Sports - an important means of empowering people and bridging divides within societies – Ambassador Azeez tells the Human Rights Council

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Addressing the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) as the Chair of the 2018 HRC Social Forum, today, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative in Geneva Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez stressed that the Forum provided a platform for a vibrant multi-stakeholder dialogue. He said it brought together governments, intergovernmental organisations, sports bodies, academia and the private sector, to address how best sports could be promoted as a means of empowering people while bridging divides among different segments of society.

“Sports, like diplomacy, has the potential to bring all actors beyond the immediate theatre of competition. They both encourage camaraderie and solidarity, to achieve shared objectives’ stated Ambassador Azeez, stressing further “‘win-win’ in sports, as in diplomacy, is to remain engaged, to build and maintain momentum and to reach the finish-line of pursuit”. He added “this pursuit should continue unfazed in the face of expressions of hate by any fringe elements and misinformation targeting professionals in both disciplines”.

The report of the 2018 HRC Social Forum on ‘Sports and Human Rights’ chaired by Sri Lanka placed emphasis on bilateral and other forms of cooperation as well as inclusive approach to physical education, physical activities and sports, based on human rights values. It further stated that sports and new technologies should embed human rights by design.


“The environment is an enduring aspect of Sri Lanka’s national development”

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Addressing the 2019 World Wildlife Day celebration in Geneva held under the theme ‘Life Below Water: For People and Planet’, Ambassador Azeez said that, in this context, Sri Lanka was proud and honoured to be the host of the 18th Meeting of the Conference of Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), in Colombo, from 23 May to 3 June this year.

“We are pleased to note that the Conference has received a record number of working documents and species-listing proposals, making it the largest Conference of Parties in the history of CITES to date. Interestingly, it is the mako shark, wedgefish, and guitarfish proposals submitted for the CoP18 that have received major support from Parties to the CITES. .Sri Lanka is proud to cosponsor all 3 of these proposals at the upcoming Conference, which will also be conducted in a carbon-sensitive manner”, he said.


Comprehensive Disarmament the only way forward

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“Sri Lanka stands for comprehensive disarmament, realized through a step by step approach, underpinned by the adoption of legally binding frameworks and the addressing of legal gaps”, Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative in Geneva informed the Conference on Disarmament (CD).

Addressing the High Level Segment of the Conference, the Ambassador cautioned that an approach of “picking the pick-ables and leaving out the rest” in the UN Secretary General’s ‘Securing our common future: An Agenda for Disarmament’, may perpetuate existing imbalances rather than addressing them comprehensively.

“In Sri Lanka’s perspective, the launching of the ‘Agenda’ by the Secretary General marked a significant step forward. While we are encouraged that several countries have taken ideas from the ‘Agenda’ and have introduced multilateral initiatives, it is unfortunate that some others should have interpreted it only from the perspective of their own strategic priorities”, he said.


Sri Lanka's statement on the Report of the Independent Expert on Foreign Debt and Human Rights

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"Sri Lanka has steadfastly pursued economic, social and cultural advancement as a developing country, with the same emphasis and thrust as for protection of civil and political rights" since becoming a State party to the covenants on civil and political rights, and economic, social and cultural rights, said Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, today, 28 February 2019, at the 40th Session of the Human Rights Council.

Participating as the "Country Concerned" at the Clustered Interactive Dialogue (ID) with the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights and Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Ambassador Azeez emphasized that poverty alleviation remained a high priority for the Government of Sri Lanka. "A holistic approach is being followed in addressing poverty and advancing national development" he further added.

The Statement followed the presentation of the Report (A/HRC/40/57/Add.2) on the visit of Independent Expert to Sri Lanka from 3rd to 11th September 2018.  Sri Lanka's observations on the Report of the Independent Expert are contained in document A/HRC/40/57/Add.4.  

Full Statement 

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka
28 February 2019

Sri Lanka says multilateralism could still deliver despite challenges

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Addressing the Annual High-level Panel Discussion on Human Rights Mainstreaming on 25 February 2019, Sri Lanka said that having actively engaged in a number of inter-governmental processes and observing the overwhelming desire of the stakeholders to build consensus and collective outcomes over the last several years, it believed that the “picture is not entirely bleak”, and “there is still hope that multilateralism can deliver despite challenges”. 

Sri Lanka's Deputy Permanent Representative in Geneva Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya stated so, speaking on the theme ‘Human Rights in the light of multilateralism: opportunities, challenges and the way forward’, during the ongoing 40th Session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Making further comments, Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya said the high-level panel discussion came at a time when there were broader concerns on whether the UN multilateral system was able to respond effectively, to a rapidly changing global peace, security and development architecture. She noted that in the recent years, the multilateral outcomes reached through the Paris Climate Change Summit, the Marrakech Global Migration Compact, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, to name a few, had taken a human centric approach, integrating human rights and transforming them into actionable commitments. She stressed, however, that it was time to take a critical look on how and what more could be done to improve UN multilateral processes. 


Gender perspective and disarmament education imperative to address new and emerging security challenges -Ambassador Azeez

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"We need to seriously attempt at negotiating a Programme of Work for nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation",  stated Sri Lanka's envoy in Geneva Ambassador A.L.A Azeez addressing the Plenary Session of the UN Conference on Disarmament (CD). He urged members of the CD to find a way forward that could facilitate, or create momentum for, work on all core issues. 

The Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka assured Sri Lanka's fullest support for all efforts towards generating consensus within CD, building upon the outcome achieved under Sri Lanka's presidency of the disarmament forum last year.

Ambassador Azeez highlighted the importance of CD being representative enough  of the whole range of views and perspectives on critical issues in the disarmament and non-proliferation arena. In this context, he streesed that education and training in disarmament and non -proliferation and integration of a gender perspective were necessary to help advance fully informed, well represented, result oriented negotiation on critical issues. 

Noting the stalemate in launching substantive negotiations, he asserted that 'Rules of Procedure should aid, not prevent, deliberations on substantive issues'.

He further urged delegations to take a hard look at the challenges that lay ahead, and to consider taking a constructive approach to negotiating a programme of work without further delay.

Full Statement by Ambassador Azeez

Sri Lanka Permanent Mission


20 February 2019

Sri Lanka Mission in Geneva celebrates 71st Independence Day

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The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva celebrated the 71th Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s Independence on 9th February 2019 at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) with the participation of over 250 members of the Sri Lankan community in Switzerland. This was preceded by a separate event hosted at the same venue for the diplomatic community in Geneva, which was attended by Ambassadors and Permanent Representatives, officials of international organisations and the Executive Director of the UN Office Geneva, the Secretary General of Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Director General of World Health Organisation, among others.

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Sri Lanka to host COP18 of CITES in Colombo from 23 May to 3rd June 2019

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Sri Lanka is readying itself for the hosting of COP 18 of CITES in Colombo 2019. Known as World Wildlife Conference, the 18th Meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP18) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, attracts 183 parties (182 States + European Union) with the participation of up to 4500 to 5000 delegates & stakeholders.

In continuing demonstration of its consistent national commitment to the protection of the Environment and wild fauna and flora, as well as advancing progress in the Sustainable Development Goals to 2030, Sri Lanka is proud to host this major global conference in the Colombo, from 23 May – 3 June 2019.

The Ministry of Tourism Development, Wildlife and Christian Religious Affairs, along with Presidential Secretariat, Ministry of Foreign Affairs & the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Geneva, has been making Conference related arrangements as well as substantive preparations for the CITES COP 18, fully assisted by the CITES Secretariat in Geneva.

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka


14th February 2019

Sri Lanka pledges support for protection of refugees at the 2019 UNHCR Global Appeal

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At the 2019 Global Appeal of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) held in Geneva today, Sri Lanka expressed its earnest desire that the commitments made by the international community to the recently adopted Global Compact on Refugees (GCR) would remain on course, emphasizing “transforming the Compact into meaningful, practical measures would help address the protection needs of millions of people who remain helpless and in need”.

Addressing the Conference, Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka in Geneva echoed optimism that, at a time when “the principles and values of international cooperation have come under immense pressure”, “the GCR has emerged as a rallying point for multilateralism and solidarity”, as reiterated in the UNHCR’s Global Appeal Update, and highlighted the more pronounced role of UNHCR in this context.


Sri Lanka accords high priority to the implementation of the Biological Weapons Convention

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Addressing the Meeting of State Parties to the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Sri Lanka Permanent Representative in Geneva, stated that Sri Lanka accorded high priority to the effective implementation of the BWC - the first multilateral treaty to ban an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. Continuing drive towards universalization of this important Convention, he stressed, would strengthen the efforts of the international community against the use or threat of use of biological agents or deliberate use of diseases in breach of peace and security.

Elaborating national implementation measures and efforts under BWC, he referred to the Strategic Plan on Antimicrobial Resistance under 'One Health" concept in Sri Lanka. He further stressed that learning from the experiences of States Parties and sharing of good practices was important, and that such an inclusive approach would contribute to further improving policy and legal frameworks.          


‘Sri Lanka has shown extraordinary seriousness at all levels to make ‘ Sri Lanka Mine Free by 2020’-UN Special Envoy Prince Mired

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During my visit to Sri Lanka I saw extraordinary seriousness from the higher political level, down to official level to make Sri Lanka mine free by 2020’’, stated His Royal Highness Prince Mired Bin Ra’ad Bin Zeid Al-Hussein, the Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General promoting universalization of the Ottawa Convention, at a Panel Discussion, chaired by Sri Lanka Permanent Representative, Ambassador A. L. A. Azeez, in Geneva on 30th November 2018. He addressed a gathering of Ambassadors, delegates, civil society and other volunteers participating in the ‘Mine Free Sri Lanka 2020’ event, co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Geneva, and the Sri Lanka Campaign to Ban Land Mines.

The event took place on the sidelines of the 17th Meeting of States Parties (17 MSP) to the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production, and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destructions’. Commending the commitment of Sri Lanka and all its implementing partners, Prince Mired lauded Sri Lanka’s progress as ‘a unique example’.

Making opening remarks as the Chair of the Panel, Ambassador Azeez stressed “the tremendous amount of work that was done on the ground, paving the way for the release of land and the resettlement of affected persons, makes the case of Sri Lanka distinct from other situations elsewhere’’.


Sri Lanka presents initial report under Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention

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Sri Lanka presented the initial report under the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (Ottawa Convention) today, 29th November 2018 at Palais des Nations, Geneva. 

Mr. Peter Kolarov, Senior Officer of the United Nations Office for Disarmament Affairs (UNODA) in Geneva received the country report from Secretary to the Ministry of Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Northern Development and Hindu Religious Affairs, Mr. V. Sivagnanasothy on the sidelines of the 17th Meeting of the States Parties (17MSP) to the Ottawa Convention currently underway from 26-30 November 2018. 

The report had been prepared by the Ministry of Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Northern Development and Hindu Religious Affairs in collaboration with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Defence and other key stakeholders. The report outlines the progress made in mine action in Sri Lanka, acknowledging the assistance and support provided by international and national stakeholders as well as the work that is continuing to make Sri Lanka mine-free by 2020, and further support required to realise targets set.  

Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva, Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya, Deputy Permanent Representative, Ms. Shashika Somaratne, Minister Counsellor, and Mr. Asanka Neel Fernando, Director, Planning of the Ministry of Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Northern Development and Hindi Religious Affairs were associated with Mr. Sivagnanasothy on the occasion. 

Sri Lanka's Initial Report

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka


29 November 2018

Sri Lanka to be Mine Free by 2020

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"“Making Sri Lanka a mine free country by 2020 remains our goal and vision", remarked the leader of the Delegation of Sri Lanka to the 17th Meeting of State Parties (17 MSP) to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (Ottawa Convention) Mr. V. Sivagnanasothy, addressing the State Parties' Meeting in Geneva on 26 November 2018.  He stressed that the ongoing mine action in Sri Lanka complemented the national drive towards strengthening harmony and co-existence, thereby contributing to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and economic and social prosperity. 

Highlighting the different aspects of mine action progamme implemented by the Ministry of Resettlement, Rehabilitation, Northern Development & Hindu Religious Affairs, Mr. V. Sivagnanasothy, in his capacity as the Secretary to that Ministry, elaborated the 5-Year Strategic Plan (2016-2020) developed in consultation with the National Mine Action Centre and other stakeholders as well as measures taken to fulfil the commitments under the Ottawa Convention. 

He also underlined Sri Lanka's commitment and dedicated efforts which led to remarkable achievements in the demining process. His progress update identified the District of Batticaloa as having been declared as a mine-free District in 2017, while contaminated areas in Sri Lanka had been reduced to 26 in 2018.  It also included an outline of comprehensive measures taken by Sri Lanka to destroy the stockpiles within the next 3 years as well as mine risk education being conducted in Northern and Eastern Provinces.   

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Sri Lanka says the Global Compact for Migration is not the end, but beginning of real work

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“The Global Compact for Migration (GCM)” due to be endorsed at a high level international conference in Marrakesh in December this year, Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Sri Lanka Permanent Representative in Geneva said “is not the end –but the beginning of the real work”. He made this remark, addressing the General Debate of the ongoing 109th Session of the IOM Council in Geneva. He urged all countries, ‘especially those which have for decades valued and sustained migration as a source of national economic advancement,’ to unreservedly endorse the GCM’, as ‘it has now left us with an integrated framework for action.’

Assuring that Sri Lanka, in its national capacity, and both as the Chair of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue (ADD) and the founder member of the Colombo Process (CP) - would endeavour in the best possible way to take the GCM processes forward, he emphasized the importance of the implementation of the Global Compact by all stakeholders. He further said that Sri Lanka looked forward to contributing actively to the discussion on the modalities for follow-up and review of progress in the Global Compact early next year. The GCM, Ambassador Azeez noted, was rooted in achieving SDG’s, adding that it was important to look at how effectively implementation of commitments could take place taking into account the respective regional dynamics and priorities.


Sri Lanka calls for the universalization of the CCW emphasizing its importance as a key humanitarian disarmament instrument

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"Sri Lanka attaches great importance to the CCW, as one of the key instruments advancing humanitarian disarmament, addressing the concerns on maintaining the balance on military necessity and mitigating humanitarian concerns arising from the use of certain conventional weapons or weapons systems". 

Minister Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka Ms. Shashika Somaratne remarked while delivering Sri Lanka's Statement during the general exchange of views at the Meeting of High Contracting Parties of the Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (CCW), on 21 November 2018 at Palais des Nations in Geneva.  

Highlighting Sri Lanka's experience on the consequences of the use of landmines, it was noted Sri Lanka is on a firm path towards becoming landmine free by 2020, with the active support of stakeholders. While observing that Sri Lanka has made "considerable headway in determining the extent of contaminated area" as well as the mine risk education programme involving the affected community resulting in a drastic reduction of mine related casualty, Sri Lanka indicated that it will be in a position to share its experience in relation to mine action endeavours with interested parties. 


Sri Lanka Permanent Mission Participates in the Annual UN Women’s Guild Charity Bazaar

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World renowned Ceylon Tea along with Ceylon Cinnamon based products and Sri Lanka's famed precious stones attracted a large number of visitors to the National Stall set by the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Geneva at the United Nations Women’s Guild Bazaar on Tuesday, 20 November 2018. The Sri Lankan Food Stall run by the family members of the Mission's staff was a hot attraction providing the visitors opportunity to taste the famous Sri Lankan rice and curry.  

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Organized by the United Nations Women’s Guild and Permanent Missions accredited to the United Nations in Geneva, over the years the UNWG Bazaar has become a premier event in the UN calendar, with more than 150 countries' national stalls attracting close upon 6,000 visitors from all over Switzerland and neighboring cities. In addition to promoting and displaying cultural diversity of the membership of the United Nations, thus bringing them all on a unifying platform, the event provides a unique opportunity each year, for the visitors to buy handmade products and souvenirs from different countries and to experiment cuisines from around the world.  

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Proceeds from the Permanent Mission’s National Stall are donated to the UN Women’s Guild which supports charity projects for disadvantaged children around the world annually.

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka


21 November 2018

Sri Lanka Highlights Priorities in Health - Security Interface in Geneva

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“Preventing the threat of use of biological agents is a key priority for Sri Lanka”, stressed Sri Lanka Permanent Representative in Geneva Ambassador Azeez, addressing the International Seminar convened by the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) and the Implementation Support Unit (ISU) of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC) on 'the importance of disease surveillance and alert mechanisms: lessons for the BWC’ held on 20 November 2018.

The Seminar focused on the operationalization of Article 7 of the Biological Weapons Convention (BWC), which accentuated the importance of technical assistance and international cooperation, to respond effectively to epidemics involving bio-agents. 

Representing Sri Lanka at this health - security interface forum, Ambassador Azeez explained the existing disease surveillance mechanism in Sri Lanka, which comprised a wide range of medical and administrative networks including at national, provincial, and district levels. He also drew attention to the role and contribution of hospitals and primary health care units in addressing this challenge efficaciously as well as to laws and policies in place in this context. “Continuing work on strengthening the existing system involved further updating of policies and programmes to empower the National Disease Surveillance System as part of an integrated health-security mechanism”, he added.


UNCTAD's Commission concludes on a confident note under Sri Lanka's Chairmanship

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“Sri Lanka and other developing countries consider the work of UNCTAD critically important for capacity building and other forms of technical assistance in all areas of trade interest impacting the achievement of 2030 SDG Agenda”, stated Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, the Chairperson of the UNCTAD Trade and Development Commission concluding its 10th Session. 

Highlighting the importance of UNCTAD as a forum that advances a multi-pronged strategy addressing trade and development concerns and priorities of developing nations with the cooperation and support of developed countries, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva called for further strengthening of UNCTAD and its varied programmes.  

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The Trade and Development Commission which commenced its deliberations on 12th November 2018  at its 10th session, ended on a confident note under Sri Lanka’s stewardship, adopting a set of Agreed Conclusions for its future focus, at a time when the multilateral trading system is under increasing strain. 

A number of international and regional groups including the Group of 77, the European Union, JUSCANZ (Japan, US, Canada and New Zealand Group), and the African Union contributed to the Commission’s deliberations.

Agreed Conclusions

UNCTAD Press Release

UNCTAD Twitter Message

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka


16th November 2018

Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative in Geneva Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez elected the Chairperson of the 10th Session of the UNCTAD Trade and Development Commission

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"We need to look at how best multilateralism can be advanced and strengthened rather than at theories that suggest a ‘doomsday’ scenario or the ‘dawn of an era of post-multilateralism", said Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to UNO in Geneva. He made these remarks following his election by acclamation as the Chairperson of the 10th Session of the UNCTAD Trade and Development Commission today. Addressing the opening session, he stated “UNCTAD is an innovative platform where both theories and practices are analysed and pathways and options identified, to help guide nations in their search for solutions to trade and development constraints and challenges”.

The newly elected Chairperson of the UNCTAD Trade and Development Commission stressed that Member States needed to look ahead and bring out aspects of Stratergies, during the week-long deliberations in the Commission, that could help countries achieve progress in SDGs, with a particular emphasis on making trade and development a critical enabler of the realization of the aspirations of people everywhere, for peace and prosperity.

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Ambassador Azeez Assures New DG-IOM Sri Lanka's continued cooperation

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Calling on Mr. Antonio Vitorino, the new Director- General of the International organization for Migration (IOM) in Geneva, the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to UNO, Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, stressed that Sri Lanka's long standing ties with IOM pre-dated its membership in that Organization, and assured continued cooperation and active support both in bilateral context as well as within multilateral fora, particularly at a time when the IOM was preparing to  assume new responsibilities as the coordinator of the Global Migration Network with secretarial function for the Global Compact for Migration (GCM).

Director-General Vitorino, welcoming Sri Lanka's active contribution to the common cause of global migration governance, particularly through leadership to the Colombo Process and now as the Chair-in-Office of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue (ADD), stated that as vibrant Regional Consultative Processes (RCPs), the Colombo Process and ADD had enriched the content of the final outcome of the GCM. He expressed hope that Sri Lanka would continue this role, building upon the achievements made, to be a strong advocate for effective implementation of the GCM, during the Marrakesh High Level Meeting in December 2018, and also invited Sri Lanka to announce joint projects and proposals that could be supported by donor funding. He emphasized the importance of high-level participation at the Marrakesh Meeting.

Ambassador Azeez remarked that the IOM enjoyed wide recognition in Sri Lanka as a UN Related Agency and that the IOM country office has been closely working with the relevant Sri Lankan agencies. He requested IOM’s support for enhancing Sri Lanka's labour mobility options, particularly through capacity and skills development, noting the need for economic and social empowerment of youth and women. 

The new IOM Country Representative- designate for Sri Lanka, Mr.Sarat Dash, and the IOM Advisor for Asia and the Pacific Ms. Wen Li were associated with DG- IOM, while Deputy Permanent Representative Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya joined Ambassador Azeez at the meeting.

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to UN


9 November 2018  

Ambassador Azeez co-chairs the WHO Global Coordination Mechanism for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases

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The WHO Global Coordination Mechanism for the prevention and control of Non-Communicable Diseases (GCM/NCD) concluded its General Meeting in Geneva on 6 November 2018. The two- day Conference brought together delegates and activist from Member States, UN organizations, and non-State Actors. The participants along with other stakeholders from the private sector, philanthropic foundations, and academic institutions, discussed means and modalities of strengthening the implementation of the SDG Agenda- 2030 and follow-up on the Political Declaration adopted at the Third High-level Meeting of the General Assembly in September 2018 on the prevention and control of NCDs.

Under the co-chairmanship of Ambassador Azeez, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, and the Representative of the host country, Switzerland, the Meeting facilitated stakeholder interactions at policy and political levels, regarding enhancing the effective coordination of prevention and control-related activities. The continued importance of multidisciplinary and multisectoral engagement, aimed to promote implementation of the WHO Global NCD Action Plan 2013-2020, and SDG 3.4 - NCD-related targets, was emphasized as was the need for building upon the existing networks of stakeholders bringing in industries, research institutions and local government bodies. A primary objective of the GCM was to assess and renew commitments that had emerged from the recently held UN High-level Meeting of the General Assembly, and its preceding High-level Conferences in 2011 and 2014. 


Sri Lanka explores market potential in Switzerland for tourism promotion

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The Sri Lanka pavilion at the “Swiss International Holiday Exhibition” known as “iViaggiatori” was inaugurated by the Mayor of Lugano Marco Borradori, chief Organizer of Lugano Exhibition Marco Peon, and the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the World Trade Organization Ambassador R. D. S. Kumararatne, on 01 November 2018.

The Sri Lanka Mission in Geneva, in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau, organized Sri Lanka’s participation at this Holiday Exhibition which was held from 01 to 04 November 2018 at the Lugano Exhibition Centre in Switzerland. iViaggiatori is a prestigious tourism event that takes place annually in the Italian speaking canton in Switzerland, and is recognized as one of the prominent tourism trade fairs in Europe.

Switzerland is a well-developed economy with a GDP of CHF 668 billion and a per capita of CHF 79,000, the second highest in the world. The households’ disposal income is estimated to be CHF 400 billion with an average saving rate of 14%. Swiss tourists are considered to be high spenders in leisure travel.


Innovation and technology key to progress, Deputy Speaker tells the IPU General Assembly

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Addressing the 139th Session of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) General Debate on 16 October 2018 under the theme ‘Parliamentary leadership promoting peace and development in the age of innovation and technological change’, Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri stressed that ICT has revolutionized the work of the Parliament of Sri Lanka bringing the parliamentarians and the parliamentary processes closer to the people.   

Leader of the Sri Lanka delegation to the IPU session this year, Deputy Speaker Ananda Kumarasiri spoke on the role of science and technology in the implementation of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. He emphasized the need for development strategies to be responsive by taking into account the opportunities and challenges arising from new technologies such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, Artificial Intelligence, and space technology. Harnessing these technologies would be crucial to achieving sustainable development, said the Deputy Speaker.

In Sri Lanka,  the Deputy Speaker stated, the Government of Sri Lanka through its “‘Vision 2025’ provides a policy framework  to develop strategies that encourage the use of digital and other modern technologies that could help Sri Lanka become globally competitive and drive the nation towards a digitally empowered economy”. He further elaborated the recent initiative ‘Enterprise Sri Lanka’, a socio-economic advancement programme that includes among its objectives the “development of technology and technical and managerial skills” given that this has been identified as an “important constraint affecting SME and Micro sector development”.    

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Highlighting the key role that women could play in economic development including through participation in decision making, the Deputy Speaker stressed that ICT could have a significant impact enabling women empowerment and gender equality.  


Visit of the Sri Lanka - Swiss Parliamentary Friendship Association to Switzerland, 14-20 October 2018

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A delegation of Members of Parliament representing the Sri Lanka - Swiss Parliamentary Friendship Association (SLSPFA) visited Geneva on 18 October 2018, continuing with a week-long  programme of visit to Switzerland from 14 to 20 October 2018.  The multi-party delegation, led by Hon. Ananda Kumarasiri, Deputy Speaker of the Sri Lanka Parliament, comprised Hon. Jayampathy WICKRAMARATNE,  the SLSPFA President, as well as Hon. Seenithamby YOHESWARAN, Hon. J.C. ALAWATHUWALA, Hon. Edward GUNASEKARA, Hon. Dr. Sudarshini FERNANDOPULLE, Hon. Prof. Ashu MARASINGHE, Hon. Bimal RATHNAYAKE, Hon. Charles NIRMALANTHAN, Hon. K.K. PIYADASA, Hon. K. Sujith PERERA and Hon. Ishak RAHUMAN.

At the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka, the Members of Parliament were warmly welcomed by Ambassador A.L.A Azeez and Mission's staff and were hosted to a high tea reception. 


Director General of WIPO Commends Sri Lanka's Progress in Intellectual Property

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The Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Dr. Francis Gurry commended Sri Lanka on the progress achieved in several important areas of protection and promotion of Intellectual Property during his meeting with the delegation of Sri Lanka attending the 58th Series of Meetings of the Assemblies of WIPO from 24 September to 2 October 2018.

Mrs. Geethanjali Ranawaka, Director General of the National Intellectual Property Office (NIPO) of Sri Lanka, accompanied by Deputy Permanent Representative Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya and Minister Counsellor Ms. Shashika Somaratne of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Geneva held discussions with WIPO Director General on 1 October 2018. Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific of WIPO Mr. Andrew Ong was present. 


Sri Lanka says challenges related to mixed migration flows must also be addressed

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“Having dealt with issues related to internal displacement and refugee returnees, Sri Lanka recognizes the challenges associated with return and reintegration,’’ stated Deputy Permanent Representative of Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Geneva, Ms. Samantha Jayasuriya, participating at the just concluded General Debate of the 69th Session of the Executive Committee (Ex-Com) of the UNHCR in Geneva.

She noted that the Global Compact for Refugees (GCR), agreed recently following consultations in Geneva, was aimed at addressing large scale movements of refugees, but given that most movements were 'mixed flows', who were using the same routes and encounter similar needs and challenges, it was important that it must be responded to effectively at the ground level.

Sri Lanka delegate commended the agreement on GCR as a triumph for multilateralism while thanking the UNHCR and the country teams of UN agencies working in Sri Lanka for complementing the efforts of the Government. Sri Lanka reiterated its commitment to continuing its constructive engagement with the UNHCR.

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The High Commissioner for Refugees Mr. Filippo Grandi conveyed his appreciation to Sri Lanka for drawing attention of the Ex-Com to the needs and challenges of mixed migration flows, which he said was an important aspect that required collective responses at all levels. 

The Executive Committee of the UNHCR is a Forum for Annual Dialogue among States Parties to the 1951 Refugees Convention and its 1967 Protocol. Its primary objective is to assess and share experiences on addressing issues related to refugees, IDPs, Statelessness and the work and finances of the UNHCR.

Full Statement by Sri Lanka


Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to UNO


2 October 2018

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