June 19, Colombo: Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris has assured UN human rights chief Michelle Bachelet that Sri Lanka will continue to actively engage with the international system including the Human Rights Council, in a candid and transparent manner.
Meeting with the UN human rights chief on the sidelines of the 50th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, the Foreign Minister also described in detail the results achieved on the ground by local mechanisms including the Office of Missing Persons, the Office for Reparations, the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation, the SDG Council as well as independent institutions such as the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka.
Foreign Minister Peiris informed the High Commissioner that the invitation to undertake an official visit to Sri Lanka extended previously, still stands. He also wished her well on her upcoming retirement, announced at the beginning of the current session.
Minister Peiris also met with the Secretary General of the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Permanent Representatives of China, the European Union, Australia, Republic of Korea, Germany, Netherlands and Jordan during the UNHRC session.
At the meeting with Ambassador Chen Xu, Permanent Representative of China, the Foreign Minister thanked China for the continuous support extended to Sri Lanka over the years. Discussing the economic challenges facing the country, particularly issues relating to foreign reserves and their impact on food and energy security, Minister Peiris expressed appreciation for the substantial quantities of food, pharmaceutical items and COVID-19 vaccines provided by China. Reference was made to the long standing and friendly relationship between the two countries and the expectation of further strengthening the ties in the future.
Foreign Minister Peiris and Ambassador Amanda Gorely, Permanent Representative of Australia discussed the upcoming visit to Sri Lanka by Ms. Claire O Neil, Minister for Home Affairs and Cyber Security of Australia. While stating that the looked forward to meeting the Home Affairs Minister, the Foreign Minister assured the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka’s continued commitment to combat illicit migration, which Sri Lanka views as a humanitarian calamity.
At the meeting with Jagan Chapagain, the Secretary General of the International Federation of the Red Cross, Minister Peiris requested for the delivery of medicines and healthcare equipment to Sri Lanka as a matter of priority. In his discussion with Ambassador Lotte Knudsen, the Permanent Observer of the European Union, the Foreign Minister highlighted the importance of economic diplomacy, including trade, investment and tourism.
The Foreign Minister also held discussions with Ambassador Walid Khalid Obedat, Coordinator of the Arab League and the Permanent Representative of Jordan, Ambassador Taeho Lee, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea, Ambassador Natalie Olijslager, Charge d’ Áffaires of Netherlands and Ambassador Hans-Peter Jugel, Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany.