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Saturday June 3rd, 2023

UNHRC resolutions: Dinesh announces withdrawal from cosponsorship in Geneva

FILE PHOTO: Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunewardena / MFA handout photo

ECONOMYNEXT – Promising “homegrown solutions to contemporary challenges”, the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) formerly declared its decision today to withdraw from cosponsorship of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution 40/1 and the preceding resolutions 30/1 and 34/1.

Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena who addressed the high-level segment of the 43rd UNHRC session in Geneva a short while ago said that Sri Lanka will work toward the closure of the resolution in conjunction with all members of the UN.

“I wish to place on record Sri Lanka’s decision to withdraw from the cosponsorship of the resolution 40/1 on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka, which also incorporates and builds on preceding resolutions 30/1 of October 2015 and 34/1 of March 2017,” he said.

Gunawardena declared the government’s commitment to “sustainable peace and reconciliation” through an inclusive, domestically designed and executed reconciliation and accountability process. This will include a commission of inquiry (CoI) headed by a justice of the supreme court.

The foreign relations minister said the end of the war in 2009 advanced, secured and protected one of the fundamental human rights: the right to life, for all Sri Lankans – Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims and others.

“Since 2009, not a bullet has been fired in the name of separatism in Sri Lanka,” he added.

Gunawardena said a “group of the UNHRC” had failed to appreciate GoSL endeavours in defeating terrorism and bringing about stability, humanitarian relief and lasting peace through a “carefully balanced reconciliation process”.

He accused the previous government of jettisoning the homegrown reconciliation process of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government that he claimed was bearing fruit. The Yahapalana administration, he said, “violated all democratic principles of governance” when it “unconstitutionally” agreed to cosponsor the 30/1 resolution binding the country to deliver the dictates of an international body.

“More seriously, it is seen that the dictated changes in the country pursuant to 30/1 undermined the national interest, compromised national security including weakening national intelligence operations and related safeguards which are deemed to have contributed to the lapses that resulted in the Easter Sunday attacks in April 2019,” said Gunawardena.

Resolution 30/1, he went on to say, had sought to cast on Sri Lanka obligations that could not be carried out within the country’s constitutional framework and had infringed on the sovereignty of the people. This, he said, was another factor that had prompted the present government to reconsider the cosponsorship.

Part of the delegation supporting Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunewardena during the sessions. From Left to Right Additional Secretary to the President Admiral (Retd) Jayanath Colombage, State Minister of Public Administration and Home Affairs Mahinda Samarasinghe, Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Relations Ravinatha Aryasinha and seated behind Samarasinghe the Acting Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka in Geneva Dayani Mendis

Pointing to what he called the inherent illegality of the exercise, Gunawardena said the provisions in the resolution had forced the country to “carry out this experiment” that was impractical, unconstitutional and undeliverable.

The foreign relations minister also lamented the impact the resolutions had allegedly had on long nurtured regional relationships as well as relations with non-aligned nations, and on South Asian solidarity.

With President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s resounding victory in November last year, Gunawardena further said, the people of Sri Lanka have given a signal for their wish for a different path forward.

“Sri Lanka remains committed to sustainable peace and reconciliation,” he said, adding that no one is more committed to this endeavour than the GoSL.

He declared the government’s commitment to a sustainable peace through a domestically designed process in line with the current administration’s stated policy framework and institutional reform consistent with Sri Lanka’s commitments.

Sri Lanka will continue to remain engaged with UN agencies and will seek their assistance where necessary including the regular human rights mandates, bodies and mechanisms in keeping with domestic priorities and policies, he stressed. (Colombo/Feb26/2020)


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Sri Lanka to ramp up weekend fuel deliveries after petrol price cut

More deaths reported at Sri Lanka fuel queues

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s state-run Ceylon Petroleum Corporation will be operating on the weekend to complete all fuel deliveries to end vehicle queues forming outside fuel stations after the price revision earlier in the week, Energy Minister Kanchana Wijesekera said.

“Instructions have been given to CPC and Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals to continue fuel deliveries on Saturday and Sunday this week to supply sufficient stocks to all fuel stations,” Minister Wijesekera said in a TWITTER.COM MESSAGE

“To reduce expenses on overtime, CPC and CPSTL have not been operating on Sundays and public holidays in the last 4 months,” Wijesekera said.

“Non-placement of orders by fuel stations from last Saturday, anticipating a price reduction, not maintaining minimum stocks, immediate increase in demand by consumers after the price revision, and quota increase have created shortages in the fuel stations.”

The Minister in April 2023 said all fuel stations would be required to maintain a minimum of 50 percent of stock tank capacity.

“I have asked CPC to review and suspend the license of fuel stations that had not maintained minimum stocks.” (Colombo/ June 02/ 2023)

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Sri Lanka bonds yield up at close, rupee at 291.75/292.50 against the US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s bonds closed steady on Friday, dealers said, following the central bank’s decision to cut its main policy rate by 250 basis points.

The Spot US dollar closed at 291.75/292.50 rupees, dealers said.

The rupee opened at 290.25/75 to the US dollar Thursday and closed at 292.50/295.50 to the US dollar.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2027 closed at 24.70/90 percent up from 24.50/90 percent a day earlier, dealers said.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2026 closed at 25.75/26.25 percent up from 25.00/26.00 percent a day earlier.

A bond maturing on 01.05.2025 closed at 27.00/30 percent, up from 26.30/27.00 per cent at last close.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2032 closed at 20.25/21.00 percent, up from 20.00/40 per cent at last close.
(Colombo/ June 02/2023)

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Sri Lanka’s shares edge up on positive macroeconomic sentiments

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s shares closed higher in trade on Friday, over positive macro-sentiments encouraging investors to redeem their interest towards buying, an analyst said.

The main All Share Price Index was up 0.72 percent or 62.19 points to 8,753.80,  while the most liquid index S&P SL20 was up 0.68 percent or 16.87 points to 2,487.29.

Sri Lanka’s inflation in the 12-months to May 2023 has eased to 25.2 percent from 35.3 percent a month earlier according to a revised Colombo Consumer Price Index calculated by the state statistics office.

Prior to the Monetary Policy investors were quite optimistic that inflation is to lower and interest rates will decrease and since exp, an analyst said.

Sri Lanka Central Bank is waiting for the government proposal on the domestic debt restructuring (DDR), the central bank governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said amid uncertainty over DDR and speculations over instability in the banking sector.

“On debt restructuring, the borrower is the ministry of finance’s treasury. Certainly we will announce what the strategy will be. We are waiting for a government proposal,” Weerasinghe said.

Sri Lanka’s investors are waiting on assurances to be made on debt restructuring and optimization, Central Bank Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe said, “It is up to the government to clear the uncertainty, because from our side we have done that part.”

The central bank cut the key policy rates by 250 basis points to spur a faltering economic growth as inflation was decelerating faster than it projected.

The speculation of DDR has hit the market and the risk premium has kept the market lending rates well above the central bank’s policy rates. The government has yet to present its plans on DDR.

Weerasinghe said the central bank has done its best to reduce the risk premium through bringing down the market lending rates while keeping the policy rates unchanged.

Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe has discussed progress of International Monetary Fund program and debt restructuring during a visit of Deputy Managing Director Kenji Okamura, statement said.

“The discussion primarily focused on the progress of the IMF program between Sri Lanka and the IMF,” a statement from President’s office said.

“Attention was also paid to the on-going debt restructuring negotiations.”

However Officials from IMF have said Sri Lanka has to focus on expanding taxes.

“We discussed the importance of fiscal measures, in particular revenue measures, for a return to macroeconomic stability,” Deputy Managing Director Kenji Okamura said in a statement.

The finance ministry this week issued rules requiring everyone above 18 year of age to register to pay income tax.

“I was encouraged by the authorities’ commitment to negotiate a debt strategy in a timely and transparent manner.

The market generated a revenue of 738 million rupees, while the daily average was 1 billion rupees.

Top gainers in trade were Vallibel One, LOLC Finance and Browns Investment. (Colombo/June02/2023)

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