Statement by Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva, Ambassador A.L.A Azeez, at the 42nd Session of the Human Rights Council – 11 September 2019

Mr. President,

Subsequent to the most abominable terrorist attacks over 4 months ago on Easter Sunday Sri Lanka was put to test. However, we witnessed the continued resilience of Sri Lanka’s security forces to protect the country and its people, while ensuring fundamental rights, consistent with the pledges it has made before this Council. These range from the speedy restoration of security which has minimized the impact on the country’s socio-economic fabric and upheld its international reputation, the lifting of the State of Emergency within 4 months, providing the ICRC full access to individuals detained, engaging in an informed debate on seeking to upgrade the new counter terrorism legislation, and in deference to the sensitivities of the Muslim community, adjustment of the regulation banning full facial cover attire. The Government remains committed to combating hate speech and all forms of crimes directed against ethnic and religious communities and is taking steps to counter religious radicalization and violent extremism.

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States parties commend Sri Lanka’s leadership to Humanitarian Disarmament

Ambassador Azeez making closing remarks

The 9th Meeting of States Parties (MSP) to the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM) concluded its deliberations in Geneva on 4 September 2019 under the Presidency of Sri Lanka. States parties, signatories, observer states and international and civil society organizations participated in the three-day meeting which convened its first session on 2 September 2019.

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Sri Lanka High Commission in London conducts economic outreach programme on ‘Investment and Trade Opportunities in Sri Lanka’ targeting the British – Sri Lankan community

High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Manisha Gunasekera addressing the forum

The Sri Lanka High Commission in London organized a roundtable presentation followed by a networking lunch on ‘Investment and Trade Opportunities in Sri Lanka’ for the British – Sri Lankan business community, on Monday 2 September 2019, at the Holiday Inn Kensington High Street in London.  The roundtable was the first diaspora outreach event organised by the Sri Lanka High Commission under the Economic Diplomacy Programme (EDP) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, and was supported by the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade and the Board of Investment (BOI) of Sri Lanka.  Selected members of the British – Sri Lankan community representing all ethnicities, i.e., Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim, with investment or trade potential or already engaged in business, participated in the roundtable on the invitation of the High Commission.  A unique feature of the roundtable was the opportunity it provided to tap into a significant portion of the diaspora hitherto not engaged by the High Commission.

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Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Companies Participate in the International Jewellery London (IJL) 2019 at Olympia, London.

Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in the UK Manisha Gunasekera and Commercial Section staff headed by Minister Commercial Dr Lakmini Mendis visited the stalls of M/s. Ceylon Jewellery Manufacturers and M/s. MAM Gems from Sri Lanka which showcased their gem and jewellery products, designs and craftsmanship at the International Jewellery London (IJL) 2019 held in Olympia, London from 01 to 03 September 2019.  Retail buyers from more than 70 countries participated in the IJL, which annually showcases the best of luxury products, design and craftsmanship as a pre-eminent destination for British jewellery and leading global brands.

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British Ceylon Tea Companies Showcase their Products at Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2019 at Olympia, London

The High Commissioner of Sri Lanka in the United Kingdom Manisha Gunasekera and staff of the Commercial Section led by Minister Commercial Dr Lakmini Mendis visited the stalls of two British companies, M/s. Robert Wilson Family Teas and M/s. English Tea Shop (UK), which showcased their unique and speciality teas at the Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2019 held in Olympia, London from 1 to 3 September 2019. A highlight was M/s. Robert Wilson Family Teas with family links to Sri Lanka going back six generations, which had won 3 stars at the Great Taste Awards organised by the Guild of Fine Food for their Ceylon teas.  Speciality & Fine Food Fair provides a unique platform for more than 700 producers of artisan food & drink to showcase their products, network and get up to speed with the latest trends in the business.

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Sri Lanka seeks assistance in preventing violent extremism

 Sri Lanka has sought expertise in preventing violent extremism (PVE) from the Global Community Engagement & Resilience Fund (GCERF), in the post Easter Sunday scenario where violent extremism has become the biggest threat to national security. At the invitation of the Foreign Ministry, the Executive Director of GCERF, Dr. Khalid Koser was in Sri Lanka from 27 – 30 August, and met with political leaders, senior officials and other stakeholders with a view to ascertain possible programmes for GCERF assistance.

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Appointment of Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva, Commander of the Sri Lanka Army

With reference to comments that have appeared since the above appointment, the following is noted:

  • The appointment of the Army Commander of Sri Lanka is a sovereign decision by the Head of State.
  • Foreign entities trying to influence the decisions and internal administrative processes of public service promotions in Sri Lanka is unwarranted and unacceptable.
  • Articulating a position of concern on this appointment by certain bilateral partners and international organizations, based on allegations, is regrettable and contrary to the principles of natural justice espoused by all responsible members of the international community.

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