Madam High Commissioner/Deputy High Commissioner,
Members of the Council and Delegates to the 40th Session of HRC,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I am pleased to be at the 40th Session of the HRC to share Sri Lanka’s significant progress on human rights since the last review in 2017. I am joined by my parliamentary colleague Hon. (Dr) Sarath Amunugama, the Governor of the Northern Province Hon (Dr) Suren Raghavan, senior government officials including Foreign Secretary Ravinatha Aryasinha and Deputy Solicitor General Nerin Pulle, and Permanent Representative Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez.
In keeping with President Maithripala Sirisena’s decision to declare the Thripitakabhivandana Week from 16th – 23rd March 2019 to mark the declaration of the Theravada Thripitaka as a national and world heritage, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington DC, under the patronage of four Buddhist temples in Washington DC and Maryland, organized a series of religious events from 16th – 24th March 2019. The Thripitakabhivandana Week commenced with Maryland Buddhist Temple and Washington Buddhist Vihara hosting two events on 16th and 17th March respectively.
The Congressional (UXO)/ Demining Caucus held a panel discussion on demining efforts in Sri Lanka on 14th March at the Capitol Hill where the government’s ownership of the program and the commitment for a mine free Sri Lanka came for praise by the implementing partners and the US government. The Panel Discussion was held on the invitation of the Co-chairs of the UXO/ Demining Caucus, Representative Bill Johnson (R) and Representative (D) Jackie Spiers.
The Embassy of Sri Lanka in Washington D.C. and the Mine Advisory Group ( MAG ) jointly hosted a gathering of US officials, demining agency representatives and prospective partners to a breakfast briefing at the Sri Lanka Residence on 13th March 2019 on the theme “ Mine Free Sri Lanka 2020 “