H.E. Dr Palitha Kohona congratulates Malala Yousafzai and her father as Malala celebrated her 16th birthday at the residence of the Ambassador Pakistan, H.E. Mr Mahsood Khan.
Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani school girl, turned 16 years on July 13 — an age she almost did not live to enjoy. Last October, Taliban gunmen shot Malala in retaliation for her speaking out in favour of girls’ education. Having survived, Malala has continued her high profile campaign for education for both girls and boys in safe environments, protected from violence and conflict. 
Sri Lanka has attained enviably high literacy levels by providing free education for all from pre school to university in a safe and supportive environment. Girls outnumber boys in the competition for educational excellence.

Sri Lanka has observed that the Legal Aid Commission of Sri Lanka primarily funded by the state, covers most parts of the country with approximately 70 legal aid centres, including in the former conflict-affected areas, and records a high caseload and provision of services.  

Intervening during an Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Lawyersand Judges at the ongoing 23rd Session of the Human Rights Council on Thursday (30 May 2013), Deputy Solicitor General Mr. Buwaneka Aluwihare noted that the National Plan of Action for the implementation of the recommendations of the LLRC has taken due note of the services that can be extended by legal aid centres in the post-conflict situation. The Commission’s mission is to identify those members of society who lack access to the remedies available to them under the law, and to make available to them means through which they can use the law and the legal system to secure justice.  

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

56, rue de Moillebeau,  

P.O. Box 436,  

1211 Geneva 19.  


Full statement

23rd Session of the HRC
Statement by Sri Lanka – Item 3
ID with the SR on the Independence of Lawyers and Judges

Mr. President,

Sri Lanka welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers which examines the relevance and the possibilities of providing legal aid to individuals who come into contact with the law but cannot afford the costs of legal advice, counsel and representation.  Affording legal assistance to vulnerable groups of a country constitutes a vital segment of the administration of justice. 

April 17, 2013, 10:04 pm

The Island Online

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Having experienced terrorism for three decades, Sri Lanka could comprehend America’s grief in the wake of crude bomb attacks directed at those watching the Boston marathon, Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Maj. Gen. Shavendra Silva, told The Island yesterday.

Commenting on initial media reports pertaining to investigations into the blasts, Maj. Gen. Silva said that two improvised explosive devices (IED) triggered with basic timers had contained black powder, nails and ball bearings. The LTTE had mastered the use of nuts and bolts in all types of IEDs directed at both military and civilian targets at the onset on the eelam conflict way back in early 80s, the former General Officer Commanding (GOC) of 58 Division, Maj. Gen. Silva said.

Ambassador H.E. Dr. Palitha T.B. Kohona
Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations
XIII Infopoverty World Conference (IWC)
Innovations for Nation Building and to Empower People
26th March 2013

9.00 – 11.00 am - Conference Room 2

Civil Society Facing the Digital revolution: Opportunities and Risks

“Sri Lanka's current e-Government policy and associated projects have ignited a rapid     e-service drive, benefitting a significant portion of the country’s population. Accordingly, more and more information on public services has become available for citizens electronically (via the internet and through the official government call center services). There is, nevertheless, further room for development.”

Let me congratulate the organizers of the IWC for hosting this event for the 13th time. The topic is appropriate at a time when we are seeking to advance people-centric development programmes under the internationally agreed development goals. While the role of governments is central in this exercise, the international community has also recognized the critical role of the civil society.

In Sri Lanka, like in many other developing countries, civil society movements are still in their infancy. The goals of civil society organizations are based on opportunities to exert pressure, and deliver services where both governments and the private sector are unable to or incapable of doing so. However, civil society, irrespective of its level of organization (regional, national or international), will play an important role in bringing ICT to the people.

Well established Information and Communication Technologies are now being acknowledged as being crucial to multiple service providers, as well as being a source of innovative employment creation. We need to be creative in this area, or shall I say, domain. ICT can be a huge source of employment, both in the developed and developing economies.  Many countries are aspiring to developing knowledge based economies and this may be the future.

Statement at the Adoption of the Report of the UPR Working Group by Hon. MahindaSamarasinghe M.P.,Minister of Plantation Industries and Special Envoy of H.E. the President of Sri Lanka
on Human Rights ,
Leader of the Sri Lanka Delegation

22nd Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council

15 March 2013

Mr President,

My delegation and I join you this morning with a deep sense of satisfaction. November 2012 saw Sri Lanka face its second UPR and we were able to lay before the working group, our progress since 2008 and the expectations for future improvements in the promotion and protection of human rights, going forward. We have come a long way since the initial Universal Periodic Review of Sri Lanka during the first cycle in 2008. My country then was engaged in a conflict against terrorism – commencing in 2006 – trying to rescue a civilian population held by a ruthless group of terrorists. A year after that first review, we finally achieved success in the humanitarian operation and witnessed the dawn of a new era of peace, stability and prosperity for all Sri Lankans. Since May 2009 we engaged in a period of consolidation, removing military involvement in civil administration, reconstruction, demining, rehabilitation, resettlement and launched our initial efforts at national reconciliation and peace-building.

Mr President, the UPR has been an event in which we have been able to periodically pause, take stock, reflect and share with our friends in the Human Rights Council our achievements, challenges and determination to move forward. The interest and level of participation in the UPR of Sri Lanka is also sincerely appreciated. We noted that a clear majorityof the countries that engaged in the UPR last November acknowledged our progress. Some of the countries that did so also pointed out the challenges that we faced. We were able to take up some of the constructive recommendations made and we also made voluntary commitments.

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