President Ranil Wickremesinghe addresses issues ranging from debt relief to climate change and bilateral relations during the World Economic Forum in Davos

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Attending the 54th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2024 in Davos, Switzerland at the invitation of its Founder and Chairman Prof. Klaus Schwab, President Ranil Wickremesinghe interacted with world political and business leaders in addressing a range of issues including debt relief, economic recovery and climate change among others.

President Wickremesinghe participated in panel discussions and roundtables covering topics varying from Sri Lanka’s economic recovery and growth to investment opportunities in Sri Lanka, and the global challenges in the multilateral arena, including climate change and mitigation.

Taking part at the Stakeholder Dialogue, organised by the WEF titled “Pulling debt back from the brink” on 17 January as a panellist, President Wickremesinghe highlighted populism, debt relief, balance of payment and budgetary challenges that all countries face. He pointed out that the expectations of the people have to be met in all countries, and that if strict rules were to be applied, all governments would collapse. Also on the panel were, Wale Edun, Minister of Finance of Nigeria , Professor Laura Alfaro of the Harvard Business School,  Professor Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard University, and Vera Songwe of the Liquidity and Sustainability Fund. The President also participated in an interactive informal gathering of world economic leaders on the topic “Restoring faith in the multilateral system” held on 17 January.

Delivering the keynote address at the Green Tech Forum jointly organized by the Swiss Asian Chamber of Commerce and the Latin American Chamber of Commerce, President Wickremesinghe highlighted the opportunities available for investing in Sri Lanka’s renewable energy sector. He also briefed the participants on the framework being established in Sri Lanka to attract green financing.

Participating in a panel organised by the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) on Leaders’ Investment Roundtable, President Wickremesinghe highlighted Sri Lanka’s climate prosperity plan and the urgent need for green climate financing for countries in the Global South. He underlined the urgent need to accelerate global action to expedite climate change mitigation efforts.  The President reiterated the need for climate justice and stronger contributions to adaptation and mitigation efforts from advanced economies.

He also briefed the Forum on the Tropical Belt Initiative launched by Sri Lanka at the COP28 in Dubai, which creates a framework for private investment in forests, energy, oceans and mangroves in the countries of the tropical belt. The participation at the WEF provided an opportunity for the President to discuss Sri Lanka’s climate justice and green tech initiatives with former Vice President of the USA and the Founder/Chairman of the Climate Reality Project Al Gore and the US Climate Envoy and former Secretary of State John Kerry.

In a meeting with the Managing Director of the IMF Kristalina Georgieva President Wickremesinghe briefed on improved macro economic indicators in the country that have resulted in positive growth.

During his visit to Davos, President Wickremesinghe also had meetings with the President of Switzerland Viola Amherd,  President of Singapore Tharman Shanmugaratnam, President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo , President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Vice President of Nigeria Kashim Shettima , Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Manet, Prime Minister of Pakistan Anwar ul Haq Kakar, Prime Minister of Mongolia Oyun-Erdene Luvsannamsrai, and the Foreign Minister of Norway Espen Barth Eide.

At the Business Roundtable jointly organized by the Board of Investment of Sri Lanka and the Swiss Asian Chamber of Commerce on 16 January, President Wickremesinghe underlined Sri Lanka’s economic recovery and stabilisation processes and highlighted the opportunities for investment notably in renewable energy, agriculture modernization, tourism, IT and infrastructure development. The President also responded to questions raised by the participants that ranged from health, education, renewable energy and banking to agriculture and manufacturing. On the sidelines of the WEF 2024, the President also had meetings with heads of multinational companies, including Maersk and Uber.

Addressing business leaders from India, at the Roundtable organized by the Consortium of Indian Industry, President Wickremesinghe highlighted the macro-economic stabilisation brought about over the past year and invited Indian companies to make use of the unique opportunities in renewable energy, infrastructure development, agriculture and tourism. The President also responded to specific queries and concerns put forward by companies that have already invested in Sri Lanka, and bilaterally followed up with a number of Indian companies including Menzies Aviation, Adani Group, Bharati Airtel and ReNew.

The 2024 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum was held under the theme `Rebuilding Trust´, and saw the participation of leaders from over 100 governments, major international organizations, global business leaders, as well as civil society, academics and experts, young change-makers, social entrepreneurs and the media.

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations

Geneva

21 January 2024

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Eleventh Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions 11 – 14 September 2023

11 09 2023 11 MSP CCM Statement
Eleventh Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions 11 – 14 September 2023

Statement by Sri Lanka

Agenda Item 8: General Exchange of Views

Thank you Mr. President,

Sri Lanka joins other delegations in congratulating you for assuming the Presidency of the Eleventh Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. I wish to assure you of my delegation’s fullest support towards a productive outcome of our deliberations. We also warmly welcome Nigeria and South Sudan as the 111th and the 112th States Parties to the Convention. This is an important step towards universalization of the Convention.

Mr. President,

As a country which has never used, developed, produced, acquired or stockpiled Cluster Munitions even during the time of a brutal terrorist conflict, Sri Lanka wishes to reiterate its strong and enduring commitment to realizing the core objectives of the Convention inter alia ‘to put an end for all time to the suffering and casualties caused by cluster munitions’.

We consider that the Convention on Cluster Munitions is a significant disarmament treaty adopted by more than half of the world in the past decade, with far-reaching obligations.

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Statement by Ambassador and Permanent Representative Himali Arunatilaka during the General Debate on Agenda Item 2 at the HRC 54, 13 September 2023

13 09 2023 General Debate HRC 54 2
54th Session of the Human Rights Council
Agenda Item 2 - General Debate 
Statement by Her Excellency Himalee Arunatilaka, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva 
13th September 2023

Mr. President,

Resolutions 60/251 and 48/141 require that the work of this Council and the OHCHR should be guided by the principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity, and constructive international dialogue and cooperation.

Unfortunately, this does not appear to be the case with regard to Sri Lanka.

One such instance in the Written Update is the reference to the investigations on the Easter Sunday Attacks of 2019. It is regrettable that the OHCHR has sought to use incorrect and unsubstantiated information from biased sources in their analysis. As Sri Lanka has repeatedly informed this Council, extensive and comprehensive investigations have been carried out by the GoSL with regard to these attacks including a Presidential Commission of Inquiry, the report of which was submitted to the Parliament. Investigations carried out by the Government authorities were assisted by international professional agencies including the Australian Federal Police, the FBI of the United States and INTERPOL.

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Sri Lanka rejects High Commissioner’s Written Update and reaffirms commitment to pursuing human rights through domestic institutions

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The written update on Sri Lanka was presented at the 54th Session of the Human Rights Council that commenced on 11 September 2023 in Geneva by the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Nada al-Nashif.

Delivering Sri Lanka´s statement as the country concerned, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador Himalee Arunatilaka at the outset reiterated that Resolutions 46/1 and 51/1 were adopted by a divided vote in the Council where the majority of the Member States either opposed or abstained from voting on these Resolutions, in fundamental disagreement with its unacceptable content, in particular the so-called evidence gathering mechanism, the establishment of which is unprecedented.

Sri Lanka rejected the written update by the High Commissioner for Human Rights titled ‘Situation of Human Rights in Sri Lanka’ together with its conclusions and recommendations, while reaffirming its commitment to pursuing tangible progress through domestic institutions.

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Statement delivered by H.E. Himalee Arunatilaka, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, at the 54th Session of the UN Human Rights Council during the Interaction Dialogue on the Report on Sri Lanka by the High Commissioner for Human Rights,

 11 09 2023 HRC54
GoSL Statement made by H.E. Himalee Arunatilaka, the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva

54th Session of the Human Rights Council:

Report on Sri Lanka by the High Commissioner for Human Rights
pursuant to HRC Resolution 51/1
11 September 2023

 Mr. President,

At the outset, let me reiterate that the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) has consistently rejected Resolution 46/1 and 51/1 that led to the setting up of the so-called ‘Accountability Project’. We also reject the written update, its conclusions and recommendations.

We recall that the majority of the Member States either opposed or abstained from voting on these Resolutions, in fundamental disagreement with its unacceptable content in particular the so-called evidence gathering mechanism, the establishment of which is unprecedented. We reiterate that it goes beyond the mandate that Member States conferred on the Council by UNGA Resolution 60/251.

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Fourth Session of the open-ended working group on reducing space threats through norms, rules, and principles of responsible behaviours, 28 Aug – 01 Sep 2023

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General Intervention by H.E. Himalee Arunatilaka, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva, on 28 August 2023

Mr. Chair,

Sri Lanka compliments the work accomplished by you as the Chair of this open-ended working group to date, based on the mandate given by General Assembly resolution 76/231. We are thankful to all Member States for their constructive engagement throughout the past sessions towards reaching a substantive outcome of this working group.

Mr. Chair,

Sri Lanka recognizes the common interest of humankind in the exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes without discrimination. Sri Lanka has been actively engaging in multilateral efforts for the prevention of an Arms Race in Outer Space (PAROS) over many decades since becoming a signatory to the Outer Space Treaty in 1967. Significantly, Sri Lanka proposed a moratorium on the testing and development of space weapons preceding multilateral negotiations on a treaty to prohibit all weapons in space in 1985.

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Proposed Sri Lanka Business Council in Switzerland

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Dear Sir/Madam,

The Sri Lanka Consulate General in Switzerland and the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Berlin concurrently accredited to Switzerland are pleased to announce our plans to establish a Sri Lanka Business Council in Switzerland (SLBCS).

The proposed SLBCS will be a non-profit organization that will bring together Sri Lankan & Swiss businesses and individuals in Switzerland to promote trade and investment between the two countries. The Council will also provide a platform for members to network, share information, and advocate for Sri Lanka's business interests in Switzerland.

We are eager to hear from you about your interest and views of the proposed SLBCS. If you would like to be involved in the establishment of the Council, please click on the link below or scan the QR code in the flyer to complete a short survey.

https://forms.gle/Y1oSzmxzV7wEuA8X8

Your feedback will help us to determine the scope and structure of the SLBCS. We will also use your feedback to identify potential members and partners for the Council.

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The Second Meeting of the Working Group on the Strengthening of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), 7-18 August 2023, Palais des Nations in Geneva

Intervention by Dr. Samiddhi Samarakoon, National Coordinator, Disaster Preparedness and Response Division of the Ministry of Health on National Inventory of Dangerous Pathogens (NIDP)

18 08 2023 Statement BWC

Thank you Mr. Chair,

I take this opportunity to brief on the background of the establishment of National Inventory of Dangerous Pathogens (NIDP) in Sri Lanka which is a key step in national implementation of the BWC. Following the Joint External Evaluation of International Health Regulations (IHR) implementation in 2017, while acknowledging the several activities that were undertaken to improve the biosafety and biosecurity in Sri Lanka, it was recommended to develop a National Inventory of Dangerous Pathogens and Toxins (NIDP) as well to further strengthen the biosafety and biosecurity in the country.

Thus, action was undertaken to develop the National Policy on Biosafety and Biosecurity, including policy statements required to satisfy the 15 Articles of the BWC; appointing two contact points including the National Coordinator, Disaster Preparedness and Response of the Ministry of Health. The Disaster Preparedness and Response Division (DPRD) of the Ministry of Health applied for extended assistance from the UNODA for implementation activities of BWC and BWC-ISU in collaboration with the National Institute of Public Health and the Environment (RVIM), of the Netherlands supported Sri Lanka to develop the NIDP. We are grateful to the Government of the Netherlands and UNODA for this assistance and the European Union (EU) for funding the project.

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The Second Meeting of the Working Group on the Strengthening of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), 7-18 August 2023 Intervention by Sri Lanka on Implementation of Biological Weapons Convention Plan

Intervention by Dr. Samiddhi Samarakoon, National Coordinator, Disaster Preparedness and Response Division of the Ministry of Health on the Implementation of Biological Weapons Convention Plan in Sri Lanka

17 08 2023 bwc statement sri lanka

Mr. Chair,

Thank you for giving me the floor. First of all, I would like to express sincere appreciation of Sri Lanka delegation for your steady stewardship of this Working Group. I also thank the ISU staff and the representatives of other international organizations for their presentations on important topics.

Sri Lanka has also been in the forefront of major initiatives in the field of disarmament and was among the very first countries to sign the BWC in 1972.

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Ambassador / Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization (WTO) of Sri Lanka Presents Credentials to the Director General of the WTO

 27 07 2023 Credential

Ambassador/ Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Mr. R.G.S Wijesekara presented his credentials to the Director General, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of the WTO on Wednesday, 27 July 2023 at the WTO Secretariat in Geneva.

During a brief meeting at the presentation of credentials, Ambassador Wijesekara conveyed the personal greetings of the Hon Minister of Trade Commerce & Food Security of Sri Lanka to the Director General. He also remarked on the ambitious regional trade reforms agenda of the Hon President that leads to better building block for our multilateral engagements. Ambassador Wijesekara also highlighted the need of 360 degree capacity building initiatives; including from the WTO for better integration of countries like Sri Lanka to the multilateral trading system.

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Opening Remarks by Sri Lanka During the adoption of Sri Lanka’s 4th Universal Periodic Review Report 10 July 2023

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Mr. President

Excellencies

Distinguished Delegates

It gives me great pleasure to present to you the final position of the Government of Sri Lanka on the recommendations received during the 4th cycle of our UPR Report.

The mechanism of the UPR marks the culmination of a long review process of the international human rights machinery. We value the fact that this mechanism provides an equal opportunity for all UN member States, without discrimination, to voluntarily share the progress made domestically to promote and protect human rights. This peer review process has contributed to reducing selectivity and politicization in our efforts to advance the cause of human rights. It enables constructive engagement on developments related to human rights with our international partners, national independent institutions, civil society, and the UN system.                                                                                                                                   

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Statement by Sri Lanka at the 64th Series of Meetings of the Assemblies of the Member States of WIPO, 06 July 2023

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Madam Chair,

Let me congratulate you on your appointment as the chair of this meeting.

Sri Lanka wishes to congratulate Director General Mr Daren Tang and the WIPO Secretariat for making all arrangements to organize this 64th WIPO General Assembly.

Sri Lanka aligns itself with the statement delivered by Indonesia on behalf of the Asia Pacific Group (APG) today and would like to reiterate the importance of ensuring balanced geographical representation in the key decision making bodies of the WIPO.

Sri Lanka has worked in close cooperation with WIPO during the past 10 years in strengthening the IP eco system and capacity building in the country. WIPO Technology and Innovation support centre project is currently being implemented successfully and we have been able to establish 27 TISC centres in the universities and Research Centres.

Enabling IP environment project an initiative by the Asia Pacific Bureau completed 6 years and the stake holder groups have now gained much awareness on IP through this project and currently much attention is given to enhancing commercialization and technology transfer. As a result a special legislation has been passed in implementing an agency to work on this area of work.

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Industry 2023, 22nd to 25th June 2023 at the BMICH

Industry exhibition 2023 BMICH

The Ministry of Industries and Industrial Development Board organized “Industry 2023”, the National Industry Exhibition with the theme of “Towards export-oriented manufacturing economy” which is the largest national industrial event in Sri Lanka. The exhibition was held from 22nd to 25th June 2023 at BMICH, in Colombo.

Please visit virtual 360 Industry Exhibition at https://vindustryexpo.idb.lk/

‘Calling for Expression of Interest’ - Establishing an International University within Colombo Port City

30 06 2023 port city

Colombo, Sri Lanka - June 12th, 2023: The Colombo Port City Economic Commission (the "Commission") would like to announce an invitation for Expressions of Interest, in line with the objectives of developing and improving the area of education, with a need to proceed with identifying possible investors for developing an International University within Colombo Port City.

The Development Control Regulations (DCR) has identified a specific plot for this purpose and similar to the requirements for investors in the School and Hospital projects, the Commission seeks an investor with a globally recognized brand and world-class standards for the International University.

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Statement by Sri Lanka at the Oral update by the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Sri Lanka during 53rd Session of Human Rights Council (21 June 2023)

21 06 2023 hrc53 oral update

Mr. President,

The Government of Sri Lanka is addressing the unprecedented social and economic issues arising from the economic crisis. Political stability has been restored while conditions on the ground have improved considerably for the people. In parallel and despite ongoing fiscal challenges, the Government is continuing its focus on the long-term measures towards reconciliation and accountability within the framework of the Constitution.

The GoSL has been successful in maintaining economic stabilization. The IMF Extended Fund Facility for Sri Lanka was approved recently, and the necessary fiscal, monetary and governance reforms are underway. Social protection measures to mitigate the impact on the poor and vulnerable have also been introduced. The availability of essential items including fertilizer, fuel, medicine and energy has been restored and headline inflation has decreased.

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Second Session of the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems, 2023 18th May 2023

Intervention on the revised draft

Mr. Chair

Thank you very much for sharing this new draft.

Even though many delegations in this room argued for strengthening of the text in order to ensure that centrality of human control is retained in AWS in order to ensure compliance with international law and IHL in particular, we are quite concerned that the text in several ways is now even further weakened to the extent that we run the risk of even previously agreed understandings are backtracked. Our concerns are mainly with paragraph 20 such as deletion of the word ‘anticipation. Which we believe is already an IHL requirement as well as concerns regarding para 21 in this regard.

Adoption of a substantive repot is important for our delegation as much as it is the same for other delegations but we believe that it should be progressive and forward looking in nature.

 

Second Session of the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems, 2023 17th May 2023

17 05 2023 cd

Thank you Mr. Chair,

Our comments at this point are with regard to paragraph 25 on legal review. It is the understanding of our delegation that legal reviews with regard to autonomous weapon systems should be inline with the already existing obligations under Art. 36 of the Additional Protocol I and that we should not in anyway agree to obligations on legal review for autonomous weapon systems that are weaker than the already existing obligations under Art,36. It is also recalled that most provisions of the Additional Protocols have gained the status of customary international law. We also note that the obligation under Art 36 of the Additional Protocol I finds its basis in article 35 of the Protocol which provides that the right of states to choose means and methods of warfare is not unlimited.

Art. 36 requires to determine whether the employment of weapons, means and methods of warfare would, ‘in some or all circumstances’ be prohibited by international law. In this sense we believe that the legal review process should consider whether the use of an AWS is in compliance with international law “ in some or all circumstance” and we therefore suggest to make this change in the text. We also support the suggestion by the Swiss delegation as well the delegation of Ireland now to delete the words “ seek to” in this section.

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“A New Chapter for Ceylon Tea”: The Sri Lankan Tea Industry Celebrates Major Gains by the Smallholder Sector despite Economic Challenges

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On the International Tea Day, the local tea industry is celebrating impressive achievements by the smallholder sector despite facing an array of unprecedented challenges posed by the economic challenges and the currency collapse.

“It goes without saying that the local tea industry has faced many demanding issues, but on this year’s International Tea Day, we want to celebrate the resilience of our smallholder tea growers, who have overcome pandemic adversity to be back on track to reach high profitability levels,” says Niraj de Mel, the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Tea Board.

“The smallholder sector has already achieved so much in terms of sustainability in the past couple of decades that is worth celebrating. This is a new chapter in the story of Ceylon Tea,” he added.

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Second Session of the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems, 16th May 2023

16 05 202 LAWS expert group

With regard to paragraph 21 on limitations we would like to state at the outset that in our view the purpose of the imposition of these limitations is to ensure ‘ meaningful human control’ in weapon systems on the premise that autonomy in weapon system cannot be unlimited. We do not agree with the argument that the limitations imposed during the stages of development, deployment and use go beyond the existing IHL requirements. To the contrary these limitations are essential to ensure meaningful human control is retained in weapon systems which would be the only way to ensure in turn that these weapon systems in compliance with IHL.

The chapeau of paragraph 21 should refer to international law and to IHL in particular since complexity of these weapon systems pose a challenge not only to IHL but to the broader regime of international law. We also request to remove the qualifier ‘where appropriate’ in this section as these limitations should be upheld at all times. We stress once again the importance of these limitations as well as the prohibitions with regard to autonomous weapon systems codified in the form of a binding legal instrument to ensure their compliance rather than “possible voluntary measures” left for the discretionary implementation of national mechanisms.

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Second Session of the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems, 15th May 2023

15 05 2023 statement

As this is the first time my delegation takes the floor, we wish to congratulate you and assures you of our full support as we approach the final stage of this year’s GGE which we believe marks a significant turning point on the future direction on the issue of regulation of the use of autonomy in weapon systems.

In this light we commend the significant efforts you and your team have put on in presenting the draft report of the 2023 session which we consider as a good basis to commence our work for this session.

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Sri Lanka and Thailand join hands to celebrate International Day of Vesak at the UN in Geneva

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The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva together with the Permanent Mission of Thailand co-hosted a commemorative event to mark the International Day of Vesak at the United Nations Office in Geneva (UNOG) on Vesak Full Moon Day, 5th May 2023.

The event commenced with opening remarks by co-hosts, Ambassador Himalee Arunatilaka of Sri Lanka and Ambassador Suphatra Srimaitreephithak of Thailand, highlighting the importance of the day of Vesak to millions of Buddhists around the world.

Ambassador Arunatilaka underlined the key role played by Sri Lanka in gaining international recognition for the Day of Vesak through the resolution adopted by consensus in the UN General Assembly in February 2000, following a proposal tabled by then Foreign Minister, the late Lakshman Kadirgamar, on behalf of 10 countries, titled “International Recognition of the Day of Vesak”.

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The World Health Day Message 'Health for All'

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The World Health Day Message
'Health for All'

For the past seven and a half decades, ‘World Health Day,’ has been observed on 7th April under the sponsorship of the World Health Organization (WHO), with the overall objective of raising global awareness on physical and mental health, as well as people's well-being, in a bid to enhance public health conditions. This year’s commemoration is of an augmented significance, with the WHO celebrating its 75th anniversary on the same day. My warm felicitations to Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General and the officials, especially the Representative to Sri Lanka, on this auspicious occasion.  

This event presents the possibility for the WHO and others working on overall health issues to be recognized for their selfless service, as well as to seek additional ways and means of extending improved healthcare nationally, regionally and globally. It is undoubtedly a juncture for the WHO to take stock on its successes and strategies on facing challenges to ensure good health universally.  

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Sri Lanka participates in the 6th Periodic Review under the ICCPR in Geneva

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Sri Lanka participated in its 6th Periodic Review under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) on 8 and 9 March 2023in Geneva.  The Review was conducted in a hybrid format, during three 2-hour sessions over two days by the Human Rights Committee. The preparations for the Review were led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the past several weeks and included participation by a number of government agencies.

The Human Rights Committee is a body comprised of 18 independent experts that monitor the implementation of the ICCPR. The Reviews of all States Parties to the Covenant are conducted by the Committee. In addition to Sri Lanka the Committee also reviewed Egypt, Turkmenistan, Zambia, Peru, and Panama during its 137th Session from 27 February to 24 March 2023.

In her opening statement, the Head of the Sri Lanka Delegation Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Himalee Arunatilaka, said that since the submission of Sri Lanka’s 6th Periodic Report in 2019, many significant developments in the country have taken place, including the enactment of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, further strengthening democratic governance through the Constitution, Regulation of Election Expenditure Act, amendments to the Prevention of Terrorism Act and drafting of anti-terrorism legislation, reconciliation through independent domestic mechanisms, convening of an  All Party Conference, establishment of a Cabinet Sub-Committee on Reconciliation and release of land held by military for security purposes in the North and the East to the legitimate owners. Ambassador Arunatilaka also pointed out that the period under review posed unprecedented socio-economic challenges for Sri Lanka and the Government’s main objective during the past year was to restore economic and political stability and on delivering urgent socio-economic necessities.

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1st Session of the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems,6th March 2023 General Statement

6 March 2023 LAWS r

Mr. Chair,

Our delegation commends your leadership in steering our work in the Group of Governmental Experts and assure you of our continued support as we endeavor to advance our work in the GGE.

As a country that has consistently advocated for the importance of centrality of human control in weapons system and the legal, ethical, military as well as security concerns related to autonomous weapon systems we are encouraged by the recent developments and the growing momentum on the call for regulation in autonomous weapon systems. We consider the joint statement delivered at the UNGA last year supported by 70 states on this subject as well as the Communiqué issued at the Latin American and the Caribbean Conference of Social and Humanitarian Impact of Autonomous Weapons

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Address by the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka 52nd Regular Session of the Human Rights Council

02 03 2023 ambassador himalee arunatilaka HRC52

Mr. President,

Distinguished delegates,

I take the floor in keeping with Sri Lanka’s continuing policy of constructive engagement with the UN human rights instruments and mechanisms.

As we mark the 75th anniversary of the UDHR, and the 30th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA), we must resolve to preserve the spirit of multilateralism and the foundation of human rights governance. We must also strive to depoliticize human rights and find solutions to concerns through dialogue and multilateral cooperation rather than through confrontation, selectivity and unilateralism.

Mr. President,

We envisage 2023, the 75th anniversary of our independence, which coincides with the 75th Anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration to be a year of socio-economic stabilization, reconciliation, and recovery.

The domestic institutions for reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka continue to carry out their work towards achieving important post-conflict recovery and healing.

A Cabinet Sub-Committee has been established under the Chairmanship of the President, to promote reconciliation among different communities and to address and resolve matters relating to issues encountered by the peoples of the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

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