It gives me great pleasure to felicitate Dr. (Mrs.) Hiranthi Wijemanne, who was elected to the United Nations Committee
on the Rights of the Child (CRC) with broad and substantial support from the entire gamut of UN Members who are
States Party to the CRC. It would be pertinent to note in this regard that the election was keenly contested with 23
candidates coming forward, for only nine available posts.
The CRC is a key instrument established by the international community to work collaboratively to ensure the protection,
welfare and development of children, thereby ensuring a better and brighter future for all humanity. Accordingly, in the
election process, inevitable evaluations are made both of the contribution in this regard by the candidate, as well as by
the nominating country.
In this context, Sri Lanka had to face vicious and motivated efforts of denigration from sinister quarters. However, in the
face of manifest and undeniable progress by Sri Lanka over the entire spectrum of human development, and especially,
in the sphere of child protection and welfare, which includes the successful rehabilitation and reintegration of all former
child soldiers during a brief time span, these efforts did not succeed. The outcome of the election, therefore, is a clear
recognition by the international community of the achievements and sincerity of purpose of President Rajapaksa and his
Administration, and reflects Sri Lanka’s stature in the world community.
Apart from the country’s signal achievements which received acknowledgement internationally, Sri Lanka had the
advantage of a candidate of impeccable credentials. Dr. (Mrs.) Hiranthi Wijemanne has rendered yeoman service of over
forty years in institutions such as the Ministries of Health, Justice and Child Development and Women’s Affairs as
well as the National Child Protection Authority and the Department of Probation and Child Care. She has also extensive
experience of working with the UN system. I am confident that with this background, she will make a significant
contribution to the work of the CRC. I wish her all the very best in her new responsibilities.
Ministry of External Affairs