Statement by Ambassador H.E. Palitha T.B. Kohona
 Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations

Fifty-seventh Session of the Commission on the Status of Women
“Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls”
8thMarch, 2013

Thank you Madam Chair,
Let me join other speakers to congratulate you and the Members of the Bureau on your election to the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women.

The delegation of Sri Lanka associates itself with the statement made by Fiji on behalf of the G77 and China.

While we celebrate the many accomplishmentsof women, we are also constantly reminded of the pervasive reality of gender based violence. Its prevalence is universal.The theme of the fifty-seventh session of the CSW - “Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls” –is therefore timely.

Madam Chair,

Sri Lanka’s women have been politically empowered since 1931 - enjoying universal adult suffrage. It was therefore not so surprising for Sri Lanka to have produced the first democratically elected woman Prime Minister in the world in 1960.

Sri Lanka has, historically, recognized that civil and political rights are interlinked with social, cultural and economic rights.Therefore, our macro policies haveensured transformational change in the lives of its women. With Constitutional guarantees for gender equality, Sri Lanka exploited synergistic interactions of health care with basic education, improved water and sanitation, malaria control, and integrated rural development - including building rural roads.The adult literacy rate in Sri Lanka for females is 97%.  Among youth (15-24 years) the literacy rate is 99%.  According to the latest statistics, women enjoy a longer life expectancy (80 years) than men (76 years).The contribution of women, especially rural women, in facilitating Sri Lanka’s successful achievement of most of the Millennium Development Goals is significant. Traditional knowledge of mothers on maternal health coupled with their high levels of education has contributed significantly to reducing the child mortality rate (8.9 per thousand) and the maternal mortality rate (39 per 100,000 live births).

Upcoming Geneva UN Resolution Against Sri Lanka – Not Exactly a Surprise

By Dr. Stephen Long, Los Angeles, California

On one level it is surprising that the United States and the international community is not willing to let go of its desire to punish Sri Lanka for alleged human rights abuses at the end of its 30-year war against the LTTE terrorists; after all, the hard evidence points to Sri Lanka’s innocence.On another level, however, it is not a surprise at all. What is the value of “hard evidence” in an era when arguments and battles are won in the media, and public opinion can be bought and swayed when falsehood is so easily turned upside down into truth?


Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations hosts an interactive panel discussion on “the allure of female suicide bombers”

In honour of the International women’s day, the permanent mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations along with several other organizations including the Engr. Aja Eze foundation hosted an interactive panel discussion on female suicide bombers today. The Panel consisted of renowned professors, authors, analysts, scholars and activists from all over the world.

During his opening remarks, Ambassador Kohona recalled the devastating effect of the LTTE suicide bombers during the country’s 27 year conflict. He further elaborated on the monumental progress achieved by the government of Sri Lanka in rehabilitating over 11,000 former combatants (2240 women) and 560 child soldiers.

Other inventions, more noticeably by Ms. Farhana Qazi (a former CIA official) shed light on the social and religious circumstances that have prompted a surge in female suicide bombers in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Responding to a question, Ambassador Kohona stated that the specific ground realities and cultural aspects of conflict areas have to be taken into consideration.   He added that outsider involvement based on ideological perceptions in dealing with terrorism will only further exacerbate problems such as the growing threat of female suicide bombers.



The Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations hosts Opera Recital to benefit Sri Lankan Charities. 

Ambassador Dr. Palitha Kohona and the staff of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nations hosted a concert for charity this past Saturday. The event headliner, Ms. Prisca Philogene (Mezzo Soprano), a graduate of the Boston Conservatory performed works by Schubert, Faure, Debussy, and a selection of her own original compositions. The event was attended by over 125 guests including Diplomats, Philanthropists, Entrepreneurs and New York City Fashion icons.

The donations collected will be directed to Sri Lankan charities.

Additional information about the beneficiary orphanage on:


Media Release

 “Sri Lanka should be encouraged in its reconciliation process, rather than being singled out for any disproportionate attention in the HRC”

Exercising a ‘right of Reply’ to a statement made by Ms Esther Brimmer, US Assistant Secretary of State for international organisations during the High Level Segment of the 22nd Human Rights Council today ( 26 February 2013), Ms. Priyanga Wicremasinghe, Counsellor of the Sri Lanka Permanent Mission in Geneva said, “Sri Lanka should be encouraged in its reconciliation process, rather than being singled out for any disproportionate attention in this Council”. She said, “it is especially so, at a time when having overcome a 30-year long terrorist conflict, as well as having averted what many feared would be a ‘humanitarian catastrophe’, Sri Lanka is implementing a comprehensive process of reconciliation involving all communities based on the National Action Plan on the implementation of the recommendations of the LLRC”.  

Full intervention made by Counsellor Wicremasinghe is below:

Right of Reply of Sri Lanka to the Statement made by the US, 26th February 2013 

Mr President, 

My delegation wishes to exercise its right of reply with regard to the reference to Sri Lanka contained in the statement made today, by Ms Esther Brimmer, Assistant Secretary of State for international organisations, of the USA. 

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