Special Envoy on the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention Prince Mired Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein will undertake an official visit to Sri Lanka from March 4 to 7.
The visit of the Special Envoy takes place in the wake of Sri Lanka becoming the 163rd State Party to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention, having deposited the Instrument of Accession in December 2017.
According to the government news portal, Sri Lanka’s accession to the Convention has been hailed by the international community as a very positive development, and it has immensely contributed towards building a positive image of Sri Lanka in the international arena, the government said in a statement.
During his visit, Prince Mired is scheduled to call on the President and Prime Minister, and to meet with Secretaries to the Ministries of Defence and Resettlement, Commander of the Army, and officials in-charge of mine-clearance.
The visit also includes a field visit to a mine-clearance site in Muhamalai, Jaffna on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, speaking to the Daily News the Coordinator of the Sri Lanka Campaign to Ban Landmines (SLCBL) Vidya Abhayagunawardena said it is a huge achievement for Sri Lanka.
“This is the first time that a special envoy to the mine ban treaty has visited the country. In fact, Sri Lanka is a success story in mine clearance. We have the lowest rate of mine related incidents in the region compared to other countries such as Cambodia, Laos etc. Sri Lanka reported only two mine related incidents last year, having cleared 500 sq. km of mine infested area by the end of the war. Currently, Sri Lanka has just 27 sq. km left to be cleared,” he noted. The government also intends to complete mine clearance activities by 2020. “If we can achieve that target, Sri Lanka would be the first country in the region to rid the country of mines completely. Then, Sri Lanka would become Universalisation Ambassadors to the convention. Meanwhile,the Cabinet last Tuesday took the decision to become party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. This year happens to be the 10 anniversary of the UN Convention on Cluster Munitions.
Sri Lanka also ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on February 2016.