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Statement by Hon. Tilak Marapana, PC, MP, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka (Head of the Sri Lanka Delegation) 40th Session of the Human Rights Council 21st March 2019

Item 2- Adoption of the resolution A/HRC/40/L.1 ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’

 Mr. President,

The Government of Sri Lanka considers Resolution 40/L.1 mandating an extension of two years until March 2021, to make further progress on human rights, reconciliation and accountability, as a mark of recognition of Sri Lanka’s political commitment and the progressive steps already taken by the Government since 2015.

Sri Lanka’s open, and constructive approach towards the work of this Council is well acknowledged. We have engaged with seven core Treaty Bodies, the UPR, and have also facilitated 8 visits by special procedures mandate holders and independent experts, resulting in a total of over 1000 recommendations, for expeditious implementation by Sri Lanka.

Mr. President,

As I put on record before this Council yesterday, we have to set our priorities right and we are committed to find innovative and pragmatic solutions to protect the country’s national interest and the well-being of all Sri Lankans alike, guided by the provisions of the supreme law of the land – The Constitution. Sri Lanka’s co-sponsorship of this year’s Resolution assures to all concerned persons, the Sri Lankan society at large, and to all our interlocutors outside the country, that we will continue to move forward within these parameters, to ensure eventual closure.

Mr. President,

We welcome the assistance and cooperation we have received from partners as required, and invite the OHCHR to engage closely with the relevant local institutions and independent bodies including the National Human Rights Commission, in verifying facts on ground, which will help OHCHR to provide more objective and realistic assessment on the progress made in Sri Lanka and on its genuine challenges, to this Council next year.

In conclusion Mr. President,

Sri Lanka takes this opportunity to appreciate the efforts of the members of the Core-Group, and thank all Members of this Council for supporting a consensus outcome today.

I thank you.

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