Country has successfully faced COVID-19 challenge | Daily News


Sri Lankan Mission in Geneva tells 45th HRC Session::

Country has successfully faced COVID-19 challenge

At a time when even highly developed countries in the world were left with a substantial challenge in the wake of the COVID – 19 pandemic, Sri Lanka was able to successfully face the challenge by containing its spread, thanks to a well-coordinated mechanism of preventive measures at the national level, assisted by a robust local healthcare system, Sri Lankan Mission in Geneva told the 45th Session of the Human Rights Council.

Taking part in an interactive dialogue on ‘The oral update of the High Commissioner on the human rights impact of the COVID-19 pandemic’, the Sri Lankan Mission said the country is currently in the process of expediting the return of nearly 40,000 migrant workers, through a whole-of-Government approach to overcome the challenges and manage the health, quarantine and travel logistics aspects.

“During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, approximately 1.5 million migrant workers from Sri Lanka were overseas. Many of these migrant workers are facing the grim prospect of losing their jobs and means of livelihood, while some are faced with the challenge of enforced return.

The Government of Sri Lanka has given high priority towards addressing their concerns, providing food and medicines where required, and where possible, working with the host countries to obtain legitimization of their status and medical facilities including testing for COVID-19,” the statement said.

The statement said the country’s success with regard to containing COVID-19 was a result of a series of measures taken by the Government to mitigate the challenges posed by COVID-19, which have been inclusive, non-discriminatory and holistic, providing foremost importance to safeguarding the health and safety of its people.

“Such measures included, financially supporting low income families, pensioners and differently-abled, day-income earners and farmers, managing the repatriation of Sri Lankans in a coordinated manner, exploring avenues of business to create new economic trends while supporting existing industries and moving forward to the use of the digital technology including to connect the farmer, consumer and supplier, delivery of essential items and services, and distant education,” it said.

“The WHO has commended Sri Lanka’s efforts to control COVID-19 more effectively than more resourced countries even with modest means. Sri Lanka is the first in South Asia to have successfully conducted Parliamentary elections early last month with a 71% voter turnout and was among the first countries in South Asia to open schools and bring back children in a safe way, as commended by UNICEF. Furthermore, the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has recently stamped Sri Lanka as a safe haven for tourists,” it added.

“As this Council is aware, last November, the people of Sri Lanka gave a resounding mandate to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to pursue a policy framework aimed at achieving the fourfold outcome of ‘a productive citizenry, a contented family, a disciplined and just society and a prosperous nation’. This historic mandate was renewed by the people at the General Election held last August, with an unprecedented percentage of 59.09 per cent votes, for the first time in the history, in an election held under the Proportional Representation System. This is a clear signal of the support of the people of Sri Lanka for a path forward for the country, towards prosperity while safeguarding the people and protecting the sovereignty of the country without succumbing to any force,” the statement highlighted.


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