Madam High Commissioner,
Ladies and gentlemen,
The OHCHR Report which is presented today, emanates from the Resolution 30/1 and 40/1, from which the Government of Sri Lanka announced its withdrawal of co-sponsorship, at the 43rd Session of this Council last year.
Sri Lanka rejects the High Commissioner’s Report which has unjustifiably broadened its scope and mandate further, incorporating many issues of governance and matters that are essentially domestic for any self-respecting, sovereign country. This is in complete violation of Article 2 (7) of the Charter of the UN that states: “Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state…”
The trajectory that has emerged with regard to the recommendations and conclusions reflects the preconceived, politicized and prejudicial agenda which certain elements have relentlessly pursued against Sri Lanka. These recommendations are based on ill-founded allegations.
Sri Lanka categorically rejects the conclusions and recommendations in the High Commissioner’s Report.
( Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? Latin phrase found in the work of the Roman poet Juvenal from his Satires )
Statement by H.E. Mohan Peiris, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka at the General Assembly: Briefing by the Secretary-General on the "Call to Action for Human Rights" - Informal meeting of the plenary, 75th session
At the invitation of the Prime Minister of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, H.E. Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, H.E. Imran Khan paid a two-day official visit to Sri Lanka on 23-24 February 2021.
2. Prime Minister Imran Khan was accompanied by a high-level delegation, comprising Federal Ministers and senior Government officials. This was the first visit by the Prime Minister of Pakistan to Sri Lanka since the formation of the new governments in both the countries, clearly reflecting the warmth and goodwill between the governments and peoples of the two countries. Prime Minister Imran Khan received a warm ceremonial welcome by the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of Ministers of Sri Lanka.
3. During the visit, Prime Minister Imran Khan held delegation-level meetings with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka. Both sides comprehensively reviewed the multifaceted bilateral relationship in diverse fields of cooperation. The talks were held in a warm and cordial atmosphere, marked by mutual trust and respect. The visit afforded a timely opportunity to both sides to further build upon their close and regular consultations, particularly in the areas identified during the recently held Foreign Secretary-level Bilateral Political Consultations, Joint Economic Commission session, and the Commerce Secretaries-level Talks.
The visiting Pakistan Minister of Foreign Affairs Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi called on Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena at the Foreign Ministry today, 24 February 2021.
Foreign Minister Qureshi, who accompanied Prime Minister Imran Khan in his high-level two-day official visit to Sri Lanka reassured Pakistan’s continued solidarity and support for Sri Lanka’s efforts to achieve sustainable development, economic growth, stability and prosperity. Both Ministers endorsed the notion that the relationship needs the transformation towards closer economic relations for the mutual benefit.
The two Ministers agreed to strengthen the multifaceted bilateral relationship through the ongoing commercial activities under the Pakistan Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (PSFTA) to achieve the desired target of US $ 1 Billion annual two-way trade. Both sides are vying to expand the bilateral trade relationship to new domains such as investments, services and finance beyond the current threshold of activities under the PSFTA.
Madam High Commissioner,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
1. As I address you today, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has published a report on Sri Lanka accompanied by an unprecedented propaganda campaign on that report.
2. Sri Lankan heroic armed forces militarily neutralized the LTTE in 2009 after three-decades of conflict. The Sri Lanka Government acted in self-defense to safeguard the unitary state, sovereignty & territorial integrity from the world’s most ruthless separatist terrorist organization.
3. The LTTE is the only terrorist organization in the world which has killed two world leaders: a serving President of Sri Lanka and a former Prime Minister of India extending its terror beyond the borders of Sri Lanka.
4. End of terrorism guaranteed the most cherished of all human rights - right to life of all Sri Lankans – Sinhala, Tamil, and Muslims.
5. Nonetheless hegemonic forces colluded against Sri Lanka in bringing an unsubstantiated resolution against Sri Lanka which was defeated by the support of friendly nations who remain by Sri Lanka’s side even today. Further resolutions were presented to this Council on purely political motives. In each instance Sri Lanka presented the procedural improprieties, and how such processes could set a dangerous precedent affecting all member states of the United Nations.
Throughout history racism, xenophobia and discrimination have indeed tested our democratic values and the contemporary forms of discrimination presents to us major challenges in our quest for peace and social stability. The unabated tirade of hate speech, a resurgence of nationalist populism and organizations that promote ideologies of racial superiority are debacles for all of us. How do we move beyond the rhetoric and move forward to address these issues? This brings to mind the late President Nelson Mandela when he said and I quote:
“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” - unquote
My delegation takes this opportunity to extend warm felicitations to you and the members of the Bureau on your election. Sri Lanka aligns with the statement made by Guinea on behalf of the Group of 77 & China.
The Commission for Social Development is convening this year while we are at a juncture in our efforts to realize the 2030 Agenda whilst mitigating the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is indeed a moment to reflect on how we got here and what the future holds for us. Though we committed in 1995 to implement and monitor the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development, we find ourselves in a situation where poverty, unemployment and social exclusion continue to be rampant unabated in every part of the world. Did we really need to wait until a microscopic virus exposed to us the inequalities that exist in our world order and weaknesses of our current systems to do something about this?
I wish to thank the Permanent Missions of Canada, Rwanda and Uruguay as well as the UN Department of Peace Operations and the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace and Security for organizing this important event. Particularly, today, as we mark the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers. I cannot but recall the words of Kofi Annan the former Secretary-General when he said “if there is any lesson that we can draw from the experience of the past decade, it is that the use of child soldiers is far more than a humanitarian concern; that its impact lasts far beyond the actual time of fighting; and that the scope of the problem vastly exceeds the number of children directly involved.” I was further encouraged by the reassertion of this thought when the Right Hon. Justin Trudeau the Prime Minister of Canada stated ‘the use of child soldiers have no place in our world ..... by bringing countries together and putting the Vancouver Principles together we can make sure children remain children and build a safer and more just future for all.”