Foreign Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris met the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Secretary General of the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Permanent Representatives of China, the European Union, Australia, Republic of Korea, Germany, Netherlands and Jordan in Geneva on the sidelines of the 50th session of the UN Human Rights Council.
At the meeting with High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, Minister Peiris assured the High Commissioner of Sri Lanka’s continued active engagement with the international system including the Human Rights Council, in a candid and transparent manner.
The Foreign Minister also described in detail the results achieved on the ground by local mechanisms including the Office of Missing Persons, the Office for Reparations, the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation, the SDG Council as well as independent institutions such as the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka.
Foreign Minister Peiris informed the High Commissioner that the invitation to undertake an official visit to Sri Lanka extended previously, still stands. He also wished her well on her upcoming retirement, announced at the beginning of the current session.
At the meeting with Permanent Representative of China Ambassador Chen Xu, the Foreign Minister thanked China for the continuous support extended to Sri Lanka over the years. Discussing the economic challenges facing the country, particularly issues relating to foreign reserves and their impact on food and energy security, Minister Peiris expressed appreciation for the substantial quantities of food, pharmaceutical items and COVID-19 vaccines provided by China. Reference was made to the long standing and friendly relationship between the two countries and the expectation of further strengthening the ties in the future.
Foreign Minister Peiris and Permanent Representative of Australia Ambassador Amanda Gorely discussed the upcoming visit to Sri Lanka by Australia Home Affairs and Cyber Security Minister Claire O Neil. While stating that the looked forward to meeting the Home Affairs Minister, the Foreign Minister assured the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka’s continued commitment to combat illicit migration, which Sri Lanka views as a humanitarian calamity.
At the meeting with International Federation of the Red Cross Secretary General Jagan Chapagain, Minister Peiris requested for the delivery of medicines and healthcare equipment to Sri Lanka as a matter of priority. In his discussion with the Permanent Observer of the European Union Ambassador Lotte Knudsen, the Foreign Minister highlighted the importance of economic diplomacy, including trade, investment and tourism.
The Foreign Minister also held discussions with Coordinator of the Arab League and the Permanent Representative of Jordan Ambassador Walid Khalid Obedat, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea Ambassador Taeho Lee, Charge d’ Áffaires of Netherlands Ambassador Natalie Olijslager, and Deputy Permanent Representative of Germany Ambassador Hans-Peter Jugel.