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Statement by H.E. Mohan Pieris, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, at the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations

Tuesday, 21 February 2023
H.E. Mr. Mohan Pieris
New York

Statement by H.E. Mohan Pieris, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN

Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34) General Debate

 21 February 2023

Mr. Chair,

Sri Lanka is proud to be part of this important initiative established in 1965 under the fourth committee in order to review and provide recommendations on peacekeeping operations.

Mr. Chair, Sri Lanka aligns with the statement made by distinguished representative from Morocco, on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement, and wish to make the following points in its national capacity.

Sri Lanka’s commitment to maintaining global peace and security has been unwavering. We appreciate that peacekeeping is one of the most effective tools available to the UN to help member states to manage the difficult phase of transcending from conflict to peace.

We echo the deep appreciation for the work of the UN Peacekeeping Operations, in difficult areas of the world under difficult circumstances. We pay tribute to those 3500 fallen during the missions since 1948 including those 943 who were fatally injured by violence, fulfilling their mandate set by the international community. The UN is currently engaged 12 peacekeeping operations in 3 different regions with 24 active missions. We share the grief in consequence the loss of life of our peacekeepers in Mali.

Since deploying its first contingent in 1958, Sri Lanka has been contributing to UN Peacekeeping operations in some of its most hostile and demanding deployments. Over 23000 men and women from the Sri Lanka armed forces and Police have contributed to ensuring international peace and security under the UN banner over the past 6 decades, and been commended for high caliber service.

Mr. Chair,

We are happy to see that at present, 557 Sri Lankan peacekeepers, including female officers, are serving in various capacities in UN Peace Operations, contributing to global efforts. We support the UN in its most hostile and demanding deployment in Central Africa, South Sudan and Mali.

Having endorsed the Kigali Principles on the Protection of Civilians in peacekeeping operations in 2015, and the Vancouver Principles on peacekeeping and ‘prevention of recruitment and use of child soldiers in 2017, Sri Lanka aligns itself with international standards of protection.

The extensive pre-deployment processes established together with Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) ensures that the troops and police officers selected for deployment in peace operations are equipped with the training and background in respecting and promoting human rights, and meet UN standards on their roles and responsibilities re protection of civilians.

Sri Lanka is pleased to have joined the ‘Group of Friends to promote Accountability for Crimes against Peacekeepers’ launched in 2022, building on UNSCR 2589. The legitimacy of the UN system as a whole in these complex, dangerous places of the world, has an impact on the safety and security of peacekeepers. Therefore, while supporting the international mandate of UN peace operations, we wish to emphasize that host country priorities should also be supported through the UN Country teams – so that complementary efforts are taken to reduce possibility of continuation or escalation of violence while recognizing it is possessed with its unique strengths, including legitimacy, burden sharing, the ability to deploy and maintain troops and to integrate our troops with civilian peacekeepers with a view to promoting multi-dimensional mandates.

Further, it is recommended that UN Country teams in surrounding countries coordinate troop and equipment transportation to the UN Peacekeepers, and enhance strategic and operational coordination, in order to ensure that support for the peacekeepers continue unaffected.

As a troop and police contributing country, Sri Lanka looks forward to engaging in this year’s review of issues related to peacekeeping operations under the auspices of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations (C-34). We would have liked to have seen the adoption of a substantive report at the previous session the pleasure of which we did not have, and therefore look forward to a more fruitful outcome in this session. Distinguished representatives we can be proud of the fact that we are all part of a very special Partnership which brings together the GA, the SC, the secretariat, police and troop contributing nations, the host government in our common goal of maintaining peace. I congratulate each and every one of you for sustaining this important humanitarian agenda. In conclusion we take this opportunity to reassure this Assembly that Sri Lanka will uphold the pledges we have made to continue one efforts to contribute to global peace and harmony.

I thank you