Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, on Friday ( 8 March 2013) intervened at a meeting called by the United States to discuss the Draft Resolution on ‘Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka’.
Chaired by US Human Rights Ambassador Eileen Donahoe, many member and observer states of the Human Rights Council participated in the discussion, while a number of Non-Governmental Organizations were also present at the event.
Sri Lanka made an intervention at the Annual Full Day Meeting on Rights of the Child – the Right of the Child to the highest attainable standard of health today, 07th March 2013. The Statement was delivered by Ms. Dilini Gunasekera.
Full text of the Statement
Sri Lanka made an intervention at the Clustered ID with the WG on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances & the SR on Freedom of Religion or Belief on 06th March 2013. The Statement was delivered by Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, Ms. Manisha Gunasekera.
Full text of the Statement
Sri Lanka made an intervention at the Annual Discussion on Human Rights and Persons with Disability on 06th March 2013. The Statement was delivered by Mr. Madhuka Wickramarachchi.
Full text of the Statement
Sri Lanka made an intervention at the Interactive Dialogue with Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders, on 05 March 2013. Ms. Manisha Gunasekara, Deputy Permanent Representative delivered the statement on behalf of Sri Lanka.
Full text of the Statement.
Sri Lanka made an intervention at the clustered interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteurs on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while Countering Terrorism and the WG on Arbitrary Detention, on 05th March 2013. The Statement was delivered by Deputy Solicitor General Buwaneka Aluwihare.
Full text of the Statement.
The Government of Sri Lanka strongly protests against the efforts by the organizers of this event – Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Festival du Film et Forum International sur les Droits Humains (FIFDH), to use the UN premises for the screening of this film “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka”. Sri Lanka also strongly protests the perception that has been sought to be created in the public mind, through pro-LTTE websites, as well as by duping even better known media organs such as even the International Herald Tribune, which yesterday in an article quoted the Director of this film Mr. Callum Macrae as saying that the film “would be screened at the 22nd Session of the Human Rights Council now underway in Geneva, where the United States plans to introduce a resolution asking Sri Lanka to investigate the allegations of the war crimes by its army”.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has disassociated itself from the screening of the Channel 4 film “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” organized by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and FIFDH to be held on Friday (01 March 2013) in Geneva at the UN premises.
In response to a protest lodged by Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha last Monday, which was followed up with a meeting on Tuesday, the President of the UN Human Rights Council Ambassador Remigiusz A. Henczel in a letter dated 27 February 2013, has observed that such events “do not reflect an official position of the Council”.
Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Plantation Industries and Special Envoy of H.E. the President of Sri Lanka on Human Rights, Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation, today (27th February 2013) delivered the National Statement at the High Level Segment of the 22nd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.
Full text of the speech.
View the Video from the UN Live WEB Cast
Exercising a ‘right of Reply’ to a statement made by Ms Esther Brimmer, US Assistant Secretary of State for international organisations during the High Level Segment of the 22nd Human Rights Council today ( 26 February 2013), Ms. Priyanga Wicremasinghe, Counsellor of the Sri Lanka Permanent Mission in Geneva said, “Sri Lanka should be encouraged in its reconciliation process, rather than being singled out for any disproportionate attention in this Council”. She said, “it is especially so, at a time when having overcome a 30-year long terrorist conflict, as well as having averted what many feared would be a ‘humanitarian catastrophe’, Sri Lanka is implementing a comprehensive process of reconciliation involving all communities based on the National Action Plan on the implementation of the recommendations of the LLRC”.
Sri Lanka has re-emphasized that the promotion and protection of human rights as enshrined in the Vienna Declaration & Programme of Action (VDPA) should be carried out in conformity with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and norms governing international relations.
Intervening during a high level panel on VDPA on the opening day of the Human Rights Council's 22nd Session, Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Representative Manisha Gunasekera said, “Sri Lanka recalls that the promotion and protection of human rights as enshrined in the VDPA should be carried out in a spirit of cooperation, mutual respect and dialogue, and in conformity with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and norms governing international relations.” “Sri Lanka therefore believes that the VDPA with its emphasis on cooperation and dialogue, continues to maintain its relevance, now more than ever, and we look forward to working with the Council to further enhance its effective implementation in the forthcoming years”, she added.
Sri lanka has lodged a formal protest against the screening of the latest Channel 4 documentary film “No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka” organized by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and FIFDH at the Palais de Nations in Geneva on 1st March 2013. In a letter addressed to Ambassador Remigiusz Achilles Henczel, President of the Human Rights Council, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ravinatha Aryasinha said “Sri Lanka views this film, as well as the timing of its broadcast as part of a cynical, concerted and orchestrated campaign that is strategically driven, and clearly motivated by collateral political considerations”.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay chaired a meeting on 29th November 2012 at the Palais des Nationsin Geneva to commemorate the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha who was associated with the High Commissioner at the event, read outthe statement of the Chair of the Special Committee to Investigate Israeli Practices Affecting the Human Rights of the Palestinian People and Other Arabs of the Occupied Territories, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in New York Dr. Palitha Kohona.
Minister of Plantation Industries and Special Envoy of the President on Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe addressing the concluding session of Sri Lanka's Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group in Geneva on Monday (5 November 2012), appreciated the interest shown by the 98 countries that made interventions during the Review on 1 November 2012. Referring to the outcome document adopted which summarized the comments made by the participating countries (attached below), Minister Samarasinghe said most speakers had commended the progress made by Sri Lanka in the short time since the end of the separatist conflict, while others who registered concerns, had also acknowledged the positive developments in the country.
A photographic exhibition titled “Sri Lanka; Facets of Post Conflict Development” was held in the entrance hall to the Human Rights Council Chamber at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 1 – 5 November 2012. It portrays the rapid political, economic and socio-cultural developments that have taken place in the Northern and the Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka since the ending of the terrorist conflict in May 2009.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Sri Lanka took place this afternoon at the United Nations Headquarters in Geneva , amidst Member States and Observers of the Human Rights Council. The country’s opening Statement was delivered to the Council by Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Plantation Industries, Special Envoy of the President on Human Rights and Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation.
The Sri Lanka delegation to the 21st Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva is continuing to engage with the relevant Interactive Dialogues with Special Procedures Mandate Holders and Working Groups.
Participating in the Session on 'Human Rights Situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories', Sri Lanka expressed its deep concern about the hardships faced by the Palestinian people. Noting that it had long advocated the recognition of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, Sri Lanka said it remains steadfast in its unequivocal support to the people and the Government of Palestine for their just struggle to achieve the right of statehood, coexisting peacefully alongside Israel. Sri Lanka urged the Government of Israel to lift the blockade placed on Gaza, within the framework of Security Council Resolution 1860, which has a devastating impact on the lives of the ordinary people of Palestine, especially the young. Sri Lanka also voiced its belief that the State of Palestine would soon be able to assume its rightful place among the community of states at the United Nations.
The Sri Lanka Delegation to the 21st Session of the Human Rights Council, intervening in the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on 'Extreme Poverty', has emphasized that States and economic actors must take concerted efforts to address extreme poverty and create an enabling environment for sustainable economic development, which is accessible to all. Noting that Sri Lanka considers the Draft Guiding Principles on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights as a tool, which can lead to developing and shaping measures and activities needed to eradicate extreme poverty across the world, the delegation called for strong political will and a multi-pronged and multi-dimensional approach at all levels to make the eradication of extreme poverty a reality.
The Sri Lanka Delegation to the 21st Session of the Human Rights Council which opened in Geneva earlier this week is continuing to engage with the relevant Interactive Dialogues with Special Procedures Mandate Holders and Working Groups.
Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha has said, the international community, especially those countries that have faced the challenge of emerging from protracted conflict or continue to be embroiled in such conflict, would particularly appreciate the significance of Sri Lanka's achievements since the ending of terrorism a little over 3 years ago.
Sri Lanka Participates in the 20th Session of the Human Rights Council
Apprises the Council of Progress with regard to Reconciliation
Sri Lanka briefed the Human Rights Council on progress with regard to reconciliation and on developments since the onset of peace, in a comprehensive statement delivered by the national delegation on the Opening Day of the Human Rights Council 20th Session on Monday 18th June in Geneva, in the presence of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay. The statement referred, among other issues, to the process of implementation of the recommendations of the domestic reconciliation mechanism, the LLRC, which is underway. The statement was delivered by the Head of Delegation Manisha Gunasekera, Charge d’ Affairs a.i. of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva, under Agenda Item 2, following the update to the 20th Session of the Council provided by the High Commissioner.
Only one week after her return from the 13th Session of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XIII) in Doha, where she was elected by acclamation as an Asian Vice-Chair of the Conference and member of the Bureau, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam, was unanimously re-elected, also by acclamation, and in the presence of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, for a second term as Chairperson/Rapporteur of the UN Human Rights Council Working Group on the Right to Development. The Working Group, which opened its 13th Session today in Geneva, is composed of all UN member States, including also Political Groups (NAM, OIC, EU, African Union) and Regional Groups (Africa, Asia, Latin America/Caribbean, Western Group, and Eastern Europe) represented in the United Nations.
At the end of the 19th Session of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam, taking the floor under the concluding general segment, affirmed that the US resolution against Sri Lanka constituted a negative precedent that challenged the core values of the Human Rights Council, and reflected a blatant case of politicization that ‘takes the Council hostage to the hidden agendas of the mighty’.
It is a matter of great satisfaction to us that 15 countries voted with Sri Lanka, despite the intensity of pressure, in a variety of forms, exerted on them all. We convey to them our warm thanks and deep appreciation.
My delegation recalls Resolution A/HRC/S-11/2 adopted at the 11th Special Session on Assistance to Sri Lanka in the promotion and protection of human rights which recognizes that the promotion and protection of human rights should be based on the principle of cooperation and genuine dialogue and aimed at strengthening the capacity of Member States to comply with their human rights obligations for the benefit of all human beings, and urges the international community to cooperate with the Government of Sri Lanka in its post-conflict reconstruction efforts.
Thank you for this opportunity, as the country concerned, to outline our position in respect of the draft resolution before the Council.
Many in this Council would agree that Sri Lanka has been a role model of, consistently and unambiguously, engaging with everyone in the Council; not just on this occasion but over the years. This engagement has been voluntary and was not restricted to a period in the aftermath of the conflict, but occurred even during the height of the long-drawn-out armed conflict, against one of the worst manifestations of terrorism.