There are challenges ahead of us but within the last four years considerable progress has been made and we are committed to overcoming the remaining challenges, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe stated following a meeting with UN High Commissioner for Human Right Navanethem Pillay.
Following the meeting at the Plantation Ministry today (August 29), he told the media that they discussed several matters including the universal periodic review, explaining that this was the second cycle that Sri Lanka had gone through while the third cycle will commence around 2017.
The Minister, who also serves as the President’s Special Envoy on Human Rights, stated that during this cycle the government has undertaken and accepted a number of recommendations and well as put forward several voluntary pledges that it is committed to implementing.
Samarasinghe had also informed Pillay that around 50 government agencies and Ministries are working together on the implementation of the Human Rights action plan, adding that the government has received progress reports from up to 75% of the relevant agencies and Ministries.
He also stated that he intends to inform the UNHRC of the progress that the country had made so far in terms of implementing the action plan and believes that it is important to keep international friends informed of the country’s efforts.
The Minister also referred to cases of organized agendas being carried out in view of the Pillay’s visits to the North and East stating that Sri Lanka was a democratic country and they had the right to express their opinions and carry out their agendas.
However, he added that the public is aware that the government does not demonstrate any flexibility with the nation’s security.
Referring to Pillay’s visits to the North, Samarasinghe said that although all the challenges have not been met, anyone with a working pair of eyes can see the progress that has been made in terms of development in those areas.- Derana