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* Sri Lanka at UNGA calls for an integrated and balanced approach in the prevention of drug use and abuse
Fri, Oct 11, 2019, 08:47 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Oct 11, Colombo: Sri Lanka has called for an integrated and balanced approach in the prevention of drug use and abuse, noting that tackling this issue requires both the reduction in supply and demand, as well as combating trafficking in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances as well as treatment and rehabilitation of drug users.

This observation was made by Ms. Pramuditha Manusinghe, Assistant Director of the UN and HR Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in an intervention in New York at the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Crime Prevention & Criminal Justice, Countering the Use of Information and Communications technologies for criminal purposes and International Drug Control, last week.

She said that Sri Lanka is fully engaged in strengthening responses, working closely with UNODC and other Member States to combat the emerging threats related to transnational organized crime and in line with the international drug control conventions. She also thanked the UNODC, its Regional Office for South Asia for providing technical assistance towards the country's efforts to combat the problem of illicit drugs and international crime.

Ms. Manusinghe also highlighted the need to recognize the importance of international cooperation in criminal matters, including mutual legal assistance and extradition and stated that Sri Lanka is committed to continued upholding of the rule of law in order to prevent and counter crime in all its forms and manifestations at the national level, while multilateral cooperation has been enhanced to prevent and combat these crimes.

She said that since becoming a State Party to the Budapest Cyber Crime Convention in 2015, Sri Lanka has reinvigorated national legislation in accordance with international standards governing cybercrime. She elaborated that last year a comprehensive Cyber Security Strategy had been adopted and legislation drafted on Cyber Security and Data Protection.

Sri Lanka further expressed support to the UN Strategy on Hate Speech initiated by the Secretary-General. Drawing on the experience of Sri Lanka following Easter Sunday terrorist attacks, it was highlighted that it is a glaring reminder to all that no country is immune to radicalization, extremism and terrorism. While condemning all forms of racism, hatred and violent extremism, Sri Lanka called for all States to firmly resolve to fight these global menaces and to work in collaboration to address the root causes.

Intervening in the Third Committee of the UNGA under the agenda on Advancement of women Ms. Dilini Gunasekera, Assistant Director of the UN and HR Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that that subsequent to separatist terrorism that scourged the country for nearly 30 years, Sri Lanka's efforts in the economic empowerment of women targeted female headed households, including war widows.

She noted that with the support of UN Gender Theme Group, Sri Lanka has developed, a National Action Plan for women headed households in aspects such as health, income security and psychosocial services.

She also informed that Sri Lanka had initiated a process to develop an Action Plan on the implementation of the UN Security Council 1325 with the support of the Government of Japan and UN Women that seeks to accelerate positive change on gender equality, empowerment of women and girls and respect for their human rights in achieving and sustaining peace.

Noting that the 25th Anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action is scheduled next year, she said it is timely for a comprehensive review of the progress made so far, and identify remaining gaps to address barriers to gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Youth delegates of Sri Lanka to the United Nations, Ms. Gangulali de Silva and Mr. Amrit Edirisooriya, who are attending the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York, also addressed the Third Committee general Discussion on "Social Development" last week.

Representing the youth of Sri Lanka, the delegates drew attention to the challenges in bridging the youth skills gap and tackling youth unemployment, and the need to recognize active mechanisms and identify solutions to reduce and eliminate major sources of social distress and instability in society, including among youth, as a part of social development.

While recalling the resilience of the Sri Lankan people, especially that of youth in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday attacks, the importance of focusing on social cohesion and developing a one Sri Lankan community was highlighted. The youth delegates stated that "it is important that youth learn from the past, acknowledge the failures and seek ways to move forward. Young people should also be guided in the process of healing and reconciliation, while respecting others." (Foreign Affairs Ministry Media release)


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