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Thursday, 15 November 2012

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UPR sessions:

BOUNCE BACK POST-GENEVA

*Significant shift in Anti-Lanka bloc

*Impressed with country’s HR progress

A majority among the 24 countries which voted against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva in May have changed track due to Sri Lanka’s progress in the Human Rights field since then, Plantation Minister and President’s Special Human Rights Envoy Mahinda Samarasinghe said.

Several countries, including Austria, Italy, Mexico, Nigeria, Poland, Romania and Spain have changed their views and beliefs about Sri Lanka, he said. At present, they hold an optimistic view about Sri Lanka’s progress in protecting and promoting Human Rights. During the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council held in Geneva from November 1 to 5, around 90 percent out of a total of 98 member countries present, expressed positive views and ideas about Sri Lanka, he added.

“They have presented 210 proposals to us and we have accepted 111.

Others are not rejected, but, some of them have already been put into action while others are to be implemented. We hope to face the next United Nations Human Rights Council which is to be held in March 2013 in a very successful manner. We have four years to complete the 111 proposals and approvals and hope to show progress at the next meeting," Minister Samarasinghe said.

Addressing a special press briefing held at the Plantation Industries Ministry Auditorium, the minister said that most of the countries who participated in the UPR sessions spoke positively on Sri Lanka's Human Rights performance and achievements. He said that the UPR sessions on Sri Lanka were concluded in a successful manner.

"Only three years have passed since the end of the humanitarian mission and it is not a long period for Sri Lanka to achieve total success. But we have already shown positive progress in the area of Human Rights performance and achievements. We hope to report huge progress to the United Nations Human Rights Council within the next four years."

" Presidential Task Force Committee on the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) Chairman and Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga has already informed all ministries to have the funds they want to complete their development projects and President Mahinda Rajapaksa has already allocated a large amount of funds to improve Human Rights performance and achievements," the minister said.

"The Troika of these UPR sessions were presided by a group of three States, including, India and they had voted against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council in May. However, the Troika had worked without bias and presented a good report on Sri Lanka on the last day of UPR sessions.

Sri Lanka is looking forward to receiving full approval at the United Nations Human Rights Council next March, "Minister Samarasinghe asserted .

Former Attorney General,Senior Adviser to the Cabinet and Presidential Task Force Committee on Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC)'s Vice Chairman Mohan Peiris was also present.

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