Sri Lankan Delegation to the 9th Session UNHRC meets with key officials, delegations

The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Office at Geneva

04th September 2008

The Sri Lankan delegation to the 9th Session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) led by Hon. Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights, and accompanied by Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, Secretary, Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights and Mr. P. M. Mohan Peiris, P.C., Legal Consultant to the Ministry of Defence arrived in Geneva yesterday (Wednesday, 03rd September), ahead of the Session, which is to be held from 8th to 26th of September 2008. Mr. Yasantha Kodagoda, Deputy Solicitor General, is also expected to join the delegation later.

This morning (4th September), the Sri Lanka delegation headed by Hon. Minister Samarasinghe met with a number of key high-ranking officials to brief them about the present situation in Sri Lanka and the government's efforts to promote and protect human rights. The meetings included sessions with H.E. Mr. Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi, President of the Human Rights Council and Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations Office in Geneva, Mr. Anders B. Johnsson, the Secretary-General of the Inter Parliamentary Union, and Mr. Brunson Mckinley, the Director General of the International Organization for Migration.

In addition, the Hon. Minister also met with a number of delegations at a working lunch hosted by H.E. Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka, Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations Office in Geneva. During this working lunch, Hon. Minister emphasized that Sri Lanka's commitment to the international dialogue on promotion and protection of human rights has not been limited to its membership at the Human Rights Council and that Sri Lanka will continue to take necessary steps to improve its human rights situation. In particular, Hon. Minister briefed the delegations on action being taken by the government to provide humanitarian assistance to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), the proposed National Action Plan on Human Rights and the government's efforts to implement the voluntary pledges made at the Universal Periodic Review of Sri Lanka. Hon. Minister welcomed the support of the international community in these endeavours.

The President of the Human Rights Council and the Ambassadors of Russia, Denmark, Holy See, Chile, Germany, Slovenia, Cuba and representatives of USA, India, the Philippines, UK, Canada, Pakistan and Argentina attended this working lunch.

The Hon. Minister and the delegation are expected to meet the newly appointed United Nations High-Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navanethem Pillay tomorrow.

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