Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha told the UN Human Rights Council on Wednesday (25 September 2013) "Sri Lanka strongly repudiates the High Commissioner’s assertion that if certain concerns are not comprehensively addressed before March 2014, she believes the international community will have a duty to establish its own inquiry mechanisms". The Ambassador said High Commissioner Navanethem Pillay had "no mandate to make such a claim". He said having accomplished the task of bringing normalcy to the lives of the civilian population, GOSL has put in place "multiple mechanisms" to address concerns relating to accountability.
In an intervention made during the interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on Sudan in the 24th session of the Human Rights Council on 25 September 2013, Deputy Solicitor General Mr. A. H. M. D Nawaz said that, as a country that has emerged from a protracted terrorist conflict, Sri Lanka is empathetic to the many challenges faced by Sudan in its progression towards normalcy.
Sri Lanka recognized the need to address, at the global level, contemporary manifestations of racial discrimination such as xenophobia and related intolerance and reiterated its strong commitment to the core principles of equality and non-discrimination embodied in the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action.
Exercising a 'right of reply' with regard to references made to Sri Lanka by Germany, the US and Ireland under Agenda Item 4 - General Debate at the ongoing 24th Session of the Human Rights Council, the Sri Lanka delegation on Thursday (19 September 2013) said, it seemed ironic that at a time when for the first time since the introduction of the Provincial Council system in 1987 elections to the Northern Provincial Council are to be held later this week that Germany should choose to discredit the process and prejudge its outcome and impact. It was noted that the commitment of the Government to ensure the transparent and free and fair conduct of the election not only to the Northern Provincial Council, but also to the Central and North Western Provincial Councils which go to the polls this Saturday is clearly demonstrated by the presence of 24 election observers from the South Asian region as well as from Commonwealth countries, on the invitation of the Elections Commissioner.
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The Government of Sri Lanka has launched a three-year project, implemented by the Ministries of Cultural Affairs and National Heritage, to table a draft bill to safeguard the existence and rights of the indigenous people, “vanniyaletto” also known as the “aadivasi”. The project also provides legal facilities to the indigenous community, measures to conserve their traditional knowledge and traditional medicines, and support to establish a museum on their heritage, among others. In order to create greater awareness about the indigenous community, which is instrumental towards the preservation of their lifestyle, the Government has also established several cultural centres and documented the history of the community and their way of life.
Sri Lanka says, while there needs to be commitment at both national and international levels to achieve the right to development, there must be more focus on addressing the special needs of developing countries which are unequally impacted by structural problems, external events and global economic and financial crises.
Sri Lanka has highlighted the highlight the need to adopt "a pragmatic, context specific approach in addressing issues of transitional justice" and noted that "the approach of each state to reconciliation must be context-specific, taking into account the particularities of each state and the aspirations of its people".
Sri Lanka looks toward an objective and unbiased approach to Sri Lanka by High Commissioner Navanethem Pillay in fulfilment of her mandate, following her recent visit where she had unfettered access to asses first-hand the on-going reconciliation process in Sri Lanka. This would also enable her to be better placed to not give credence to unsubstantiated allegations of those with vested interests and agendas, largely driven by certain extreme elements in the Sri Lankan Diaspora.
Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva and Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation Ravinatha Aryasinha made this observation when he delivered the national statement at the 24th session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva which opened on Monday (9 September 2013).
Sri Lanka has observed that the high enrolment rates at primary and secondary levels which reflect the impact of longstanding policies supporting access to basic education without discrimination, have contributed towards Sri Lanka’s success in achieving gender parity in primary, secondary and tertiary education.
Sri Lanka has emphasized that regulation, transparency and accountability of funding to NGOs and NPOs is a pre-requisite in the interest of national security and counter-terrorism as recognized by states, and that obligation placed on states to adhere to the regulatory framework in compliance with 40 Recommendations of the Financial Action Task Force, makes it mandatory to monitor fund transfers of all financial institutions inclusive of NPOs and INGOs (associations) and other financial institutions, in countering financing of terrorism, money laundering or other related trans-national crimes.
Sri Lanka has observed that the Legal Aid Commission of Sri Lanka primarily funded by the state, covers most parts of the country with approximately 70 legal aid centres, including in the former conflict-affected areas, and records a high caseload and provision of services.
Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation to the 23rd session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) delivering the national statement on Monday (27 May 2013), apprised the Council of progress with regard to reconciliation in Sri Lanka since its last session in March 2013, Sri Lanka’s engagement with the Council and its mechanisms and on Sri Lanka’s position with regard to thematic issues of relevance to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha has said,strong political will is needed to finalize the process of considering, revising, and ultimately endorsing the draft Right to Development criteria and operational sub-criteria, towards the elaboration of a coherent set of standards on this intrinsic right. Addressing the 14th session of the U.N Open-ended Intergovernmental working group on the Right to Development at the UN in Geneva on 13 May 2013, he said with the world struggling through multiple crises, a renewed international commitment toward sustainable development at RIO+20, and the post-2015 development agenda upon us, the effective implementation of the right to development is required now, more than ever before.
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Says vote a rare moment of solidarity in re-constituted HRC for those who continue to believe in principle
Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha has said Thursdays vote on Sri Lanka in the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), had provided a rare moment of solidarity for countries that continued to believe in principle, to stand up and be counted, at a time the composition of the HRC is heavily weighted in favour of Western powers, and Bangladesh, China, Cuba, Djibouti, Jordan, Russia and Saudi Arabia who resisted action against Sri Lanka in 2012, were no longer members of the HRC. Ambassador Aryasinha said the Government of Sri Lanka was deeply grateful to the countries that stood by Sri Lanka this year - by voting against, abstaining and absenting themselves, and also helping in lobbying for support, thereby resisting this resolution, which was both deeply intrusive, as well as precedent setting.
The Resolution before the Council today is premised upon Resolution 19/2 of 2012 which was not recognized by Sri Lanka.
Despite our dissociation with that initiative, I must point out the salient features of that Resolution which called for Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of its domestic mechanism, the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and to formulate an action plan for implementation. Since its adoption, Sri Lanka has shown clear progress towards comprehensive reconciliation including by the preparation and implementation of the action plan called for by the Resolution.
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With 13 countries opposing the resolution, 8 countries abstaining, and 1 country absenting itself, 22 out of a total of 47 members of the Human Rights Council, refused to support the U.S. sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka which was taken up for debate and vote at the 22nd Session of the UNHRC in Geneva on Thursday (21 March 2013). This cross regional group included Congo, Ecuador, Indonesia, Kuwait, Maldives, Mauritania, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Thailand, UAE, Uganda, Venezuela (which opposed) and Angola, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, and Malaysia (which abstained) and Gabon (which absented itself).
Developing countries expressed their confidence for the efforts made by Sri Lanka towards achieving national reconciliation and commended its level of cooperation with the UN.They clearly highlighted that the report A/HRC/22/38 was tabled today (20 March 2012) at the UN Human Rights Council under the agenda item 2 by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) was unwarranted and a clear overstepping of its mandate.They also underlined that the report of the OHCHR has no nexus to the principle objectives of the US sponsored resolution 19/2 of March 2012, and therefore, any further initiatives in the Council, based on or emanating from this report are counterproductive.
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We wish to express our strongest reservations as to the content of the report on Sri Lanka as well as the procedure followed in formulating this document which bears numberA/HRC/22/38. This report purports to be pursuant to Resolution L. 19/2 which we have rejected. We also question how a technical mission, after a visit of just over a week, could have produced such a document purporting to be a comprehensive report pursuant to L.19/2.
In letters addressed to Foreign Ministers of Human Rights Council (HRC) member countries, External Affairs Minister G.L.Peiris has said, “the Government of Sri Lanka believes that drawing disproportionate attention to Sri Lanka’s situation and introducing a resolution that seek to discredit, single out the country and name and shame are unhelpful and counter productive to Sri Lanka’s current reconciliation process. The beneficiaries of such action would be none other than the divisive forces that seek to destabilize the hard won peace in the country. Moreover, the precedent created by intrusive, biased and politicized actions such as the US sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka would pose a danger for all nations”.
Sri Lanka today stated that it remains constant in its support for the State of Palestine and its people for their struggle to achieve the right to statehood, within the framework of a sovereign, independent, viable and united state of Palestine, co-existing peacefully alongside Israel. The Statement was delivered by Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, Ms. Manisha Gunasekera.
Sri Lanka made this statement under the agenda item 07 of the General Debate, on 18 March 2013.
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The 47 member states of the United Nation Human Rights Council unanimously adopted the report presented by the UPR Working Group today, (15 March 2013).
Hon. Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Plantation Industries and Special Envoy of H.E. the President of Sri Lanka on Human Rights, and the leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation while making a statement assured the Council that “Sri Lanka will continue its transparent, proactive and constructive engagement with the Human Rights Council and keep Member and Observer States informed of further developments in Sri Lanka in the field of promotion and protection of human rights”.
Sri Lanka today insisted that the impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake was constitutional. Addressing the on-going session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, the Sri Lankan delegation at the session said that as a founding member of the Commonwealth, Sri Lanka is firmly committed to the values and principles of the organisation. “Due process and constitutional requirements have been followed in relation to the impeachment of the former Chief Justice,” the Sri Lankan delegation said at the 22nd session of the Council today. The comments were made by the Sri Lankan delegation as a right to reply to views expressed by Canada, Sweden and Slovakia.
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Sri Lanka made an intervention at the Interactive Dialogue with the Independent Expert on Minorities held today, 12th March 2013. The Statement was delivered by Ms. PriyangaWickremasinghe, Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka.