Harsha leads team for UPR in Geneva
Harsha de Silva, Deputy Minister of Policy Planning and Economic Development, will lead a delegation that leaves tomorrow for Geneva to take part in the Universal Periodic Review.
The UPR, as it is called, is a review of human rights records of member countries. It is a state driven process under the UN Human Rights Council and provides an opportunity for each state to declare the actions it has taken to improve the human rights situation in the country.
Deputy Minister de Silva is being accompanied by Foreign Secretary Prasad Kariyawasam, the Foreign Ministry’s UN Director Maheshini Colonne, Senior Director General Abdul Azeez and Nerin Pulle from the Attorney General’s Department. Ravinatha Ariyasinha, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative at the UN in Geneva, will join the delegation.
Foreign Ministry sources said more than a 100 countries have sought to speak on Sri Lanka during the three and a half hours allotted for the discussion.
The UPR was created through the UN General Assembly on March 15, 2006 by resolution 60/251, which established the Human Rights Council itself. It is a cooperative process which, by October 2011, has reviewed the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States. Currently, no other universal mechanism of this kind exists.