Exercising its Right of Reply on statements made regarding the arrest and detention of Ms. Balendran Jeyakumari and the detention of Mr. Ruki Fernando and Father Praveen, the Government of Sri Lanka detailed to the Human Rights Council today (18th March 2014), the sequence of events preceding this action. Sri Lanka said Ms. Jeyakumari was placed under arrest on suspicion of aiding and abetting K.P. Selvanayagam a.k.a. ‘Gobi’ who is believed to be leading the revival of the LTTE in Sri Lanka, while Mr. Fernando and Father Praveen have been detained as it has been revealed that they have been in Killinochchi engaging with persons connected to Gobi. Their questioning is continuing at present, to ascertain the whereabouts of Gobi and other related operatives.
Intervening in the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar at the 25th UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 17th March 2014, Sri Lanka reiterates its consistent position that any action taken in the promotion and protection of human rights of a country must have the consent of that country, and be based on the principles of cooperation and genuine dialogue, and on the founding principles of universality, impartiality, non-selectivity which govern the work of the Council. Sri Lanka also believes that the UPR mechanism is the appropriate platform to address the human rights situations of all countries in a uniform, objective and constructive spirit of engagement.
Minister of Plantation Industries and Special Envoy of the President on Human Rights, Hon. Mahinda Samarasinghe has said Sri Lanka’s opposition to the Resolution being moved by the US, UK and a few other countries against Sri Lanka was a fight on a matter of principle and that Sri Lanka would not compromise on it. Noting that what is happening to Sri Lanka today, could happen to any other NAM country tomorrow, Minister Samarasinghe called upon all Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) member states to continue to show solidarity with Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka intervening during the 25th Session of the Human Rights Council under Agenda Item 3: Clustered ID with the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion or Belief and the Special Rapporteur on Counter - Terrorism on 12th March 2014, said the recent sporadic attacks on religious targets are isolated incidents and there is an attempt to portray such sporadic incidents targeting places of worship as a sign of religious hatred and intolerance.
External Affairs Minister and Leader of the Sri Lankan delegation to the UNHRC in Geneva, Prof. G.L. Peiris, called on Mr. Baudelaire Ndong Ella, the President of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
The discussion focused mainly on the procedures adopted by the Human Rights Council on Sri Lanka and the need to ensure a level playing field in the dealings between the UNHRC and Sri Lanka.
Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka
09 March 2014
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, has said "the draft resolution on Sri Lanka deposited with the Human Rights Council by a core group comprising - the USA, UK, Mauritius, Montenegro and Macedonia, violates the constitutional provisions of Sri Lanka, is highly intrusive in nature and is in breach of the sovereignty of the Sri Lankan people and the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka". "In being politicised and in clear contravention of accepted principles of conduct in the Council", he said, "the resolution sets a bad precedent, and can in the medium-to-long term have an adverse impact on all developing countries in the Council".
Sri Lanka has expresses its strong reservations on the misplaced reference in the Annual Report to the Secretary General’s Internal Review Panel (IRP) report on Sri Lanka including provision of link to the report in a footnote, in the context of prevention. We note however that the report relevant to the subject at hand is ‘the Rights Up Front’ plan of action, to which report, surprisingly, no such link is provided. The ‘Rights Up Front’ plan of action is not meant to be retroactive but forward looking. Regrettably, the misplaced attention paid to the IRP report, which is neither endorsed by the intergovernmental process nor based on credible sources and information, can only be construed as yet another attempt to politicise the situation of Sri Lanka in the Council.
Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka
External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris has said, the highly prejudiced actions taken by a few countries and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to give disproportionate negative attention to Sri Lanka, has made the separatist Tamil elements in Sri Lanka and abroad more intransigent, making the intensely difficult task of reconciliation in Sri Lanka, even harder. He said it was unfortunate that Sri Lanka has become a “political football” in the electoral fortunes in some countries.
Minister of External Affairs and Leader of the Sri Lanka delegation Prof. G.L. Peiris, delivering the National Statement at the High Level Segment of the 25th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva today (5 March 2014), rejected the Report of the High Commissioner in its entirety, saying it was fundamentally flawed and disregarded the substantial progress made by the Government during the five years which have elapsed since the end of the thirty year conflict against terrorism. He said it also pays scant regard to the complexities and local nuances of a sensitive reconciliation process, while eroding confidence of the people of Sri Lanka by the constant changing of unjustifiable demands. Moreover, they persist in an attitude which is clearly disproportionate to the circumstances and inconsistent with the treatment of comparable situations. It is much to be regretted that the High Commissioner’s Report and those who exalt its virtues only seek to inflict harm on the reconciliation process by bringing about a polarisation of the Sri Lankan society.
The Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) has rejected the call by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navnanethem Pillay's "to establish an international inquiry mechanism to further investigate the alleged violations of IHRL and IHL and monitor any domestic accountability process in Sri Lanka", saying "it gives scant or no regard to the domestic processes ongoing in Sri Lanka within the framework of the LLRC NPOA, and is politicized in premise". The government said, the trajectory that has emerged with regard to the recommendation of the High Commissioner "reflects the preconceived, politicized and prejudicial agenda which she has relentlessly pursued with regard to Sri Lanka", since just a week following the defeat of terrorism in Sri Lanka, on 26th May 2009 at the 11th Special Session of the UNHRC on Sri Lanka, and at subsequent sessions and reports. It is noted that the reference in the current report that “the High Commissioner remains convinced” for an “independent, international inquiry” demonstrates her persistent efforts against Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka said, "it is pertinent to question the factual basis for the High Commissioner’s initial formal call to the HRC for an independent, international investigation in May 2009 and its continuation, in order that the international community not be misled".
His Holiness Pope Francis met Sri Lankans at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome in a special audience he offered to the migrant Sri Lankans living in Italy on 8 February 2014. Addressing the congregation of some 15,000 Sri Lankans at the invitation of His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, and referring to the invitation to visit Sri Lanka, Pope Francis said "I accept it and believe the Lord will give us this grace".
The Sri Lankan community resident in Geneva and the environs came together on Saturday (1 February 2014) to celebrate Sri Lanka's 66th anniversary of independence at an event organised by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva at the ILO premises. With over 250 Sri Lankans under one roof, the event was testimony to the country's rich and multi-faceted heritage.
Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, Ravinatha Aryasinha has stressed the need for strong political will to overcome the differences among Member States in order to reach a timely conclusion of a legally binding international instrument to protect Genetic Resources (GRs), Traditional Knowledge (TK) and Traditional Cultural Expressions (TCEs). Ambassador Aryasinha said such an instrument would prevent the misappropriation of intellectual property relating to GR, TK and TCEs in a fair and balanced manner, and offer the necessary protection to the human and natural resources that would bring considerable benefits to the people of the developing world. He underlined the need to strike the right balance between the rights of creators and holders of GRTKF on the one hand, as well as the interests of users on the other.
Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga who briefed Permanent Representatives to the United Nations in Geneva at the Palais des Nations on Tuesday (21st January 2014) on ‘Progress in the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka’, has said the Government of Sri Lanka has done all that was humanly possible to implement the recommendations of the National Plan of Action on the implementation of the LLRC, since its approval by the Cabinet of Ministers in July 2012.
Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion and Welfare Dilan Perera met with his counterpart, Secretary Labour and Employment Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz of the Philippines on Monday 6 January in Manila. The areas for collaboration discussed at the meeting included pre-departure orientation, qualification recognition process, comprehensive information orientation programmes and recruitment standards.
Minister Perera and Secretary Dimapilis-Baldoz met in their respective capacities as the current chairs-in-office of the two Regional Consultative Processes on the management of overseas employment and contractual labour in Asia, the Colombo Process and the Abu Dhabi Dialogue, respectively. Sri Lanka assumed the chair of the Colombo Process, comprising 11 countries of origin in Asia, last October in Geneva. CP comprises Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam, while ADD has a membership that includes all CP members, and additionally receiving countries Bahrain, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.
The G-15, a Summit level Group of 17 developing countries currently chaired by Sri Lanka, in a Joint Statement at the WTO’s 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia on Thursday (5 December), called "for a fresh impetus for an early conclusion of the DDA with a development-oriented outcome and also emphasizes the importance of the accession to WTO by developing countries, particularly the LDCs".
Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Chairman of the Personal Representatives of the Group of Fifteen (G-15) has said the group recognizes the need to address international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner, premised on the developmental paradigm of migration that is sensitive to the national circumstances of countries of origin, transit and destination and one that seeks to maximize the mutually beneficial nature of international migration while reducing its negative effects. He said the G-15 was committed to work together at both the regional and international level for the protection of migrants, and believed that the IOM should continue to play a lead role in discussions relating to the post-2015 development agenda on issues concerning migration.
Ambassador Aryasinha made these observations when he delivered a joint statement at the 103rd Council of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) held in Geneva, on 28 November 2013, on behalf of G-15, a Summit Level Group of Developing Countries comprising 17 member States - Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
Minister of Foreign Employment Promotion & Welfare Dilan Perera has said Sri Lanka which recently assumed the Chairmanship of the Colombo Process - the Regional Consultative Process on migration, will do its utmost to share its experience and bring together the eleven countries and nine observer countries of this group to address common interests, including the mismatches between supply and demand and applying ethical concepts to foreign employment management. He said Sri Lanka will also play its full part in developing the post 2015 Millennium goal development architecture, emphasizing on Migration and Development.
Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Chairman of the Personal Representatives of the Group of Fifteen (G-15), has urged WIPO to take measures to promote South-South Cooperation in the field of Intellectual Property for Development. He said that “WIPO should act as a catalyst to increase triangular cooperation between developing countries and LDC’s, through initiatives to identify best practices in the use of intellectual property for, inter alia, technology transfer, public health, food security, and other global challenges in which intellectual property has an important role to play".
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.