Special Fund to combat COVID-19

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A ‘COVID-19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund’ was set up by the Government of  Sri Lanka on 23rd March 2020 to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak, with a Rs 100 million contribution from the President’s Fund. With direct deposits and donations from organizations and individual donors the Fund’s balance has surpassed Rs. 242 million, today, 31st March 2020. Both local and foreign donors are invited to contribute to the COVID – 19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund.

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Special Announcement for All Sri Lankans Currently Staying in Switzerland

Until the risk of COVID-19 is minimized, the Government of Sri Lanka requests Sri Lankans residing/staying in Switzerland, who wish to return to Sri Lanka to safely remain where they are. Requests to return to Sri Lanka, by Sri Lankans who are currently overseas, will be facilitated after containment of COVID-19 in the country.

31 03 2020 special notice

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Permanent Mission of sri Lanka
Geneva

Special Notice - Restrictions in the provision of Consular Services

 

covid 19 emergency nos


Emergency contact numbers: Sinhala & English (0041) 77 928 72 81, (0041) 77 922 32 92 Tamil (0041) 77 922 31 31


In the present circumstances of the rapid spread of the Corona virus in Switzerland, the Government of Switzerland has announced strict restrictions covering the entire country. Accordingly, strict regulations have been imposed to minimize public gatherings.

In order to minimize the exposure to the virus and to limit the spread of the virus among Sri Lankans, the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka / Consulate General of Sri Lanka in Geneva, after taking into consideration the present situation, and in consultation with the Ministry of Foreign Relations of Sri Lanka, has decided to limit the consular services provided to Sri Lankans, commencing from 16.03.2020 until further notice.

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Donations to COVID – 19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund exempted from taxes

press release pmdnews

Donations to COVID – 19 Healthcare and Social Security Fund that has been established to strengthen the mitigation activities aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19 virus in the country and related social welfare programme, have been exempted from taxes and foreign exchange regulations.

A special account had been opened at the Corporate Branch of the Bank of Ceylon under the account number of 85737373.

Deposits can be made through cheques or telegraphic transfers. Donors are requested to inform the Presidential Secretariat along with the relevant documents about their donations in cash to the Fund.

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Foreign Ministry facilitates outward movement of foreign nationals

20 03 2020 mfa relese


Arrangements are being made for the smooth return of foreign nationals who are presently in Sri Lanka on tourist and other visa categories. This will be done using both regular flight movements operating through Sri Lanka and also charter flights that may be deployed, as the airport remains open for outbound passenger movements.

Modalities to facilitate these movements were discussed today at a meeting chaired by Secretary Foreign Relations, Ravinatha Aryasinha. The meeting was attended by the Ambassadors representing the western hemisphere as well as representatives from the Ministry of Defence, Police Department, Department of Immigration, Airport and Aviation Services, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, Civil Aviation and Sri Lankan Airlines.

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Precautionary measures to limit provision of consular services overseas in 11 Sri Lanka Missions

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In view of the present circumstances of the rapid spread of COVID-19 globally, and in order to limit the spread of the virus among Sri Lankans who visit the Sri Lanka Missions overseas, the Ministry of Foreign Relations has decided to limit the provision of consular services in 11 Sri Lanka Missions overseas commencing 16 March until further notice.

These countries include Italy, Iran, South Korea, France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweden and Austria.

This decision has been taken in view of the strict restrictive procedures of travel bans and lockdown measures taken by the respective authorities of the countries concerned and also the recent travel ban imposed by the Government of Sri Lanka on all travel originating from these countries.

Accordingly, from 16 March 2020 onwards and until further notice, these Missions have arranged to restrict services related only to the issuance of temporary/emergency travel documents, issuance and certification of documents relevant to deaths of Sri Lankans and any other emergency consular service, which is deemed necessary, on a case by case basis. This will be done based on prior appointments obtained from the Missions.

In order to secure early appointments and to obtain the restricted consular services and related information, emergency contact numbers have been provided by the Sri Lanka Missions to visitors.

Ministry of Foreign Relations
Colombo

14 March 2020

Read more: www.mfa.gov.lk

Foreign Relations Minister meets UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

28 2 2020 honmfr hchrc


The Leader of the Sri Lanka delegation to the 43rd Session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena met the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet this afternoon (28 February).

Minister Dinesh Gunawardena reiterated the Government of Sri Lanka’s decision to withdraw from co-sponsorship of resolution 40/1 and the basis for doing so. He recalled that, one year ago, his predecessor the former Minister of Foreign Affairs had also pointed out a number of areas in the resolution that were undeliverable. Notwithstanding the withdrawal from co-sponsorship, he emphasized the Government’s commitment to achieving accountability and human rights within the framework of the Constitution towards sustainable peace and reconciliation, through the appointment of a domestic Commission of Inquiry, by implementing policies rooted in the Government’s commitments to operationalize the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and by continuing to work with the assistance of the UN and its agencies. It was noted that the existing reconciliation mechanisms established by Acts of Parliament such as the Office on Missing Persons and the Office for Reparations will be continued, with appropriate adaptation in line with the Government policy framework.

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Statement made by Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Foreign Relations at the 43rd Session of the Human Rights Council

27 02 2020 hon mfa hrc43


Agenda Item 2 General Debate: Presentation of the written update on the implementation of HRC Resolution 30/1 by the High Commissioner for Human Rights pursuant to HRC resolution 40/1, OHCHR Report on ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’ (A/HRC/43/19)

27 February 2020

Statement by Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Foreign Relations, Skills Development, Employment and Labour Relations of Sri Lanka


Madam President,
Madam High Commissioner,
Members of the HRC and Delegates to the 43rd Session of HRC,
Ladies and gentlemen,


As this Council deliberates on the written update presented by the High Commissioner on progress regarding the implementation of HRC Resolution 30/1, I wish to reiterate that Sri Lanka remains committed to engaging with the High Commissioner and her Office in achieving sustainable development, peace and reconciliation, within the national framework overwhelmingly approved by the people of Sri Lanka during the Presidential Election last November, where President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected with an overwhelming majority.

Yesterday, the Government of Sri Lanka, at the High Level Segment made clear it’s position with regard to HRC Resolution 30/1, particularly, its decision to withdraw from co-sponsorship of Resolution 40/1 of March 2019, which also incorporates and builds on preceding Resolutions 30/1 of October 2015 and 34/1 of March 2017.

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43rd Session of the Human Rights Council – High Level Segment Statement by Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Foreign Relations of Sri Lanka

26 02 2020 hon mfa 43 hrc high level segment
 

43rd Session of the Human Rights Council – High Level Segment
 Statement by Hon. Dinesh Gunawardena, Minister of Foreign Relations of Sri Lanka
 26 February 2020
 

Madam President

Madam High Commissioner

Ladies and gentlemen,

As this Council is aware, in November 2019, the people of Sri Lanka gave a resounding mandate to President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, to pursue a policy framework aimed at achieving the “four-fold outcome of a productive citizenry; a contented family, a disciplined, a just society and a prosperous nation[1]. It is envisaged to achieve sustainable development and peace in the country, firmly anchored in safeguarding “national security without compromising the democratic space available to our people”[2].

It was over a decade ago, on 18 May 2009, that Sri Lanka defeated LTTE terrorism militarily, bringing to an end three decades of conflict and suffering. The end of the brutal conflict advanced, secured and protected one of the fundamental human rights – the ‘right to life’ for all Sri Lankans- Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslims and others. I would like to state with pride that since May 2009, not a bullet has been fired in the name of separatist terrorism in Sri Lanka.

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Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena Arrives in Geneva to attend the Human Rights Council Session

25 Feb 2020 Hon MFR arrived in geneva

Minister of Foreign Relations, Skills Development, Employment and Labour Relations – Dinesh Gunawardena who leads the Sri Lanka delegation to the 43rd Session of the Human Rights Council arrived in Geneva a short while ago.

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Foreign Secretary Aryasinha meets Human Rights Council President in Geneva

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Ahead of the upcoming 43rd Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) scheduled to commence next Monday (24 February), Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha briefed the President of the HRC Ambassador Elisabeth Tichy-Fisslberger on the decision of the Government of Sri Lanka to withdraw its co-sponsorship of Resolution 40/1 of March 2019 on ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’, which also incorporates and builds on preceding Resolutions 30/1 of October 2015 and 34/1 of March 2017.

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72nd Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s independence celebrated in Geneva

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The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations (UN) and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in Geneva marked the 72nd anniversary of Sri Lanka’s independence at a solemn ceremony held on 4 February 2020 at the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) premises in Geneva.

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Ambassador Azeez chairs a panel discussion on debt securitization of development finance

09 12 2019 UNCTAD

Ambassador A.L. Abdul Azeez, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office at Geneva recently chaired a panel at the Debt Management Conference organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). This conference, which is organized every two years by the UNCTAD provides a regular forum for sharing experiences and exchanging views between Governments, international organizations, academia, the private sector, and civil society on current issues in public finance, debt management and the debt crisis prevention.

This year’s Debt Management Conference brought together senior-level national and international debt managers and experts from around the world to discuss some of the most pertinent topics in both external and domestic debt, debt management and public finance.

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Sri Lanka Elected Chair of Biological Weapons Convention Meet

06 12 2019 BWC

Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez takes over the Chairmanship of the 2020 States Parties' Meeting from Ambassador Yann Hwang of France, the outgoing Chair.

Sri Lanka's chairmanship, as the Convention marks 45 years of its entry into force next year and as the State Parties convene throughout 2020 a series of expert meetings and preparatory meetings building up towards the Ninth Review Conference in 2021, is highly significant for strengthening international cooperation and assistance to fully realise its objectives alongside universalisation and sustained focus on national implementation.

The Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and on their Destruction, popularly known as Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) prohibits biological and toxin weapons through their entire cycle, and is a key element in the international community’s efforts to address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and States Parties’ endeavours to improve national security in an increasingly volatile global environment.

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka

6th December 2019

Geneva

Sri Lanka awarded as “A place of charm that works towards the future” at IVIAGGIATORI in Switzerland in November 2019

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The Permanent Missions of Sri Lanka to the UN and WTO in Geneva, in collaboration with Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, organized Sri Lanka’s participation at the Swiss International Holiday Exhibition for the second consecutive year, successfully from 1st to 3rd November 2019.

The Sri Lanka Pavilion at the Swiss International Holiday Exhibition was inaugurated on 1st November 2019 in the presence of Ambassador (Mrs) Gothami Silva, the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Mr. Marco Peon, the Chief Organizer of the Exhibition and other dignitaries.

The Swiss International Holiday Exhibition, also known as IVIAGGIATORI, is the prestigious tourism event in the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland, which belongs to the network of the most important European tourism fairs. Leading to a perfect trip around the world, through places, peoples and cultures, IVIAGGIATORI is recognised as an ideal event for travellers and people working in the tourism industry. Every year, it showcases the most fascinating destinations and the best facilities in five continents, including services provided by international tour operators and different packages of tourism.

Sri Lanka Pavilion was a major highlight at this year’s Exhibition. Under the patronage of Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, eight (08) companies from tourism industry took part this year. Sri Lankan traditional cultural performances and Ceylon Tea serving counter attracted more visitors to the Sri Lanka Pavilion. Through the bilateral meetings the industry representatives had with the visitors, a significant number of successful client contacts had been secured. IVIAGGIATORI being a consumer tourism fair, the industry representatives were highly impressed with the number of direct contacts they could build up during the Exhibition and encouraged to have Sri Lanka’s continuous participation at this Exhibition.

With more than 200 stands representing over 30 countries, institutional seminars and thematic events, the 2019 edition of the Swiss International Holiday Exhibition attracted diverse categories of visitors, including families, young couples, singles, students, pensioners, etc. both from Switzerland, as well as from neighbouring Italian regions.

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Policy of ‘Leave No One Behind’ in development must resonate at all levels, Sri Lanka tells WHO Heath Forum

Addressing the WHO Metal Health Forum held in Geneva on 14 October 2019, Sri Lanka updated the global healthcare community, which comprised policy experts and representatives of Member States and international organisations, on progress achieved in advancing mental health, providing healthcare support and improving the working environment that could foster good health and wellbeing among the Sri Lankan population.

The intervention made by Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka in Geneva at the Forum dealt with three main points namely, the need for mental healthcare and delivery of assistance to be holistic; the importance of an inclusive approach that ensured availability of mental healthcare coverage throughout the entire cycle of vulnerability; and the sustainment of a supportive environment that assured security, empathy and care for at-risk individuals.

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70th session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme (ExCom) of UNHCR

09 10 2019 UNHCR1

Speaking at the General Debate of the 70th session of the Executive Committee of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, outlined measures taken by Sri Lanka to address the issue of statelessness. The meeting, chaired by Ambassador Boudjemâa Delmi of Algeria, takes place from 7-11 October 2019, with the participation of Mr. Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

09 10 2019 UNHCR2

Full Statement by Ambassador Azeez

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka

Geneva

09th October 2019

Sri Lanka highlights the importance of education in the promotion and protection of the rights of children and youth

02 10 2019 social Forum 01

Speaking at the 2019 Social Forum of the Human Rights Council on 1st October 2019, in Geneva, the delegation of Sri Lanka highlighted the importance of education, a fundamental human right that lies at the core of the 2030 Development Agenda, in the promotion and protection of human rights of children and youth and the transformative power it entails.

At the multi stakeholder meeting, which brought together Government representatives, intergovernmental organizations, civil society and the academia, Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva noted that all children and youth have an equal right to an education in a safe and secure setting irrespective of their gender, family income levels, religion, ethnicity, or geographical location and that a hate-free atmosphere that inculcates in children and youth the value of inclusivity and diversity is a crucial element in education that helps build lasting peace and contributes to the strengthening of the social fabric.

Empowering children and youth through access to quality education and ensuring that no child is left behind, is key to achieving sustainable development goals, stressed Ambassador Azeez. He shared Sri Lanka’s experiences in providing education to all and its commitment to promote and protect the right to education for all its citizens as enshrined in Sri Lanka’s laws and regulations.

02 10 2019 social Forum 02

He added that in order to ensure the special education needs of children with disabilities, 714 schools provide special education through designated units in government schools for disabled children and a special scheme of university admissions for persons with disabilities also exist.

“Such measures have resulted in remarkable social indicators in Sri Lanka in recent years, such as high enrolment rates in education, reduction of school drop-outs and universal primary education reaching 99.7% in 2014” Ambassador Azeez re-iterated.

Full Statement

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka

Geneva

01 October 2019

Sri Lanka says Intellectual Property vital for Socio-Economic advancement

30 10 2019 wipo01

Sri Lanka’s envoy in Geneva, Ambassador A.L.A Azeez, referred to the multifaceted work that WIPO has carried out, including through the Committee on Development and Intellectual Property, by mainstreaming its Development Agenda, that effectively ensures the continued sharing of IP protected knowledge among Member States.

WIPO’s norm-setting agenda, Ambassador Azeez stressed, has extended to a number of innovative areas including Intellectual Property and Genetic Resources, Traditional Knowledge and Folklore. He called upon the Inter-Governmental Committee to expedite its work to finalize international legal instrument/s extending protection for these vital intellectual assets.

Sri Lanka also expressed appreciation to WIPO for its continued assistance in the form of technical cooperation and capacity building, and updated the WIPO General Assemblies on Sri Lanka’s progress in the accession process to the Madrid Protocol for the International Registration of Marks.    

30 10 2019 wipo02

The delegation of Sri Lanka to the WIPO General Assemblies comprised the Director General of the National Intellectual Property Office of Sri Lanka, Mrs. Geethanjali Ranawaka, Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, Ms. Dayani Mendis, and Minister Counsellor, Ms. Shashika Somaratne. The WIPO General Assemblies will be in session from 30 September to 11 October 2019 in Geneva.

Full Statement

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka

Geneva

30 September 2019  

Statement delivered by the Delegation of Sri Lanka at the Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances (WGEID)

Statement delivered by the Delegation of Sri Lanka at the Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances during the 42nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council.

Statement English , Sinhala, Tamil

 

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka

Geneva

12 September 2019

Statement by the Delegation of Sri Lanka at the 42nd Session of the Human Rights Council

25 06 2019 emblem

The Delegation of Sri Lanka to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva delivered a Statement during the General Debate under Agenda Item 2 at the 42nd Session of the Human Rights Council.

The Statement, inter alia, highlighted Sri Lanka’s position on the appointment of the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army expressed on 20th August 2019.

Full Statement

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN
Geneva
11 September 2019

States parties commend Sri Lanka’s leadership to Humanitarian Disarmament

05 09 2019 CCM4

The 9th Meeting of States Parties (MSP) to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) concluded its deliberations in Geneva on 4 September 2019 under the Presidency of Sri Lanka. States parties, signatories, observer states and international and civil society organizations participated in the three-day meeting which convened its first session on 2 September 2019.

The MSP, chaired by Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, marked the culmination of a year-long process of oversight and review of the implementation of the Convention on Cluster Munitions and of guidance and advocacy for the universalization of the Convention and its norms, and the prohibition of use, production, stockpile and transfer of cluster munitions. Sri Lanka’s election to the Presidency of the 9th MSP had been facilitated by the wide recognition among the international community, of its strengthened commitment to humanitarian disarmament, as manifested by its accession to the CCM and the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC) in 2017 and 2018 respectively.

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