Sri Lanka willing to lead in combatting drugs and transnational organized crime; welcomes UNODC cooperation

7 April 2017 - Mr. Sergey Kapinos was on mission to Sri Lanka from April 5-7, 2017 for the purpose of presenting credentials to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and meeting with key interlocutors, including top government officials, donors and other development partners.

Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Mr. Mangala Samaraweera expressed his support to the regional projects being launched by UNODC Regional Office for South Asia in 2017 and the activities within the framework of the UNODC Global Programmes on Maritime Crime and Container Control. He also articulated interest in cooperation in the field of trafficking in persons. Minister of Law and Order and Southern Development, H.E. Mr. Sagala Ratnayaka welcomed UNODC's assistance in key areas and indicated interest in the development of a new UNODC Regional Programme Framework and Threat Assessment.

Mr. Kapinos also met with with Dr. Samantha K Kithalawaarachchi, Director, Presidential Task Force on Drug Prevention, Mr. Rohana Keerthi Dissanayake, Senior Additional Secretary to the President and Prof. Ravindra Fernando, Chairman, National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB). These meetings mainly focused on meeting the challenges in the field of trafficking in drugs and narcotics abuse. The Sri Lankan leadership expressed its will to enhance effectiveness of the system of narcotics control in the country.  Sri Lanka plans to provide drug rehabilitation to 30,000 drug dependents over the next two years and has requested for UNODC support in this regard.

Mr. Kapinos also met with Director-General, Sri Lanka Customs Mr. Chulananda Perera and Director General (Operations) of Sri Lanka Navy Rear Admiral Piyal De Silva. UNODC Regional Representative was informed about the Sri Lankan assessment of the progress made on UNODC's Container Control Programme (CCP) and the Air Cargo initiative.

UN Resident coordinator Una McCauley in her meeting with Mr. Kapinos drew attention to the recurring problems of drug abuse and sexual exploitation of women and children. To ensure that UNODC's assistance in Sri Lanka is expanded and sustained, Mr. Kapinos also held thematic discussions with the representatives of the Embassies of Netherlands, Japan, Switzerland, US and UK.