravinatha Aryasinha, Chair of Personal Representatives/Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka delivered the Joint Statement on behalf of the Group of Fifteen (G-15) at the 60th Session of the UNCTAD held on 16 September 2013.
The Group observed that although globalization continues to serve as a powerful driver for strengthening cooperation and accelerating growth and development, it also presents risks and challenges, especially to the developing countries. The Group highlighted the critical role of UNCTAD to help reduce and eventually eliminate the trade gap between the developed and developing countries and to accelerate the rate of economic growth of the developing world. The Group commended UNCTAD for its incisive and independent economic research on global economic issues and encouraged UNCTAD to continue to support developing countries in their efforts to design and implement comprehensive, integrated and coherent national trade and development strategies and movement in the value chain.
Sri Lanka says, while there needs to be commitment at both national and international levels to achieve the right to development, there must be more focus on addressing the special needs of developing countries which are unequally impacted by structural problems, external events and global economic and financial crises.
Sri Lanka has highlighted the highlight the need to adopt "a pragmatic, context specific approach in addressing issues of transitional justice" and noted that "the approach of each state to reconciliation must be context-specific, taking into account the particularities of each state and the aspirations of its people".
Sri Lanka looks toward an objective and unbiased approach to Sri Lanka by High Commissioner Navanethem Pillay in fulfilment of her mandate, following her recent visit where she had unfettered access to asses first-hand the on-going reconciliation process in Sri Lanka. This would also enable her to be better placed to not give credence to unsubstantiated allegations of those with vested interests and agendas, largely driven by certain extreme elements in the Sri Lankan Diaspora.
Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva and Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation Ravinatha Aryasinha made this observation when he delivered the national statement at the 24th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva which opened on Monday (9 September 2013).
The exhibition will primarily focus on promoting latest technology / machinery that are useful for local industries and finding export markets for Sri Lankan products.
Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha has said politically mobilized pro-LTTE diaspora sustain hatred and prevent reconciliation in Sri Lanka and that with groups having such a pre-disposition meaningful engagement was not possible. Noting that the transnational political opportunity structures prevalent in host states help shape and sustain such diaspora activism, he observed that countries which continue to condone with the hostility and disruptive tendencies shown by such pro-LTTE elements are giving a wrong signal.
Hon. Mr. Mahinda Yapa AbeywardenaLeader of the Sri Lankan delegation, Minister for Agriculture
Hon. Mr. Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, Minister for Agriculture delivered a Joint statement on behalf of the Group of Fifteen (G-15) at the 38th Session of the Food and Agriculture Conference held in Rome from 15-22 June 2013.
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.
Hon. Gamini Lokuge, Minister of Labour and Labour Relations delivered a Joint statement on behalf of the Group of Fifteen (G-15) at the 102nd International Labour Conference on 12th June 2013 in Geneva. The Group of Fifteen raised their concern that the continuing global financial crisis resulting in uncertain economic outlook, aggravated unemployment and rising poverty levels, is hampering ongoing efforts towards achievement of the Millennium Development Goals in many developing countries particularly in Asia and Africa.