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Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga is awarded the 2019 Common Ground Award for her vision and commitment to peace and reconciliation

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Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Sri Lanka’s first and only female President, was awarded the 2019 Common Ground Award for her vision, courage and commitment to peace and reconciliation by Search for Common Ground at a reception organized in her honour on Monday 17 June 2019 at the Cholmondeley Room, House of Lords in London. The former President received the award from Roza Otunbayeva, the 2018 Common Ground Awardee and the first female President of Kyrgyzstan.

The event was attended by Her Majesty Queen Noor al-Hussein, Honorary Chairwoman of Search for Common Ground UK who in her address commended former President Kumaratunga for her work in peace building and reconciliation, and for her steadfast commitment to democracy.  Mme Kumaratunga in her address dedicated her award to ‘the hundreds and thousands who are the unsung heroes of the struggle for peace, understanding amongst all beings’.  She also remarked that in the fight against terrorism, ‘it may be more productive to use the weapons of understanding, discourse and negotiation’, ‘coupled with an honest intent to resolve the root causes of each relevant conflict.’ Former President Kumaratunga is the Chairperson of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR).

The distinguished gathering included Lord Stone of Blackheath; Shamil Idriss, CEO of Search for Common Ground; its UK Board of Trustees chaired by Lord Purvis; UK Minister of State at the Department of International Development Dr Andrew Murrison; Envoys of Sri Lanka and Kyrgyzstan in the UK; members of the House of Lords and Commons; and civil society.

Search for Common Ground is an international non-profit organization headquartered in Washington D.C. and Brussels, whose mission is to transform the way the world deals with conflict away from adversarial approaches toward cooperative solutions.  Previous winners of the Common Ground Award include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former US President Jimmy Carter, and former President of Kyrgystan Roza Otunbayava.

 

Sri Lanka High Commission

London

25 June 2019

 

Sri Lanka Updates HRC on Human Rights Measures taken to advance Human Rights, Peace and Security

The Sri Lanka delegation to the Human Rights Council briefed the Council today on progress made in addressing human rights concerns, national security imperatives, as well as reconciliation priorities.  Sri Lanka’s intervention under Agenda Item 2 of the Council, followed the Oral Update provided by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Madam Michelle Bachelet at the opening of the 41st Session of the Human Rights Council on 24 June 2019, where a reference was made to Sri Lanka.

Clarifying the latest situation in the Country following the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks and its aftermath, Sri Lanka stated that it has made significant progress in assuring the security of all Sri Lankans and upholding law and order through the implementation of relevant laws and legal processes, among other important measures.

Sri Lanka further asserted that the national institutions in Sri Lanka continued to make interventions on issues pertaining to violence and extremism, as the Government pursued effective measures that have led to the dismantling of terrorist networks in the Country.

 

Statement is attached.

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Colombo

 

25 June 2019

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Statement by the Delegation of Sri Lanka on the Oral Update of the High Commissioner for Human Rights at 41st Session of the HRC

 

Mr. President, distinguished delegates,

 We are pleased to take the floor under Agenda Item 2 in relation to the Oral Update presented by the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Madam Michelle Bachelet, to the 41st Session of the Human Rights Council.

 We share with the High Commissioner the broad concerns expressed on several important issues where human security and human rights are at stake. We note in this context, a number of significant comments made on the role of the national human rights institutions, implementation of a strategy and action plan on hate speech, rights of migrants and statelessness, as well as concerns relating to the use of digital technology to the detriment of human rights. These are areas where we would continue to extend our cooperation to the respective human rights mechanisms in advancing further dialogue and positive outcomes.

 Mr. President, in her Oral Update, the High Commissioner also referred to the current developments in Sri Lanka, and in this regard, we wish to draw the attention of this Council to the following points:

Read more: Sri Lanka Updates HRC on Human Rights Measures taken to advance Human Rights, Peace and Security

 

Consular Mobile Service conducted in Mullaitivu, under ‘Rata Wenuwen Ekata Sitimu’ Programme

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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs participated for the fourth time, at the ‘Rata Wenuwen Ekata Sitimu’ national programme, held under the guidance of President Maithripala Sirisena, with the aim of providing swift and sustainable solutions for issues faced by the general public.

As part of this national programme coordinated by the Presidential Secretariat, the Ministry organized a consular mobile service at the Maritimepattu Divisional Secretariat in the Mullaitivu District on 07 June 2019 and participated at the Mullaitivu District Progress Review Meeting, chaired by the President on 08 June 2019.

Through the consular mobile services being conducted under the ‘Rata Wenuwen Ekata Sitimu’ national programme, the Ministry provides solutions to many problems related to migrant workers and has facilitated several cases of repatriation of migrant workers.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Colombo

19 June 2019

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State Minister of Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake assumes duties

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The newly appointed State Minister of Foreign Affairs Vasantha Senanayake assumed duties at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, today, 29 May 2019.

He was sworn in as the State Minister of Foreign Affairs this morning before President Maithripala Sirisena.

State Minister Senanayake was received by Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha, Additional Secretaries and other senior officials upon arrival at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Prior to assuming duties, the newly appointed State Minister of Foreign Affairs met with Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana at his office.

 

 

Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Colombo

 

29 May 2019

 

Sri Lanka's response to the joint statement issued by the UN Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide and the Special Advisor on the Responsibility to Protect

Responding to the joint statement issued by the United Nations Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng and the United Nations Special Advisor on the Responsibility to Protect Karen Smith on 13 May 2019, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York Ambassador Dr Rohan Perera stated that their prejudiced statement only serves to sensationalize issues at a time the government is taking stringent measures to maintain law and order and quell unrest in the interest of safety of all and that it skews the situation on the ground and interprets post-April 21 events through a narrow prism of stereotypical labels, while disregarding the deeper and more nuanced issues at play.

The full text of the response is appended below:

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Mr. Adama Dieng

United Nations Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide

 Mrs Karen Smith

United Nations Special Advisor on the Responsibility to Protect

Dear Mr. Dieng and Mrs. Smith,

The Government of Sri Lanka has carefully reviewed your joint statement of 13 May 2019, issued as a note to correspondents, where you have expressed alarm on the ‘growing acts of violence on the basis of religion’ in Sri Lanka. While noting your concerns, we were taken aback by your oversimplified narrative of events that are nuanced and complex in nature.

For the past decade, the people of Sri Lanka had been enjoying their hard-won peace and freedoms, and had embarked on the arduous path of reconciliation and national healing after nearly three decades of struggling against separatist terrorism. As has been perpetrated by ruthless terrorist groups inspired by ISIL/ Da’esh with global reach in many parts of the world, the horrendous Easter Sunday attacks were intended to create division among us and destroy the very fabric of our multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural society, and deal an intentional blow to our economy. All peace-loving citizens of Sri Lanka are still trying to come to terms with the shock and aftermath.

While we mourn the loss of innocent lives, the support and solidarity from our friends in the international community, including the UN Secretary-General, have been overwhelming. We were reminded that we are fighting a common adversary in terrorism, and its associated manifestations of radicalization and violent extremism, which had taken many innocent lives from across many parts of the world in recent times.

Read more: Sri Lanka's response to the joint statement issued by the UN Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide and the Special Advisor on the Responsibility to Protect

 

Holy Mass and Memorial Service in Solidarity with People of Sri Lanka

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On 26th April 2019, the Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Catholic Church in Etobicoke, Toronto had packed with Sri Lankans belongs to all faiths at an interfaith solidarity in Mass and Memorial service to honour the victims and to bless the injured in the wake of Easter Sunday attacks in Sri Lanka.

This event hastily organized by the Consulate General of Sri Lanka in association with the Canada-Sri Lanka Catholic Association in Toronto. The members of Federal Parliament of Canada and Provincial Parliament of Ontario, Mayor of Mississauga, Chief of Protocol of Ontario, members of the Consular corps in Toronto and other dignitaries among the participants.

Read more: Holy Mass and Memorial Service in Solidarity with People of Sri Lanka

   

Lt. Governor of Ontario province signs Condolence Book at Sri Lanka Consulate General

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Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Province, Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell visited the Sri Lanka Consulate in Toronto on 23rd April 2019 to sign the Condolence Book opened at the Consul General’s office at the Consulate in memory of the victims and all those affected by the attacks on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka. The Hon. Governor offered her sincere condolences to the people of Sri Lanka and she also expressed that “such devastating times reminds us that we are all one people and everyone stand with you in solidarity”.

Consuls General of USA, Japan, China, Korea, Turkey, UAE, Ghana, Argentina, Barbados, Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary were among the other signatories of condolence book.

 

Consulate General of Sri Lanka

Toronto

29 April 2019

   

Lt. Governor of Ontario province signs Condolence Book at Sri Lanka Consulate General

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Lieutenant Governor of Ontario Province, Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell visited the Sri Lanka Consulate in Toronto on 23rd April 2019 to sign the Condolence Book opened at the Consul General’s office at the Consulate in memory of the victims and all those affected by the attacks on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka. The Hon. Governor offered her sincere condolences to the people of Sri Lanka and she also expressed that “such devastating times reminds us that we are all one people and everyone stand with you in solidarity”.

Consuls General of USA, Japan, China, Korea, Turkey, UAE, Ghana, Argentina, Barbados, Bulgaria, Serbia and Hungary were among the other signatories of condolence book.

Consulate General of Sri Lanka

Toronto

29 April 2019

   

First ever Sinhalese Heritage Day and 43rd Annual New Year Celebrations at the Parliament of Canada

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The inaugural Sinhalese Heritage Day and 43rd Annual New Year Celebration organized by the Sri Lanka Canada Association of Ottawa (SLCAO) was held at the Parliament in Canada on 27th April 2019. This event was organized in collaboration with Canada Sinhalese Association of Toronto, Sri Lanka United National association (SLUNA) of Toronto, Sri Lanka Canada Association of Manitoba (SLAM) and Friends of Sri Lanka in Montreal among others.

The ceremony comprised of Sri Lankan cultural dance/music performances, heritage stations exhibiting various aspects of Sinhalese heritage and complementary traditional Sri Lankan Food. The Sri Lanka High Commission station promoted Sri Lanka as a tourist destination and served complementary Ceylon tea to the visitors who attended the event.

Read more: First ever Sinhalese Heritage Day and 43rd Annual New Year Celebrations at the Parliament of Canada

   

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