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Samarasinghe in UNHRC team

2014 Feb 19

President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s special human rights envoy, Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, has been included in the Sri Lankan delegation which will head to Geneva for the crucial UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session next month, the President’s office said today.
External Affairs Minister, Professor G.L Peiris will lead the Sri Lankan delegation and as was reported earlier, will be taking part in the High Level segment which will be addressed by Foreign Ministers.

The Sri Lankan delegation will be looking to counter a US sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka which will be submitted to the Council during the March session.

The session begins on March 3 and continues till March 28 with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, presenting her report on Sri Lanka on March 26.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird are among those scheduled to make statements at the High Level Segment on the opening day on March 3.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to deliver the opening statement of the session on March 3rd followed by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.

Following statements by the Foreign Ministers of Gabon, Colombia and Russia during the morning session, British Foreign Secretary William Hague will make a statement while Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird, a strong critic of Sri Lanka, will make a statement in the afternoon.

Hague is expected to comment on the US sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka which will be submitted to the Council during the 25th regular session. Britain is to co-sponsor the resolution.

Baird has meanwhile been pushing for an international investigation in Sri Lanka into alleged human rights abuses committed during the final stages of the war and he is expected to reiterate that call during his speech.

Among others scheduled to speak at the High Level segment are Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission and Laurent Fabius, the Minister for Foreign Affairs in France.

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