Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Leader of the Sri Lanka delegation Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha addressing 27th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva today (8 September 2014), welcoming the new High Commissioner Zeid Bin Ra'ad Al-Hussein on his appointment, said, "his wide experience in diplomacy, in-depth knowledge of the UN system and understanding and respect for social and cultural characteristics are useful assets that will guide the work of the OHCHR, consistent with the IB package and based on the fundamental principles of universality, impartiality, objectivity, non‑selectivity, constructive international dialogue and cooperation". He observed that "despite Sri Lanka's non-recognition of the politically motivated resolution on Sri Lanka during HRC 25, Sri Lanka would continue to engage with the regular mechanisms of the Council, and looked forward to the opportunity to engage during Sri Lanka's fifth periodic report under the ICCPR next month -October 2014".
Sri Lanka has successfully undertaken the development of risk profiles for major natural hazards, and landslide and drought hazard assessments have already been completed. Hazard profiles of Coastal Hazards, Cyclones and Floods will be completed by the end of the year. The Ministry of Disaster Management has taken a number of other initiatives to mainstream disaster risk reduction into development sectors such as housing, road development, health, education etc.
Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha made this observation at the Discussion on the "Post-2015 Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction" during the First Preparatory Committee for the Third United Nations World conference on Disaster Risk Reduction which took place in Geneva on 15 July 2014.
Sri Lanka has strongly rejected the inference that the presence of the military contributes to the insecurity of women and girls in the former conflict-affected areas.
Exercising a 'Right of Reply' with regard to the statement made during the General Debate under Agenda Item 4 by Canada, claiming ‘ongoing use of rape and sexual violence by Sri Lankan security forces against perceived government opponents,’ Sri Lanka said this claim is not substantiated by verifiable data or evidence. It was noted that any allegations supported by credible evidence are dealt with firmly by the authorities and legal action has been taken by the Government in all cases in which the Sri Lankan security personnel have been involved.
”In contrast to the considerable challenges in the humanitarian crises that continue to engulf many parts of the world today, Sri Lanka’s achievements particularly following the ending of the terrorist conflict provides confidence and hope that even the most severe and insurmountable humanitarian crisis can be overcome, with political commitment.”
Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha made this observation during the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons in the Human Rights Council on Thursday, 12 June. The Special Rapporteur presented his report to the 26th session of the Council, currently underway in Geneva, pursuant to his mission to Sri Lanka in December 2013 at the invitation of the Government. He undertook several field visits during his mission, where he was provided with unfettered access, to engage with a variety of actors, including civil society.
Intervening in the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women and SR on Extreme Poverty at the 26th UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 12th June 2014, Sri Lanka said “We believe that in national policy formulation to combat violence against women, it is necessary to focus on gender equality and the empowerment of women to enable them to fully enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms. Sri Lanka’s national policy framework, has consistently highlighted the importance of gender equality and taken measures to alleviate any existing gender gaps”.
Intervening in the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Right to Health and WG on Human Rights and Business at the 26th UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 11th June 2014, Sri Lanka has said “Multi-sectoral approach should be used to address diet-related Non-Communicable Deceases (NCDs) and to increase availability of healthier food alternatives through policy formulation. While providing information about the ill effects of unhealthy foods and raising awareness of the benefits of balanced diets and healthy foods, States should take steps to implement health education programmes to promote healthy food options in such institutional settings such as schools”.
Ambassador Aryasinha made these observations when he delivered a joint statement at the High Level Meeting of WSIS+10 (World Summit on Information Society) at CICG in Geneva on 11 June, 2014, on behalf of G-15, a Summit Level Group of Developing Countries comprising 17 member States - Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
Sri Lanka has reiterated its categorical rejection of the Human Right Council Resolution 25/1, and said it will not cooperate with the OHCHR-driven so called “comprehensive investigation” emanating from it. Sri Lanka has observed that the Government is firmly committed to continuing its ongoing processes of reconciliation, nation building and accountability, and towards this end, will continue to work with countries and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations that are genuinely interested in the welfare of the Sri Lankan people.
Hon. Gamini Lokuge, Minister of Labour and Labour Relations has said Sri Lanka prepared a comprehensive National Human Resource and Employment Policy and its Work plan after having had extensive discussions with all relevant stakeholders including trade unions and employer representatives with the blessing of the President of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Minister of Health and Vice President of the 67th World Health Assembly, Maithripala Sirisena, addressing the World Health Assembly today (20th May 2014) said “the World Health Assembly has a historic opportunity to once again appeal to the world community to demand those countries releasing large amount of carbon-dioxide and offensive gases to the atmosphere - to adopt carbon free energy sources to run their industries. These developed nations should be held responsible for releasing large quantities of offensive gases, and the people in developing and poor countries are the victims that have to bear the consequences. Let us all be eco-centered rather than ego-centered so that we can all live happily and with good health and leave to the future generations a much better and a healthy place to live in.
Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Chairman of the Personal Representatives of the Group of Fifteen (G-15), has urged WIPO to play a greater role in promoting the understanding and adoption of Intellectual Property policies and laws in member countries, respecting their different levels of development. He said that “WIPO’S activities should be supportive of the development goals agreed with the UN System” and “Accordingly, WIPO should be required to play a proactive role to support national scientific and technological capability; foster access to knowledge and explore all possible mechanisms for innovation to effectively promote development".
Ambassador Aryasinha made these observations when he delivered a joint statement at the 13th Session of Committee on Development and Intellectual Property (CDIP) at WIPO in Geneva on 19 May, 2014 on behalf of G-15, a Summit Level Group of Developing Countries comprising 17 member States - Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Kenya, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Senegal, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.
A delegation from the Sri Lanka Youth Council visited Geneva, Switzerland from 24-27 April 2014 as a part of a promotional campaign titled “Round the World in 40 Days” of the World Conference on Youth (WCY 2014) which is scheduled to be held from 6th – 10th May 2014 at the BMICH in Colombo. The Delegation was headed by Mr. Saman Abeywardena, Assistant Director of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development, and included Mr. R.A.S. Kumara, General Secretary, Sri Lanka Federation of Youth Clubs, Mr. A. Thevarajah, Member of National Federation, Sri Lanka Federation of Youth Clubs and Mr. T.Y.Kamalsiri , General Manager (Sirasa TV), Mr. I.R.M. Angello, Program Producer (MTV).
Welcoming the Youth Council Delegation at a promotional event organized at the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva on 25th April 2014, Ms. Manisha Gunasekera, Charge d’Affaires and Deputy Permanent Representative of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva said, “Sri Lanka is hosting the WCY at an opportune moment when the country is in the process of consolidating peace and reconciliation, having emerged from a nearly 30 year brutal terrorist conflict where generations of young people from all communities, especially the North and the East, suffered heavily”. She noted that "Sri Lanka has made significant progress in reintegrating its youth in the development process since the end of the conflict despite challenges” and shared statistical details on the high performance of the students of the Northern and Eastern Provinces in the A/L examination which further proved this phenomenon.
Four Sri Lankan inventors won 2 Gold medals and 2 Bronze medals, including a Gold medal with special jury recognition at the 42nd International Exhibition of Inventions held from 2-6 April 2014 in Geneva, which is known as the world’s largest market-place for inventions. At this event, inventions of more than 700 companies, universities and individual inventors from 45 countries are exhibited for the first time, with 60,000 visitors from all 5 continents.