National laws and policies aim at effective prevention of Sale of Children and Child Prostitution and Pornography, Sri Lanka says in Geneva

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The Sri Lanka delegation, presenting the country's first report under the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, briefed the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on the panoply of laws and executive and policy measures adopted by Sri Lanka to safeguard the rights of children and to ensure the wellbeing of children. 

Emphasizing that most of such measures even preceded Sri Lanka's ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Mrs. Dharshana Senanayake, Secretary to the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs, at the head of Sri Lanka's delegation, clarified “With the ratification of the Optional Protocol, the national laws have been further strengthened in such a manner as to cover all elements of the offences stipulated in the Optional Protocol.”

The delegation elaborated on legal and regulatory reforms such as the formulation of a Child Protection and Justice Bill on par with international standards, intended to better address the concerns related to children in conflict with law or in need of care, and the establishment of guidelines for the operation of day-care centers. Outlining the promotional and preventive activities undertaken by Ministries and other agencies in Sri Lanka to advance the best interest of the child, the delegation drew attention to the role of National Monitoring Committee (NMC) as an inclusive and robust monitoring mechanism.

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Minister of Science, Technology and Research Sujeewa Senasinghe discusses further cooperation with CERN

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The Minister of Science, Technology and Research Sujeewa Senasinghe, during his visit to Geneva on 17 May 2019, extended an invitation to the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) to participate in the Shilpa Sena exposition to be launched in July 2019 in Colombo. The exposition will provide an excellent platform for CERN and Sri Lanka to showcase the ongoing collaboration, and its potential for advancement of science in Sri Lanka. It would help create awareness and interest among students on the importance of high energy physics for Sri Lanka, stated Minister Senasinghe.  

Welcoming the Minister and the Sri Lanka delegation, Ms. Charlotte Warakaulle, Director for International Relations highlighted Sri Lanka's expanding engagement with CERN over the past several years. She appreciated the Ministry of Science, Technology and Research for hosting the 2nd edition of the South Asian High Energy Physics Workshop on Detector Technology and Application in February this year. 

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Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe says technology and innovation will be brought closer to the public ensuring that one will be left behind

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"Shilpa Sena", a rolling exposition will be launched island wide in July, geared towards bringing technological skills, knowledge and products to the general public, at a time when the country embraces new and emerging technologies. The aim of the exposition is to bridge the technological divide in the society while ensuring that no one will be left behind, as part of the government's wider policy of achieving 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Minister of Science, Technology and Research Sujeewa Senasinghe made these remarks addressing the High-Level Round Table on "The impact of rapid technological change on sustainable development" on 14 May 2019 while participating in the 22nd Session of the Commission on Science and Technology for Development (CSTD). The theme of this year's Commission was "The role of science, technology and innovation in empowering people and in ensuring inclusiveness and equality" and saw the participation of developing countries from Asia, Africa and Latin America as well as developed countries.

Speaking further, Minister Senasinghe stated that Nanotechnology, Biotechnology, Neurotechnology, 5G and Internet of Things, Personalised Medicine, Blue-green Technologies, New Energy, Robotics and Industrial Automation, Mechatronics, Artificial Intelligence and Space Technology have been identified as priority technology themes by the government for action. Highlighting the importance of Blue-Green economy, he stated that the objective of this initiative is to utilize ocean resources through enhanced scientific knowledge while drawing from Sri Lanka's rich heritage of indigenous knowledge.

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Risk-sensitive economic planning critical for post-disaster revival

17 05 2019 UNDRR

Risk-sensitive economic planning and coherence between climate and disaster risk reduction (DRR) policies are vital in building resilient societies and economies as envisioned by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez stated. He made these remarks addressing the Sixth Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction held in Geneva from 13 to 17 May 2019.

Sri Lanka is taking a number of initiatives towards this end, he added, highlighting national measures to establish an online damage and loss assessment system for all sectors in line with international standards, a Climate-Resilient Integrated Water Management Project aimed at strengthening the resilience of vulnerable smallholder farmers in the dry zone, and a Climate Resilience Improvement Project focused on building a more climate-resilient economy.  

“In Sri Lanka, national strategies for disaster risk reduction have been formulated for the period of 2019-2030 and the National Policy on Disaster Risk Management has been updated to enable risk-informed implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the UN Urban Agenda and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.”

“Among specific measures taken or being taken are the introduction of an insurance scheme against natural disasters for all houses and Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs), National Building Codes for disaster-resilient construction, guidelines to mainstream disaster risk reduction, and mainstreaming DRR into the education sector,” he stated.

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Sri Lanka will emerge stronger as a vibrant society and robust economy – Ambassador Azeez

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Being the first UN meeting to take place under Sri Lanka’s presidency following the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks, the meeting provided a platform for UN officials, experts and delegates to express their strong condemnation of the dastardly attacks and to assure sympathy and support for Sri Lanka.

Addressing the opening session of the meeting, UNCTAD Deputy Secretary General Isabelle Durant, followed by many delegations, expressed their solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka against the heinous acts which led to the loss of hundreds of innocent lives and injury to many. The Deputy Secretary General assured support for Sri Lanka, within the competence of UNCTAD, to help national efforts in re-establishing the resilience of Sri Lanka's trade and economic sectors including tourism.

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Inter-faith service in Bern, Switzerland invoke blessings on victims of Easter Sunday attacks

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An inter-religious service to pay tribute, to honour the victims of the Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka, and to invoke blessings for the family members of the victims, for speedy recovery of the injured as well as for all Sri Lankans was held on Sunday, 28 April 2019 in Bern, the Capital city of Switzerland. The solemn event was organized by the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Geneva together with House of Religions, Bern and the Sri Lankan community in Switzerland.  

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A two minutes' silence was observed by those present at the commencement of the event. Demonstrating unity and solidarity and the strength of multi-ethnic, multi-religious fabric of the Sri Lankan society, leaders representing Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic religions participated in the event. Praying for the eternal peace for the departed souls, the religious leaders invoked blessings on the victims and their family members. All religious leaders called for understanding and tolerance among all communities to stand as one nation and prayed for peace and calm to prevail in the motherland. 

Speaking at the event, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva and Consul General of Sri Lanka in Switzerland Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, expressed deepest condolences to the families of the victims while wishing speedy recovery for those injured in the attacks. "Terrorism will never be able to defeat Sri Lanka and its people" stressed Ambassdor Azeez, recalling that during these most horrendous attacks, Sri Lankans have risen above differences, as a community of purpose, united by the values of humanity, and "that was the antithesis of which the terrorists had sought to achieve on the Easter Sunday." 

The event concluded with a candle light vigil by the participants praying for the victims, families and all Sri Lankans. 

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Among the guests who were present were Ambassadors of India and US to Switzerland, Permanent Representative of Bhutan to the United Nations in Geneva, Diplomatic Representatives of the Embassies of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia in Bern as well as Diplomatic Representatives of the Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations in Geneva.  

Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Switzerland

Geneva

30 April 2019

Secretary General of IPU signing the condolence book

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Signing the condolence book at Sri Lanka Mission in Geneva today, Secretary General of Inter-Parliamentary Union H.E. Martin Chungong expressed his deep condolences to the families of victims  and people of Sri Lanka on the devastating Easter Sunday tragedy.

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka

Geneva

25 April 2019

Book of Condolence in Memory of the Victims of Terrorist Attacks

In view of the devastating tragedy that occurred on Easter Sunday, when churches and hotels were attacked in an extreme manifestation of terror and violence, the Government of Sri Lanka has declared Tuesday, 23rd April 2019 as the Day of National Mourning in memory of the victims.

Our thoughts and prayers are with all the innocent victims who lost their lives and the several hundreds injured, as well as with their loved ones.

A Book of Condolences will be opened at the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka, located at Rue de Moillebeau 56, 1209 (5th floor) on the following days :

- Tuesday, 23rd April 2019                     11.00 - 13.00hrs and 15.00 - 17.00hrs 

- Wednesday, 24th April 2019                10.30 - 13.00hrs and 15.00 - 17.00hrs 

- Thursday, 25th April 2019                   10.30 - 13.00hrs and 15.00 - 17.00hrs

 

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka

Geneva

23 April 2019

'Tripitakabhivandana' celebration in Geneva highlights 'Tripitaka' as a shared global intellectual treasure

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An interactive scholarly discussion on the significance of the Tripitaka as a world heritage took place at the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) headquarters in Geneva, continuing the week-long celebrations-'Tripitakabivandana'. The event was also intended to raise awareness among States that follow the Buddhist traditions, as well as other States, to join hands with Sri Lanka in realising the initiative taken by President Maithripala Sirisena, to inscribe the Tripitaka on the UNESCO ‘Memory of the World’ Register. 

Organized by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Geneva, the event brought together several erudite members of the Maha Sangha, members of the diplomatic community as well as Sri Lankans living in Geneva, to reflect on the spiritual, historical as well as global value of the Tripitaka-the foremost doctrine of Buddhist teaching. A strong call for the recognition of the Tripitaka as a shared heritage of mankind was echoed.

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Studying health effects of micro-plastics will be a catalyst in efforts to save our oceans

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“A study of the health effects of marine plastic pollution and micro-plastics is important for strengthening national and global initiatives to combat plastic pollution of our oceans”, stressed Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative in Geneva, addressing an interactive Panel Discussion held at the Graduate Institute of Geneva as part of the Geneva Sustainability Week.

At the interactive Panel Discussion ‘Our Plastic Future: Can the Oceans Survive?’ where a number of participants actively engaged, Ambassador Azeez elaborated Sri Lanka’s efforts and commitment towards achieving effective and non-discriminatory global environmental governance, highlighting further the measures taken by Sri Lanka in this context, including at the recently concluded Fourth Session of the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi.

“Sri Lanka’s strategic path for sustainability 2030 has, as its central focus, environmentally sound development activities, complemented by international assistance including technical assistance and sharing of know-how”, he added.

Ambassador Azeez also highlighted the constructive role and contribution that Sri Lanka has made, over decades, to matters of multilateral concern impacting the nature and the environment, referring specifically to the leadership given by Sri Lanka in areas such as the Law of the Sea and innovative initiatives taken in relation to biodiversity, transboundary movement of hazardous waste and trade in endangered species.

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Foreign Minister and delegation meet UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and Director General UN Office in Geneva

Foreign Minister Hon. Tilak Marapana and delegation met with Madam Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Under- Secretary General in charge of the UN Office in Geneva Mr. Michael Moller this week, on the side-lines of the 40th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.  

High Commissioner Bachelet on 20 March, having received the delegation warmly, appreciated the progress made by Sri Lanka in some of the key human rights commitments arising from HRC resolution 30/1, and reaffirmed her readiness and willingness to continue to work with Sri Lanka closely in further strengthening implementation and achieving progress through technical assistance and support in areas where such assistance was required by Sri Lanka.

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Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, Hon. Tilak Marapana, PC., MP, addresses the 40th Session of the HRC during the adoption of the draft resolution 'Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka'

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Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, Hon. Tilak Marapana, PC , addressed the 40th Session of the UN Human Rights Council today (21 March 2019) as the country concerned, during the adoption of the draft resolution A/HRC/40/L.1 “Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka”, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

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Hon. (Dr) Sarath Amunugama, Member of Parliament, the Governor of the Northern Province Hon (Dr) Suren Raghavan, Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha, Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle, Permanent Representative Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Deputy Permanent Representative Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya and the diplomatic officers of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva were associated with the Foreign Minister. 

Full Statement

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka

Geneva

21st March 2019

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, Tilak Marapana, addresses the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

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Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, Hon. Tilak Marapana, PC., MP, addressed the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) following the presentation of the report of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Sri Lanka by madam Michelle Bachelet, the High Commissioner for Human Rights at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, today 20 March 2019.

Hon. (Dr) Sarath Amunugama, Member of Parliament, the Governor of the Northern Province Hon (Dr) Suren Raghavan, Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha, Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle, Permanent Representative Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Deputy Permanent Representative Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya and the diplomatic officers of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva were associated with the Foreign Minister. 

English - Full Statement , Reading Version

Sinhala - Full Statement , Reading Version

Tamil    - Full Statement , Reading Version

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka

Geneva

20 March 2019

Sports - an important means of empowering people and bridging divides within societies – Ambassador Azeez tells the Human Rights Council

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Addressing the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) as the Chair of the 2018 HRC Social Forum, today, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative in Geneva Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez stressed that the Forum provided a platform for a vibrant multi-stakeholder dialogue. He said it brought together governments, intergovernmental organisations, sports bodies, academia and the private sector, to address how best sports could be promoted as a means of empowering people while bridging divides among different segments of society.

“Sports, like diplomacy, has the potential to bring all actors beyond the immediate theatre of competition. They both encourage camaraderie and solidarity, to achieve shared objectives’ stated Ambassador Azeez, stressing further “‘win-win’ in sports, as in diplomacy, is to remain engaged, to build and maintain momentum and to reach the finish-line of pursuit”. He added “this pursuit should continue unfazed in the face of expressions of hate by any fringe elements and misinformation targeting professionals in both disciplines”.

The report of the 2018 HRC Social Forum on ‘Sports and Human Rights’ chaired by Sri Lanka placed emphasis on bilateral and other forms of cooperation as well as inclusive approach to physical education, physical activities and sports, based on human rights values. It further stated that sports and new technologies should embed human rights by design.

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“The environment is an enduring aspect of Sri Lanka’s national development”

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Addressing the 2019 World Wildlife Day celebration in Geneva held under the theme ‘Life Below Water: For People and Planet’, Ambassador Azeez said that, in this context, Sri Lanka was proud and honoured to be the host of the 18th Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), in Colombo, from 23 May to 3 June this year.

“We are pleased to note that the Conference has received a record number of working documents and species-listing proposals, making it the largest Conference of Parties in the history of CITES to date. Interestingly, it is the mako shark, wedgefish, and guitarfish proposals submitted for the CoP18 that have received major support from Parties to the CITES. .Sri Lanka is proud to cosponsor all 3 of these proposals at the upcoming Conference, which will also be conducted in a carbon-sensitive manner”, he said.

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Comprehensive Disarmament the only way forward

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“Sri Lanka stands for comprehensive disarmament, realized through a step by step approach, underpinned by the adoption of legally binding frameworks and the addressing of legal gaps”, Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative in Geneva informed the Conference on Disarmament (CD).

Addressing the High Level Segment of the Conference, the Ambassador cautioned that an approach of “picking the pick-ables and leaving out the rest” in the UN Secretary General’s ‘Securing our common future: An Agenda for Disarmament’, may perpetuate existing imbalances rather than addressing them comprehensively.

“In Sri Lanka’s perspective, the launching of the ‘Agenda’ by the Secretary General marked a significant step forward. While we are encouraged that several countries have taken ideas from the ‘Agenda’ and have introduced multilateral initiatives, it is unfortunate that some others should have interpreted it only from the perspective of their own strategic priorities”, he said.

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Sri Lanka's statement on the Report of the Independent Expert on Foreign Debt and Human Rights

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"Sri Lanka has steadfastly pursued economic, social and cultural advancement as a developing country, with the same emphasis and thrust as for protection of civil and political rights" since becoming a State party to the covenants on civil and political rights, and economic, social and cultural rights, said Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, today, 28 February 2019, at the 40th Session of the Human Rights Council.

Participating as the "Country Concerned" at the Clustered Interactive Dialogue (ID) with the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights and Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Ambassador Azeez emphasized that poverty alleviation remained a high priority for the Government of Sri Lanka. "A holistic approach is being followed in addressing poverty and advancing national development" he further added.

The Statement followed the presentation of the Report (A/HRC/40/57/Add.2) on the visit of Independent Expert to Sri Lanka from 3rd to 11th September 2018.  Sri Lanka's observations on the Report of the Independent Expert are contained in document A/HRC/40/57/Add.4.  

Full Statement 


Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka
Geneva
28 February 2019

Sri Lanka says multilateralism could still deliver despite challenges

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Addressing the Annual High-level Panel Discussion on Human Rights Mainstreaming on 25 February 2019, Sri Lanka said that having actively engaged in a number of inter-governmental processes and observing the overwhelming desire of the stakeholders to build consensus and collective outcomes over the last several years, it believed that the “picture is not entirely bleak”, and “there is still hope that multilateralism can deliver despite challenges”. 

Sri Lanka's Deputy Permanent Representative in Geneva Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya stated so, speaking on the theme ‘Human Rights in the light of multilateralism: opportunities, challenges and the way forward’, during the ongoing 40th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Making further comments, Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya said the high-level panel discussion came at a time when there were broader concerns on whether the UN multilateral system was able to respond effectively, to a rapidly changing global peace, security and development architecture. She noted that in the recent years, the multilateral outcomes reached through the Paris Climate Change Summit, the Marrakech Global Migration Compact, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to name a few, had taken a human centric approach, integrating human rights and transforming them into actionable commitments. She stressed, however, that it was time to take a critical look on how and what more could be done to improve UN multilateral processes. 

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Gender perspective and disarmament education imperative to address new and emerging security challenges -Ambassador Azeez

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"We need to seriously attempt at negotiating a Programme of Work for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation",  stated Sri Lanka's envoy in Geneva Ambassador A.L.A Azeez addressing the Plenary Session of the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD). He urged members of the CD to find a way forward that could facilitate, or create momentum for, work on all core issues. 

The Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka assured Sri Lanka's fullest support for all efforts towards generating consensus within CD, building upon the outcome achieved under Sri Lanka's presidency of the disarmament forum last year.

Ambassador Azeez highlighted the importance of CD being representative enough  of the whole range of views and perspectives on critical issues in the disarmament and non-proliferation arena. In this context, he streesed that education and training in disarmament and non -proliferation and integration of a gender perspective were necessary to help advance fully informed, well represented, result oriented negotiation on critical issues. 

Noting the stalemate in launching substantive negotiations, he asserted that 'Rules of Procedure should aid, not prevent, deliberations on substantive issues'.

He further urged delegations to take a hard look at the challenges that lay ahead, and to consider taking a constructive approach to negotiating a programme of work without further delay.

Full Statement by Ambassador Azeez

Sri Lanka Permanent Mission

Geneva

20 February 2019

Sri Lanka Mission in Geneva celebrates 71st Independence Day

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The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva celebrated the 71th Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s Independence on 9th February 2019 at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) with the participation of over 250 members of the Sri Lankan community in Switzerland. This was preceded by a separate event hosted at the same venue for the diplomatic community in Geneva, which was attended by Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives, officials of international organisations and the Executive Director of the UN Office Geneva, the Secretary General of Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Director General of World Health Organisation, among others.

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Sri Lanka to host COP18 of CITES in Colombo from 23 May to 3rd June 2019

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Sri Lanka is readying itself for the hosting of COP 18 of CITES in Colombo 2019. Known as World Wildlife Conference, the 18th Meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP18) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, attracts 183 parties (182 States + European Union) with the participation of up to 4500 to 5000 delegates & stakeholders.

In continuing demonstration of its consistent national commitment to the protection of the Environment and wild fauna and flora, as well as advancing progress in the Sustainable Development Goals to 2030, Sri Lanka is proud to host this major global conference in the Colombo, from 23 May – 3 June 2019.

The Ministry of Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs, along with Presidential Secretariat, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Geneva, has been making Conference related arrangements as well as substantive preparations for the CITES COP 18, fully assisted by the CITES Secretariat in Geneva.

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka

Geneva

14th February 2019

Sri Lanka pledges support for protection of refugees at the 2019 UNHCR Global Appeal

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At the 2019 Global Appeal of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) held in Geneva today, Sri Lanka expressed its earnest desire that the commitments made by the international community to the recently adopted Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) would remain on course, emphasizing “transforming the Compact into meaningful, practical measures would help address the protection needs of millions of people who remain helpless and in need”.

Addressing the Conference, Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka in Geneva echoed optimism that, at a time when “the principles and values of international cooperation have come under immense pressure”, “the GCR has emerged as a rallying point for multilateralism and solidarity”, as reiterated in the UNHCR’s Global Appeal Update, and highlighted the more pronounced role of UNHCR in this context.

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Sri Lanka accords high priority to the implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention

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Addressing the Meeting of State Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Sri Lanka Permanent Representative in Geneva, stated that Sri Lanka accorded high priority to the effective implementation of the BWC - the first multilateral treaty to ban an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. Continuing drive towards universalization of this important Convention, he stressed, would strengthen the efforts of the international community against the use or threat of use of biological agents or deliberate use of diseases in breach of peace and security.

Elaborating national implementation measures and efforts under BWC, he referred to the Strategic Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance under 'One Health" concept in Sri Lanka. He further stressed that learning from the experiences of States Parties and sharing of good practices was important, and that such an inclusive approach would contribute to further improving policy and legal frameworks.          

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‘Sri Lanka has shown extraordinary seriousness at all levels to make ‘ Sri Lanka Mine Free by 2020’-UN Special Envoy Prince Mired

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During my visit to Sri Lanka I saw extraordinary seriousness from the higher political level, down to official level to make Sri Lanka mine free by 2020’’, stated His Royal Highness Prince Mired Bin Ra’ad Bin Zeid Al-Hussein, the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General promoting universalization of the Ottawa Convention, at a Panel Discussion, chaired by Sri Lanka Permanent Representative, Ambassador A. L. A. Azeez, in Geneva on 30th November 2018. He addressed a gathering of Ambassadors, delegates, civil society and other volunteers participating in the ‘Mine Free Sri Lanka 2020’ event, co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Geneva, and the Sri Lanka Campaign to Ban Land Mines.

The event took place on the sidelines of the 17th Meeting of States Parties (17 MSP) to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destructions’. Commending the commitment of Sri Lanka and all its implementing partners, Prince Mired lauded Sri Lanka’s progress as ‘a unique example’.

Making opening remarks as the Chair of the Panel, Ambassador Azeez stressed “the tremendous amount of work that was done on the ground, paving the way for the release of land and the resettlement of affected persons, makes the case of Sri Lanka distinct from other situations elsewhere’’.

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Sri Lanka presents initial report under Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention

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Sri Lanka presented the initial report under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (Ottawa Convention) today, 29th November 2018 at Palais des Nations, Geneva. 

Mr. Peter Kolarov, Senior Officer of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) in Geneva received the country report from Secretary to the Ministry of Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Northern Development and Hindu Religious Affairs, Mr. V. Sivagnanasothy on the sidelines of the 17th Meeting of the States Parties (17MSP) to the Ottawa Convention currently underway from 26-30 November 2018. 

The report had been prepared by the Ministry of Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Northern Development and Hindu Religious Affairs in collaboration with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence and other key stakeholders. The report outlines the progress made in mine action in Sri Lanka, acknowledging the assistance and support provided by international and national stakeholders as well as the work that is continuing to make Sri Lanka mine-free by 2020, and further support required to realise targets set.  

Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva, Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya, Deputy Permanent Representative, Ms. Shashika Somaratne, Minister Counsellor, and Mr. Asanka Neel Fernando, Director, Planning of the Ministry of Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Northern Development and Hindi Religious Affairs were associated with Mr. Sivagnanasothy on the occasion. 

Sri Lanka's Initial Report

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka

Geneva

29 November 2018

Sri Lanka to be Mine Free by 2020

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"“Making Sri Lanka a mine free country by 2020 remains our goal and vision", remarked the leader of the Delegation of Sri Lanka to the 17th Meeting of State Parties (17 MSP) to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (Ottawa Convention) Mr. V. Sivagnanasothy, addressing the State Parties' Meeting in Geneva on 26 November 2018.  He stressed that the ongoing mine action in Sri Lanka complemented the national drive towards strengthening harmony and co-existence, thereby contributing to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and economic and social prosperity. 

Highlighting the different aspects of mine action progamme implemented by the Ministry of Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Northern Development & Hindu Religious Affairs, Mr. V. Sivagnanasothy, in his capacity as the Secretary to that Ministry, elaborated the 5-Year Strategic Plan (2016-2020) developed in consultation with the National Mine Action Centre and other stakeholders as well as measures taken to fulfil the commitments under the Ottawa Convention. 

He also underlined Sri Lanka's commitment and dedicated efforts which led to remarkable achievements in the demining process. His progress update identified the District of Batticaloa as having been declared as a mine-free District in 2017, while contaminated areas in Sri Lanka had been reduced to 26 Sq.km in 2018.  It also included an outline of comprehensive measures taken by Sri Lanka to destroy the stockpiles within the next 3 years as well as mine risk education being conducted in Northern and Eastern Provinces.   

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