Sri Lanka holds Photographic Exhibition on the side lines of the UPR


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. 

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Minister Samarasinghe addresses the Human Rights Council at Sri Lanka’s UPR


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.

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Sri Lanka remains steadfast in its support to the Palestinian people at the 21st Session of the HRC


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.

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Sri Lanka shares its poverty eradication experience at the 21st Session of the HRC


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.

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Sri Lanka at ID on 'Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-recurrence' and 'Children and Armed Conflict'


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.  

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Ambassador Aryasinha delivers Sri Lanka National Statement at the 21st Session of the HRC

Ambassador Aryasinha  21st UNHRC


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.  

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Statement by the Delegation of Sri Lanka at the 20th Session of the HRC - Geneva on 18th June 2012

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. 

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Ambassador Kunanayakam unanimously re-elected as Chairperson/Rapporteur of the UN HRC WG on the R2D


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. 

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Amb Kunanayakam warns that the Council is being taken hostage to the hidden agendas of the mighty


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’.

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STATEMENT BY PROFESSOR G.L. PEIRIS, MINISTER OF EXTERNAL AFFFAIRS

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. 

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Ambassador Kunanayakam addresses the Council under Agenda Item 10

Madam President,


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.  

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Hon. Minister Samarasinghe responds to the Resolution on Sri Lanka

Madam President, 

 

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. 

 

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Statement made by Mr Mohan Peiris under the thematic discussion on technical cooperation

Statement made by Mr Mohan Peiris under the thematic discussion on “Sharing of best practices and promoting technical cooperation: paving the way towards the second cycle of the universal periodic review”  

Madam President,

We have been repeatedly reminded 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 kind. It urges States to cooperate with Governments in that process.

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Professor Wijesinha makes an unexpected exception for Amnesty International


In an unanticipated and impromptu right of reply at the Human Rights Council, Professor Rajiva Wijesinha pointed out that Amnesty International was part of the ‘band wagon’, that is now being built up. Recalling that Sri Lanka does not usually reply within the Council to nongovernmental organizations, Professor Wijesinha, said that he believed that a special exception needed to be made for Amnesty.   

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Ambassador Kunanayakam in her capacity as Chairperson-Rapporteur presents her Report to the Council

Amidst Sri Lanka’s active engagement within the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam, in her capacity as Chairperson-Rapporteur of the United Nations Working Group on the Right to Development, presented to the Council, the Report of the Working Group. 


Drawing on the importance of the Declaration on the Right to Development, Ambassador Kunanayakam reminded the Council of the Declaration’s modernity and relevance in the context of today’s global challenges. Pointing out that she had on several occasions, affirmed the continued validity and modernity of the right to development, in the context of the economic, social, political, and ecological crisis, she further said that the situation at hand served as a reminder of the urgent need to make progress in the realization of the right to development.

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“The battle will have to be fought to the very last minute”– Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam


In a wide ranging interview H.E. Tamara Kunanayakam, Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, explained the motivations of the West and mostly the United States for pushing a resolution against Sri Lanka: “What, in fact, are the US trying to tell us with their draft resolution? They are not saying that our LLRC report is bad. They are not saying that there is gross and systematic violations of human rights in Sri Lanka. What they are saying is that they don’t have confidence that we will implement the recommendations. […] They are judging our intentions, not the ground reality! This is unacceptable to most countries, because it gives a role to the Council that was never intended. Moreover, there is a general feeling that Sri Lanka is being punished for cooperating.”  

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Mr Shavindra Fernando points out a misappreciation of Information during the HRC


Taking the floor during the clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on adequate Housing, Deputy Solicitor General – Mr Shavindra Fernando, presenting the Sri Lankan statement, pointed out that some information contained in the Report of the special Rapporteur, was not accurate. ‘the information provided in the Report of the Special Rapporteur is perhaps a misappreciation of legal provisions with regard to the ownership of land’ he said.   

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Mr Mohan Pieris advises the Human Rights Council to weed out seeds of prejudice against Sri Lanka


Following the clustered Interactive Dialogues with the Special Rapporteur on torture and Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders,  Senior Advisor to the cabinet of Ministers, Mr Mohan Pieris took the floor, informing the Council of constitutional and legislative measures against torture, effective in Sri Lanka and further pointed out the importance of knowing the difference between true Human Rights Defenders and those who masquerade behind the ‘cloak of human rights defender’ in their execution of collateral agendas.

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What concerns us and our people is the insidious attempt to selectively target SL…-Amb. Kunanayakam

Statement made by H.E Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam,Sri Lankan Permanent Representative to the United Nations during the Interactive Dialogue with the High Commissioner on her Annual Report (Agenda Item 2)


Addressing the Human Rights Council under Agenda Item 2, H.E Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam highlighted that a dangerous precedent was once again sought to be established by way of a debate on the recommendations of a domestic process. Referring to the High Commissioner of Human Rights’ reference to Sri Lanka, Ambassador Kunanayakam recalled that the LLRC Report reflected the emblemic parameters of rule of law strategies, which have been earnestly taken note of by the Government of Sri Lanka for implementation. Ambassador Kunanayakam further asserted that ‘What concerns us and our people is the insidious attempt to selectively target Sri Lanka that seeks to set at nought our post conflict resurgence.’   

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US hypocrisy and double standards will undermine Council’s legitimacy, warns Ambassador Kunanayakam


In a persuasive right of reply to the Statement made by U.S Under Secretary of State, Maria Otero, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador/Permanent Representative Tamara Kunanayakam warned the Human Rights Council that the hypocrisy and double standards displayed by the United States in its treatment of countries such as Sri Lanka would, if encouraged, gravely affect the credibility of the Council and undermine its legitimacy. 

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Hon. Mahinda Samarasinghe addresses the 19th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva


Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe reminds the Human Rights Council to ensure adherence to cardinal postulates of universality, objectivity and non-selectivity in the consideration of issues in the promotion and protection of human rights.


Hon Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council with a powerful message during the High-Level segment of the 19th Session, in Geneva. Minister Samarasinghe, the Special Envoy of the President on Human Rights and Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation, outlined the effective developments taking place within Sri Lanka, and reiterated the Government’s commitment toward the reconciliation process. While emphasising the fact that ‘action initiated in the promotion and protection of human rights in a member State, must have the consent of that State and be based on the principles of cooperation and genuine dialogue’, he further went on to say, that today, there were good examples of instances where this cardinal principle had been violated, and ‘where even the application of a multiplication of special initiatives has nevertheless failed to establish peace’. He rightly pointed out that this had only contributed to exacerbating and at times externalising conflict situations.

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Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam exposes U.S manoeuvres to deceive the Human Rights Council


Given below is the text of a communication issued today, by the Sri Lankan Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam, which rejects a misleading and unethical communication sent out to Missions in Geneva by the Permanent Mission of the United States, and exposes manoeuvres to deceive the Human Rights Council.

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Ambassador Kunanayakam cautions against the setting of dangerous precedents by the HRC


Statement by the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka:Special Session of the Human Rights Council, 02nd December 2011 Human Rights Situation in the Syrian Arab Republic


Delivered by: H.E. Tamara Kunanayakam, Amabassador/Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations and other International Organizations


Madam President, 

Sri Lanka wishes to reiterate its position articulated at the 17th Special Session of the Council on the Human Rights Situation in the Syrian Arab Republic, that no action be initiated by the Council in contravention of the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter and the Declaration of Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly Relations and Co-operation Among States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, adopted by the UN General Assembly resolution 2625 (XXV) of 24 October 1970.
   

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There is no single model of development valid for all peoples, at all times-Ambassador Kunanayakam


Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam affirms:” There is no single model of development valid for all peoples, at all times”

The right to development is a universal and inalienable human right, an integral part of our human heritage, which is as much a prerogative of States as it is of individuals. 


Speaking at an event to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Declaration of the Right to Development organized by the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organisation of Islamic Countries and the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam, as Chairperson/Rapporteur of the United Nations Working Group on the Right to Development, reminded the international community that the Declaration recognizes “the human person, both individually and collectively, as the central subject of development” and that “there is no single model of development valid for all peoples, at all times. The realization of the right of peoples and States to determine their own economic, political, social and cultural systems, without externally imposed conditionalities, is a prerequisite for the realization of all other human rights”.

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47TH SESSION OF THE UN COMMITTEE AGAINST TORTURE - STATEMENT BY THE LEADER OF THE DELEGATION OF SL

47th Session of the UN Committee Against Torture Consideration of the Combined 3rd and 4th Periodic Reports on Sri Lanka Introductory Statement by the Leader of the Delegation of Sri Lanka


Mr. Mohan Pieris, President’s Counsel, Former Attorney General, Senior Legal Advisor to the Cabinet on Legal Affairs Geneva, 8th November, 2011

Mr. Chairman and Distinguished Members of the Committee,    

My delegation and I are pleased to be associated with the examination of Sri Lanka’s combined 3rd and 4th periodic Report under the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment covering a period which has presented the Government and people with unprecedented challenges. A thirty-year terrorist conflict compelled the State to assume, during all of those years, an expanded and formidable task of maintaining national security, law and order. In these challenging years, the State also pursued an ambitious national development Plan with an emphasis on economic and infrastructure development that sought to enhance the quality of life of its people. The pursuit of peace saw the Government engaging in negotiations with a terrorist movement acknowledged as the most ruthless in the world, which over time lost its credibility as one which had a sincere desire for peace.  Finally, in May 2009, terrorism was defeated and the task of rebuilding a fractured nation commenced. Sri Lanka’s Report is presented highlighting the manner in which its obligations under the Convention were sought to be honored during this challenging period.

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Ambassador Kunanayakam tells HRC the trend of ‘Might is Right’ should be discouraged at all costs

 


Statement Delivered by Ambassador H.E Tamara Kunanayakam, regarding the deferral of the Draft Resolution ‘Transparency in Funding and Staffing of the OHCHR’, during the final day of the 18th Session of the Human Rights Council.

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