The UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filipo Grandi, has said the UNHCR “will continue to work on, the return of those Sri Lankans that wants to return, solutions for internally displaced people and commendable work that the Government is doing for the statelessness”. The High Commissioner made this observation, in response to the national statement of Sri Lanka delivered by Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha, at the 67th Session of the Executive Committee of the UNHCR, held in Geneva this week.
Sri Lanka has called on refugee receiving countries to expedite the processes of finalizing resettlement claims and to also assist UNHCR to enhance its resource capacity, in order to overcome present difficulties being experienced in Sri Lanka on account of rapid influx of refugees/asylum seekers.
Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and CDA a.i. Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya in a statement to the 65th Session of the Executive Committee of the UNHCR on Thursday in Geneva (2 October 2014), said despite not being a signatory to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, Sri Lanka has been accommodating refugees/ asylum seekers in the country. However, during the last two years Sri Lanka witnessed an almost 700% increase in the arrival of asylum seekers/refugees, resulting in serious law & order, security, as well as health related issues for Sri Lanka. While being sensitive to the humanitarian aspects of asylum seekers/refugees, the Government has sought UNHCR’s assistance in addressing related issues including establishment of a safe house/welfare centre for identified refugees until they are resettlement, regularization of the return of asylum seekers whose claims have been rejected, expediting the resettlement process; and ensuring adequate facilities and monetary assistance provided to Asylum seekers until their claims are processed or resettlement is found. However these issues remain largely unresolved and Sri Lanka urges UNHCR to work closely with the Government to resolve these issues.
Addressing the 63rd Session of the Executive Committee of the UNHCR on Tuesday (2 October) Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha said, "those who downplay the significance of Sri Lanka's post-conflict achievements and constantly keep shifting goal posts, show disrespect not only to Sri Lanka and its international partners whose steadfast commitment to this task has made these achievements possible, but also to those who have at last emerged from the suffering caused by 30 years of terrorist conflict".
Sri Lanka is a country with an established tradition of democratic government. Fundamental rights are guaranteed in our Constitution and every organ of State is under a duty to respect, secure and advance these rights and freedoms said Hon.Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe addressing the meeting held in the UN Office in Geneva on 17 July to launch the "Humanitarian Appeal 2007: Mid-Year Review" organised by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Geneva. Hon. Minister was present at the occasion on the invitation by Mr. John Holms, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. The Mid-Year Review of the 2007 Common Humanitarian Action Plan of the UN requests the international donor community to contribute US$ 98 million towards humanitarian operations in Sri Lanka.
Let me, first of all, congratulate you for leading this important Humanitarian Affairs Segment in this year’s Substantive session of the ECOSOC and express sincere appreciation of my delegation to the Bureau and the UN Secretariat for the excellent arrangement made in preparation of this meeting.
I would like to begin with by expressing my Delegation’s sincere appreciation for the excellent work done by the UN Secretariat in preparing for this meeting. At the same time I thank you in leading the efforts of this important Humanitarian Affairs Segment in this years’ substantive Session of ECOSOC.