Recent Decisions in the CD, a consolation to fill gaps in substantive work, says Ambassador Azeez

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Delivering his initial address to the Conference of Disarmament (CD) of the United Nations, Ambassador Azeez stated that the inaction in the CD over the past twenty years has only led to the loss of a generation of professionals and experts in the field of Disarmament. He stressed “the gap in Disarmament Education is now all too glaring".

Thanking Sweden and Switzerland for giving leadership to the CD at this most crucial time, followed by Sri Lanka early this year, the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka added that negotiations in the CD, by their very nature, involved addressing challenging issues, exchange of perspectives, and understanding.

The essential task of that process remained as one of endeavouring to achieve consensus outcomes. The eventual goal of general and complete disarmament underpinned the fulfilment of that task, he emphasised.

Full statement

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka


22 May 2018

Inter – agency cooperation vital to ensure labour migration benefits to Developing Countries. Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative

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UN Agencies working together on cross-cutting issues such as labour and migration is vital to ensuring that benefits of such collaborative enterprises percolate to the countries in need, stated Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to United Nations in Geneva, during a meeting he had with Mr. Guy Rider, Director-General of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). He expressed the view that in each area where there is expertise available in one or more Agencies, it was important to develop ‘networking’ with the facilitation of a convener, to enable cross-fertilisation of ideas, and to improve internal cohesion across the UN system.

Acknowledging the need to break silos, DG Rider stated that the UN has undertaken a system-wide strategic plan to reform the UN Development Pillar and that it would be aligned in support of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs.

Ambassador Azeez, recalling Sri Lanka’s active engagement in enhancing and promoting the rights and welfare of the labour migrants in the Asia – GCC Corridor as the current Chair of the Abu-Dhabi Dialogue (ADD), stated that Sri Lanka would be hosting an intersessional meeting in Colombo in May 2018, where the issues being discussed would be in line with the ILO’s Decent Work Framework.


Sri Lanka a major player in Migration Health says Director General of IOM

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Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador  A.L.A Azeez, called on the Director General of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Ambassador William Lacy Swing. The IOM Chief commended Sri Lanka’s prominent role in promoting the Agenda on Migration Health, including by co-hosting the 2nd Global Consultation on Migration Health in Colombo in February 2017. The DG appreciated the statement delivered on behalf of the Hon. Minister of Health, at the recently held International Dialogue on Migration (IDM) in New York, which acknowledged the significant role that IOM was playing in advancing the SDGs.

Highlighting IOM’s enhanced collaboration with the Government of Sri Lanka, with the undertaking of varied programmes such as post-arrival migration health, border management strategy, and support for Sri Lanka migrants abroad, Ambassador Lacy expressed satisfaction at the current level of engagement which he referred to as having “grown exponentially in the past few years”. He further complemented Sri Lanka’s Chairmanship of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue (ADD) and its long held leadership to the Colombo Process (CP), calling it “one of the most vibrant Regional Consultative Processes (RCP) of IOM”.


Sri Lanka has made considerable strides in the IT sector says Secretary-General of ITU

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Welcoming Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka in his office, Mr. Houlin Zhao, the Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) recalled his previous visits to the “beautiful country”, long before he became the ITU Secretary-General. Referring to higher social indicators that Sri Lanka has achieved including in literacy, he complimented Sri Lanka for making considerable strides in the IT Sector. It was satisfying that Sri Lanka has been placed as an important hub in regional trade and economic networks, he said.

Ambassador Azeez apprised the Secretary-General on the policy initiatives by the Government to integrate ITU as a key element in its national endeavours to realize SDGs in Sri Lanka. He stressed that through the effective implementation of SDGs, supported by advances in IT, the Government of Sri Lanka has envisioned to enhance economic and development gains for all peoples. In this context he explained the policy initiatives taken by Sri Lanka to bring ICT into ‘Sri Lanka Sustainability Strategy 2030’ which is being finalized. He also recalled the ratification by the Government of Sri Lanka of the Budapest Convention on Cyber Crimes, which demonstrated Sri Lanka’s proactive involvement in promoting ICT within the country and abroad.

Ambassador Azeez expressed Sri Lanka’s full support and cooperation in making ICT a central element in the SDGs as ITU moved forward with implementation of the UN Development Agenda. He assured the Secretary-General that ITU’s efforts in forging greater partnership among Member States leading to a successful review of implementation of the UN Development Agenda in 2020,- five years after its adoption, would help further enhance ITU’s role and standing in the International Development Community.

Sri Lanka Permanent Mission 


21 May 2018

Statement by Sri Lanka at the 28th Special Session of the Human Rights Council on the Deteriorating Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory

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Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Sri Lanka Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, delivering a Statement on behalf of the Government of Sri Lanka at the 28th Special Session of the Human Rights Council today, 18 May 2018, emphasized that the security of all civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT) should receive the utmost consideration and that their human rights should be upheld and protected at all times. 

He further stressed "Diplomacy and political leadership still have immense potential to carry dialogue through to success if pursued diligently, having regard to the fundamentals of a Two State solution". 

Full Statement , Sinhala, Tamil


Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka
18 May 2018   

The myth of inferiority attributed to women over centuries must be dispelled, Sri Lanka urges the UN Expert Forum in Geneva

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Addressing experts, Governments, and other participants at the Intersessional Expert Meeting on the full enjoyment of human rights by all women and girls and the systematic mainstreaming of gender perspective into the implementation of the 2030 Agenda, Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva stated “It is incumbent on all stakeholders to strive to create a culture of respect for equality and non-discrimination and to work towards dispelling the myth of inferiority attributed to women over centuries”. He called for all stakeholders to work together to ensure a dignified life and a better future for all women and girls.

The Intersessional Expert Meeting began its two day session in Geneva today, with the opening remarks of Ms. Kate Gilmore, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, followed by presentations by experts representing different UN agencies and an interactive dialogue.

Carefully thought-through and targeted approaches geared to empowering women”, Ambassador Azeez stated, were “imperative for the effective advancement of development goals in national and international programmes.”

He emphasized that ensuring access to quality health services and quality education would significantly improve life chances and better employment opportunities for women and girls. “Such empowered women and girls can bring transformational improvements in the health and prosperity of families, communities, societies and nations they live in”, he remarked.

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Sharing the experiences of Sri Lanka in recent times, he outlined the measures taken by the Government to address challenges faced by women, such as the adoption of a National Action Plan for prevention of gender based violence (GBV) and the National Human Rights Action Plan (2017-2021) as well as the enactment of legislation aimed at increasing women representation in local governing authorities.

Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative reiterated that achieving gender equality was not just an issue of women and girls, and that it went way beyond, calling for the active involvement of all stakeholders.

Full Statement

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka


2 May 2018

UNCTAD Secretary General Compliments Sri Lanka for its Positive Role

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Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva met with the Secretary General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi at UNCTAD headquarters, on 30th April 2018. UNCTAD Secretary General appreciated Sri Lanka for the active role played and the productive contribution made towards the effective operationalization of the organization in its establishment phase as well as for the continued support and cooperation extended in the implementation of UNCTAD’s agenda and programmes.

Ambassador Azeez took the opportunity to reaffirm Sri Lanka's commitment to the work undertaken by UNCTAD, in particular towards facilitating and strengthening developing countries’ integration into the globalized economy and their implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. He assured the UNCTAD Secretary General that Sri Lanka would further enhance its partnership and would proactively contribute to the ongoing activities of UNCTAD.

Having highlighted Sri Lanka’s continuing cooperation with UNCTAD on a number of prioroty areas such as Investment, Electronic Commerce, Science and Technology and Commodity Development, among others, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative projected Sri Lanka as an important venue for hosting multilateral and regional activities of UNCTAD in the future.

UNCTAD is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964. Its primary mandate is to provide a forum to deal with issues relating to trade, investment, and development affecting progress and prospects for development of developing countries. UNCTAD, pursuant to this mandate, extends assistance to developing countries in their efforts to effectively integrate into the world economy on an equitable basis.

Sri Lanka Permanent Mission


1st May 2018

Sri Lanka says ‘In Development Dialogue, Addressing poverty and other constraints in imperative’.


While individual States have the primary responsibility for national development, the need for further collective efforts and collaboration, between States and between numerous stakeholders, in addressing poverty, disasters, conflicts and health hazards are imperative, Sri Lanka said on 23rd April 2018, addressing the General Debate of the 19th Session of the Working Group on Right to Development (RtD). Sri Lanka’s Delegate Minister Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka in Geneva Ms. Shashika Somaratne, while taking note of the progress made so far by the Working Group, reiterated the call for finalizing as a matter of urgency, the criteria and the operational sub-criteria, which are being under negotiation since 2010. In this context, she drew attention to the proposal by the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), on a set of standards regarding the implementation of the Right to Development and the non-paper aimed at finalizing the consideration of the criteria and sub-criteria with a view, to facilitate the process.  

In this context she further said that in Sri Lanka, the Government through its “Vision 2025 : A Country Enriched” policy document, has now launched a comprehensive framework to alleviate poverty, address regional disparities within the country, and promote prosperity to all its people, with a view to ensuring the holistic realization of Human Rights while implementing the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. In addition, the Sustainable Development Act has been enacted by the Parliament in October 2017, and Sri Lanka will share its experience during the June 2018 High Level Political Forum (HLPF) of the ECOSOC in New York, by submitting its National Voluntary Review (NVR), on “Transformation towards Sustainable Resilient Societies”.

Full Statement

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to UN in Geneva

24th April 2018

Sri Lanka says Securing a World free of Nuclear Weapons foremost priority

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“Building a better and secure future for all is a shared call that we can shirk only at our own peril”, stated Ambassador A.L.A.Azeez, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, addressing the Second Preparatory Committee Meeting of State Parties to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) today.

Ambassador Azeez highlighted the importance of the NPT as the global regime for nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament that called for a balanced and non-discriminatory approach to building international peace and security. He stressed that the non-proliferation treaty regime should be taken forward, while promoting and safe guarding the economic development prospects for all, through equal access to the technology advancing peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

He also called upon the State Parties to seriously address the prevalent dichotomy between the lack of progress in disarmament and increasing emphasis and efforts on non-proliferation, urging them to “manifest their support for, and investment in, disarmament training and education provided by the UN and other organizations” .

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The Second Preparatory Meeting that began its deliberations on 23rd April 2018 in Geneva would continue until 4th May 2018 and is aimed to help evolve a negotiated outcome at the NPT Review Conference to be held in New York in April/May 2020.

Full Statement 


Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to UN in Geneva

24th April 2018

Ambassador Azeez says positive spirit generated in the CD can be carried through to the NPT discussions

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The window of opportunity that was opened up, and the positive spirit generated in moving forward the substantive work in the Conference of Disarmament (CD) with the adoption of Decision 2119 under the Presidency of Sri Lanka, ’can be carried through to creatively looking at ways and means of arriving at a negotiated outcome at the 2020 NPT Review Conference,’ said Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez, Permanent Representative of  Sri Lanka in Geneva. He made these remarks chairing a panel session titled Reviving the NPT and Conference on Disarmament: Means and Processes to Ensure Success’ at the Framework Forum Roundtable, co-organized in Geneva on 19th April 2018, by the Geneva Centre for Security Policy (GCSP) and several other organizations.

Echoing the words of the UN Secretary General who stated that “it is time to translate the Decision into resumption of negotiations”, Ambassador Azeez added “this development has come up at a critical time when there is growing impatience among the non-proliferation and disarmament community over the long spell of ‘inaction’, spanning over two decades”.

Noting that the second round of consultations of the parties to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, are to commence next week in Geneva, to prepare for the NPT review in 2020, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative remarked “While non-proliferation should receive a clear focus along with a pronounced emphasis on peaceful use of nuclear energy, the advancement of these objectives would be effective and meaningful when sustained efforts towards the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons follow in tandem”. He said “it was time to be imaginative, yet pragmatic”.

Mr. Sico van der Meer, Clingendal Institute, the Netherlands, and Ms. Tarja Cronberg, Chair,Middle Powers Initiative, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute(SIPRI), joined this panel as speakers addressed ‘How to make the NPT RevCom in 2020 a success?’ and ‘Long term reform needs for the NPT survival?’ respectively.

Full Statement

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka


20 April 2018

Ambassador Azeez Presents Credentials in Geneva

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Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez presented Credentials today, (12th April) to Mr. Michael Møller, the Director-General of the United Nations Office in Geneva, accrediting him as the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva.

Welcoming the new Permanent Representative, Director General Mr. Møller apprised him of the diverse areas in which his Office remained engaged in Geneva and highlighted the integrated SDG Lab, Gender Parity Campaign, and UN Strategic Heritage Plan as among the important priorities. He called upon Sri Lanka to contribute towards the advancement of these initiatives while continuing the leading role that Sri Lanka has played in the field of disarmament and other areas.

Ambassador Azeez elaborated the measures taken by the Government of Sri Lanka to advance SDGs as well as the ongoing programmes and plans aimed to improve the socio economic conditions of the people. He reiterated that it was the policy of the Government of Sri Lanka to remain engaged in constructive dialogue and cooperation with the United Nations, in a manner that advances the welfare of all Sri Lankans.

A career Foreign Service Officer with 26 years of experience, Ambassador Azeez previously served as the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Organisations in Vienna from 2011 – 2015. He coordinated EU related matters and multilateral treaties, acting as Additional Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately prior to his new assignment.

In Vienna, he had held the Chairmanship of the Group of 77 and Working Group of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBTO), in addition to the Presidency of the United Nations Industrial Development Board and the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

Press Release

UNOG Press Release

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka


12 April 2018

The Impact of Technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI) on Achieving the SDGs is Becoming Apparent

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As we pursue Sustainable Development targets with an objective to ‘leave no one behind by 2030’, it is becoming apparent that the kind of impact technology and AI can make in realising the 17 SDG’s and its 169 targets, the CDA a.i. of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to UN, Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya said addressing the Meeting of the Group of Governmental Experts (GCE) on Emerging Technologies in the areas of Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS) held in Geneva on 9th April 2018. The use of AI to automate UNDP’s Rapid Integrated Assessment (RIA) systems, which helps in determining a country’s readiness for implementation of the Global Development Agenda, and in building interlinkages among national and sectoral policies is clearly, among one of the many positive narratives of the peaceful application of AI, she noted.

Highlighting that there are several challenges before the GGE, Sri Lanka stated that a careful study of different definitions available so far, and an objective consideration of the language used in different national defence doctrines could serve as the first step in finding a ‘working definition’ for LAWS. The degree to which AI has already been built into military weapons systems and the accepted degree of autonomy related to the critical functions of these weapons, the ‘predictability’ of their functions and the ‘reliability’ of its operations under changing conditions during a conflict is another challenge. Also, the difficulty of the ‘attribution of accountability’ is getting blur with the use of AI in military weapons systems. Nevertheless, the test of public conscience and laws of humanity as referred to in the Martens Clause should guide the Member States, even if any IHL principles are founded to be inapplicable, Sri Lanka stated.


"Sri Lanka makes its best contributions to the international community when it leads from the centre" - Ambassador Aryasinha

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Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha has said "Sri Lanka makes its best contributions to the international community when it leads from the centre", rather than positioning itself in a manner "either to be taken for granted, or to remain isolated".

The Ambassador who this week relinquishes his tour of duty as Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, made this observation in his farewell address to the Conference on Disarmament (CD) on 27th March 2018, where last month under Sri Lanka's Presidency, the Conference unanimously adopted Decision CD/2119 setting up 5 subsidiary bodies to commence substantive work. Addressing the High-Level Segment of the CD, UN Secretary-General António Guterres welcoming this Decision stated, “I believe you are off to the best start in nearly two decades, and I look forward to building on this new momentum”.

Recalling that for long years Sri Lanka had been an active player in the field of disarmament, Ambassador Aryasinha expressed satisfaction that Sri Lanka was once again able to make a meaningful contribution through CD/2119 during its recent Presidency, notwithstanding the challenging global environment we live in today. He said the decision "was a balance between flexibility and safeguards, and it offered a framework for a more focused and continued debate on all core issues on the CD agenda. “I believe this has the potential of being an irreversible first step in getting the CD back to work, and in asserting its credibility as the single multilateral forum for negotiating disarmament treaties" he said.


Speaker addresses the IPU Assembly in Geneva

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Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has welcomed the opportunity for Sri Lanka to host the South Asian Speakers’ Summit on Achieving the SDGs from11 - 12 Jul 2018 in Colombo. The Speaker, who is presently in Geneva to participate in the 138th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) at a meeting with the President of the IPU, Senator Hon. Gabriela Cuevas Barron from Mexico invited the President to attend this event as the guest of honour.

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The Sri Lanka delegation to the IPU Assembly comprised of the Minister of Law and Order R.M.Ranjith Madduma Bandara, the State Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government, Sriyani Wijewickrama, Members of Parliament E. Saravanapavan, Kanchana Wijesekera, and Secretary-General of Parliament Mr. Dhammika Dasanayake. Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya, Deputy Permanent Representative and Ms. Dulmini Dahanayake, Second Secretary of the Permanent Mission were associated with the delegation.


Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, Tilak Marapana, addresses the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC)

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Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, Hon. Tilak Marapana, PC., MP, addressed the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) following the presentation of the report of  the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Sri Lanka by Ms. Kate Gilmore, the Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, today 21 March 2018.

Hon. (Dr) Sarath Amunugama, Minister of Special Assignments, Hon. Faiszer Musthapha, Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva, Mr. Mano Tittawella, Secretary General, Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms (SCRM), Mr. A.L.A. Azeez, Addl.Secretary/EU, Commonwealth and Multilateral Treaties of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Nerin Pulle, Deputy Solicitor General, Attorney General’s Department, Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN, Ms. Mahishini Colonne, Director General/UN, US and Canada of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Prashanthi Mahindaratne, Advisor to the Hon. Prime Minister and the diplomatic officers of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva were associated with the Foreign Minister. 

Full Statement by the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs

Festina Lente document as at 20 March 2018 


Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to UN in Geneva

21 March 2018

Sri Lanka’s UPR Report Adopted

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The adoption of the Universal Periodic Review Report on Sri Lanka took place this afternoon at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. Sri Lanka was represented by Permanent Representative Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha and assisted by the Deputy Permanent Representative Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya.

The Statement made by Ambassador Aryasinha


Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to UN in Geneva

19 March 2018

Sri Lanka’s leadership at the Geneva based Conference on Disarmament commended

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The Decision arrived at during Sri Lanka’s Presidency of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) to resume substantive work, and the role played in this regard by Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, has been commended during the High-Level Segment of the CD held in Geneva this week.

In his address to the CD on Monday (26 February 2018), the UN Secretary-General (UNSG) Antonio Guterres, referred to the recent Decision of 16 February 2018 as an effort “to find ways to break the long-standing stalemate in this Conference". He further said “I believe you are off to the best start in nearly two decades, and I look forward to building on this new momentum”.

At a follow-up meeting held on the sidelines of the High-Level segment, UNSG’s High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Izumi Nakamitsu said she was "deeply impressed and grateful for the leadership offered by Ambassador Aryasinha in adopting the Decision which is a contribution not only to the CD, but also towards the overall objective of disarmament". She requested Sri Lanka to help with the immediate next steps in the implementation of the recent CD Decision.


UN Secretary General welcomes Decision adopted under Sri Lanka’s Presidency to advance work of the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva

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The Conference on Disarmament (CD) presided over by Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha, on Friday (16 February 2018), adopted a Decision to establish five subsidiary bodies to discuss all items in its agenda, with a view to advance the substantive work of the Conference. The Decision described as a "well-brokered balance between flexibility and safeguards and offered a framework for a more focused and continued debate on core issues", seeks to bring the CD back to its original mandate of negotiating disarmament instruments. Since its negotiation of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) in 1996, the CD is yet to negotiate any new treaty. 

In a statement released the same evening in New York, the Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said "the Secretary-General welcomes the decision adopted today by the Conference on Disarmament to take forward its substantive work. The Secretary-General commends the Members of the Conference for achieving this positive step, which he hopes will lead to resumption of negotiations on effective measures for disarmament and arms control. The current international security situation underscores the vital need to restore disarmament as an integral component of our collective efforts to prevent armed conflict and to maintain international peace and security". It added that "the Secretary-General urges Member States to make use of this opening, redouble their efforts and forge a new consensus for disarmament".


Ambassador Aryasinha says "Sri Lanka has never shied away from taking its fair share of responsibility in the UN system"

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Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha has said, over the 70 years since Independence Sri Lanka has never shied away from taking its fair share of responsibility in the UN system, which has helped Sri Lanka build an image as a moderate, and progressive partner, able to bridge differences and build consensus. He said, in Geneva, Sri Lanka continues to give leadership on a wide range of issues such as disarmament, migration, human rights, health, intellectual property, science and technology and international trade policy.

Ambassador Aryasinha made these observations when he addressed representatives of the diplomatic community, UN and other international organizations based in Geneva and friends of Sri Lanka, at a ceremony held to celebrate Sri Lanka's 70th Anniversary of Independence, at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) on Tuesday, 6th February, 2018. Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ambassador R.D.S. Kumararatne, Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN Mrs. Samantha Jayasuriya and Mission staff were associated with the Ambassador at the event.


The 70th Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s independence celebrated in Geneva

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The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva celebrated the 70th Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s Independence in a grand manner, on 4th February 2018 at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) with the participation of over 250 members of the Sri Lankan community in Switzerland.

The ceremonial event for the community to mark the 70th Independence Day commenced with the hoisting of the National Flag followed by the singing of the National Anthem in Sinhala. Two minutes silence was observed in hounouring all patriots, who sacrificed their lives to preserve and protect the freedom, unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. 

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Following the lighting of the traditional oil lamp, multi-religious observances were conducted. Ven. Thawalama Dhammika Thero, Ven. Halyale Wimalarathana Thero and Ven. Halwitigala Sujatha Thero invoked blessings according to the Buddhist religious tradition. Rev. Uma Shankar Kurukkal conducted the Hindu religious observances. Mr. A.M. Zawahir conducted the Islamic religious observances. Rev. Sister Philo Jesudasan, Rev. Sister Clarista Benedict and Mrs. Sandra Bandaranaike conducted the Christian religious observances.


President's Independence Day Message

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If one is to truly fathom the value of independence, it is essential to understand the pain being oppressed and subservient in the face of a foreign power. This is why we are grateful to all our heroes who sacrificed their lives in order to restore and sustain our nation’s independence. On a day like today, when the value of freedom is commemorated, the nation pays tribute to its true patriots whose contribution to our motherland is invaluable.

As Sri Lanka celebrates seven decades of independence, it is appropriate to reflect on how far we have come as a nation. In terms of achieving human development, and various social, economic, and political challenges we were faced with, the progress we have achieved over this period is laudable.

I believe that as a nation with a unique identity, we have what it takes to overcome any challenge. We have proven it throughout our history. Today, we must show once again that Sri Lanka is a nation that can rise within a short span of time. We have to undertake many a mission, including achieving inclusive green growth, national reconciliation, and uplifting the quality and competitiveness of our human capital in a global scale.

We must also remember that true freedom does not comprise only of political freedom. Our independence is not complete until economic and cultural freedom is achieved. In our journey towards economic freedom, this year is  a crucial one.

As a country, our future successes lie in our commitment to achieve long term goals with firm determination, as we have done in the past. Completion of the Moragahakanda reservoir as the last massive step in the Mahaweli development programme is a testimony to our perseverance and commitment to meet such long term goals.   This year has been declared the “National Food Production Year”, with hopes to reach the goal of food security, a dream that our nation has had since independence.

On this occasion that we celebrate seven decades of Independence, I pledge to fulfil all my duties towards mother Lanka, and I emphasize that our true strength is in our unity and determination.


Maithripala Sirisena                                                                           

February 4, 2018

PDF Document
Sinhala Text (PDF)
Tamil Text (PDF)

Prime Minister's Independence Day Message

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This year, we celebrate 70 years of independence from colonial rule. It is an occasion for us to remember that we were only able to achieve independence with the participation of all communities coming together towards a common goal.

It is our responsibility to keep in mind that true independence is only possible when we can unite as one nation, rising above political, religious and ethnic differences.  Only then is independence truly significant and meaningful to all.

Freedom is fulfilled when human dignity and spiritual liberty is attained - in addition to social, political and economic freedom.

Since being elected to power, our Government has consistently focused on creating the right social and political climate needed to build a society that is indeed free and stable.

Under a theme of One Nation, the 70th Independence Day celebrations that are held today, reflect our legacy as a free nation. My hope is to see all Sri Lanka unite as one to sustain freedom for all.

Let's strive to be a people truly committed to our nation's progress on this Independence Day.


Ranil Wickremesinghe 
Prime Minister

PDF Document
Sinhala Text (PDF)
Tamil Text (PDF)

Foreign Minister's Independence Day Message

Today, as Sri Lanka celebrates her 70th Anniversary of Independence, I wish to convey my warm greetings to all Sri Lankans residing in the country as well as in various parts of the world. On this solemn occasion, I would like to pay homage not only to those who fought hard to gain independence, but also to the thousands who subsequently sacrificed their lives to safeguard this independence.

Each anniversary of Independence is an important milestone in our journey for us to reflect on our achievements during the past and evaluate the challenges lying ahead. Sri Lanka, as a nation, can be proud of its performance in the past and its commitment to democratic traditions including the Rule of Law, achievements made in important areas such as education and health as well as the talented human capital of the country, which is its most valuable asset. However, unfortunately, our progress had been hindered and marred by conflict. 

With that traumatic past behind us, all Sri Lankans should now work together, shedding their differences, to create a better future for the generations to come and to compensate for the lost opportunities due to various reasons. We must endeavor to create a new Sri Lanka, where reconciliation and sustainable peace would reign along with economic prosperity. This is the firm resolve that we, as Sri Lankans, must make when we celebrate the 70th Anniversary of our Independence. In this context, the Government is committed to redouble its efforts to meaningfully develop the country with a view to increasing productivity and connectivity, and creating a firm foundation for all Sri Lankans to emerge as a strong nation in the region and the world.

Tilak Marapana, PC, MP 
Minister of Foreign Affairs 
4th February 2018

PDF Document
Sinhala Text (PDF)
Tamil Text (PDF)


Sri Lanka assumes the Presidency of the Conference on Disarmament


Sri Lanka has called on member states of the Conference on Disarmament (CD) to seek to bring back the necessary attention at the highest political levels to the CD, in order to maintain the integrity and credibility of the Conference, as well as to create forward movement and momentum.

Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha made this call today (23rd January) on the occasion of Sri Lanka assuming the responsibility of the CD as its first President of the 2018 session. Sri Lanka assumes the Presidency of the CD after 11 years.


Director General of the WHO says World Health Day 2018 will be celebrated in Sri Lanka

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Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General (DG) of the World Health Organization (WHO) announced today in Geneva during the 142nd Session of the Executive Board of the WHO that the World Health Day 2018 will be celebrated in Sri Lanka. This year’s theme will be the Universal Health Coverage (UHC).

The DG congratulating Sri Lanka which celebrates the 70th Anniversary of its Independence next month, said "there is no more fitting place for this event, as you know, Sri Lanka has a long history of providing free healthcare for its people.”


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