The 22nd Session of the Human Rights Council opened today with statements by Remigiusz A. Henczel President of the Human Rights Council, Vuk Jeremic, President of the General Assembly and Navanethem Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights. This was followed by the commencement of the High Level segment where country statements were delivered. Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha and members of the delegation attended the session. The current session runs through the 22 March 2013. Sri Lanka is due to engage the Council under relevant agenda items and a number of thematic sessions. Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, Minister of Plantation Industries and the President’s Special Envoy on Human Rights and leader of the Sri Lanka delegation, who is due to arrive in Geneva tomorrow, will deliver Sri Lanka’s National Statement during the High Level segment of the Human Rights Council on Wednesday. (Colombo Gazette) The Sri Lankan government, today told members of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), that the promotion and protection of human rights as enshrined in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA) should be carried out in a spirit of cooperation, mutual respect and dialogue, and in conformity with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, and norms governing international relations.Speaking during the High Level Panel meeting at the 22nds session of the UNHRC on the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva Manisha Gunasekera said that Sri Lanka is particularly mindful of the VDPA’s affirmation of the universality, indivisibility, interdependence and interrelatedness of human rights which denotes the equal importance of civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights.
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“This result is all the more noteworthy given pressures faced by the Turkish Cypriots to support the status quo,” Ambassador Stefan Tafrov of Bulgaria, which currently holds the Council’s rotation Presidency, said in a statement to the press. “The members hope that all parties in northern Cyprus and all other concerned parties will honour the desire of the majority of Turkish Cypriots as soon as possible.”Ambassador Tafrov added that Council members “continue to believe that securing a comprehensive settlement negotiated on the basis of the detailed proposals” of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan and accession to the EU “by a reunited Cyprus” would be in the interests of all Cypriots.Members also reiterated their full support for the good offices of the Secretary-General as entrusted to him in Security Council resolution 1250. “They urge the Turkish Cypriot leadership and all parties concerned to strongly support the Secretary-General’s efforts and, in this context, call for an immediate resumption of the talks on the basis of his proposals,” Ambassador Tafrov said.The members reaffirmed the Council’s previous resolutions and statements on Cyprus, including resolutions 541, 550 and 1475.