Mar 16, Geneva: Sri Lanka is carefully studying the Report of the Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues on her Mission to Sri Lanka and will take action to implement the recommendations in the report in consultation with the relevant stakeholders, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to UN in Geneva, Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha said.
Following her visit to Sri Lanka from 10-20 October 2016 at the invitation of the Sri Lankan Government, the UN Special Rapporteur (SR) on Minority Issues Ms. Rita Izsák-Ndiaye presented her report to the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).
Delivering a statement during the Interactive Dialogue with the Ms. Izsák-Ndiaye on Wednesday (15), the Ambassador noted that SR's visit was the very first visit to Sri Lanka by a Special Rapporteur on the subject of Minority Issues and said the visit underlines the commitment of the National Unity Government towards its policy of open and inclusive engagement with the United Nations systems and procedures and with all other stakeholders both within and outside Sri Lanka.
"We believe the visit was timely as the Government and the people of Sri Lanka have embarked on a historic journey to achieve durable peace, reconciliation and development," he said.
Highlighting the steps taken by the government of Sri Lanka to improve minority rights since it came to power, Ambassador Aryasinha said Sri Lanka is pleased that the Special Rapporteur in her Report has acknowledged and commended the positive developments that have taken place in the country since January 2015, that included the ongoing dialogue in the country on constitutional reforms and the restoration of the credibility of the National Human Rights Commission with the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution in May 2015..
The Ambassador, pointing out that the Sri Lankan Government provided unrestricted and unimpeded access for the SR and the delegation, to all the places that she wished to visit, throughout the country, during the visit, said the government has adopted this line of open, constructive and meaningful engagement with all the other Special Procedures as well, during the last 2 years, and will continue to do so in future.
He said the Government of Sri Lanka has taken effective measures to establish peaceful co-existence among different religious groups including temples, churches and mosques are constructed without hindrance and religious services are enjoyed without discrimination or harassment.
The Sri Lankan government has also created potential mechanisms related to the reconciliation process such as the Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms, the Consultation Taskforce and the Office of National Unity & Reconciliation.
Thanking the Special Rapporteur for Minority Rights for accepting the invitation of the Government and undertaking a visit to Sri Lanka., the Ambassador said Sri Lanka considers its engagement with Special Procedures as an important component of its reconciliation efforts and steps being taken to uphold the human rights of all her citizens.
"Accordingly, we will continue to stay engaged closely with the Special Procedures Mandate Holders in the spirit of open and constructive engagement, for the benefit of the people of the country," Ambassador Aryasinha said.
Full statement delivered by Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha