The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is now online in 500 languages.
Have a look at the illustrated edition with the UN digital ambassador Elyx and know your rights:
Images by Elyx

UNIC Colombo joined the Department of Legal Studies of the Open University of Sri Lanka to mark the Day on 8 December 2016. Several information materials were donated by UNIC to the Department.
A lecture on Right to information was delivered by a senior journalist.

The Vice-Chancellor of the OUSL speaks at the event
A drama on “barriers to love without boundaries” was performed by students of regional centres of OUSL.

The Secretary-General Appeal for Peace on 1st January 2017

On my first day as Secretary-General of the United Nations, one question weighs heavily on my heart.

How can we help the millions of people caught up in conflict, suffering massively in wars with no end in sight?

Civilians are pounded with deadly force. Women, children and men are killed and injured, forced from their homes, dispossessed and destitute. Even hospitals and aid convoys are targeted.

No one wins these wars; everyone loses. Trillions of dollars are spent destroying societies and economies, fueling cycles of mistrust and fear that can last for generations. Whole regions are destabilized and the new threat of global terrorism affects us all.

On this New Year’s Day, I ask all of you to join me in making one shared New Year’s resolution:

Let us resolve to put peace first.

Let us make 2017 a year in which we all – citizens, governments, leaders – strive to overcome our differences.

From solidarity and compassion in our daily lives, to dialogue and respect across political divides… From ceasefires on the battlefield, to compromise at the negotiating table to reach political solutions…

Peace must be our goal and our guide.

All that we strive for as a human family – dignity and hope, progress and prosperity – depends on peace.

But peace depends on us.

I appeal to you all to join me in committing to peace, today and every day.

Let us make 2017 a year for peace.

Thank you.


“Sustainable development goal 6 calls on the international community to ensure access to toilets by 2030. Delivering on this basic human right — the right to water and sanitation — is good for people, business and the economy.” — UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon

LOGO_En copie

Breaking the Taboos
Breaking the Taboos

World Toilet Day, on 19 November, is about taking action to reach the 2.4 billion people living without a toilet. The theme of World Toilet Day 2016 is ‘toilets and jobs’, focusing on how sanitation, or the lack of it, can impact people’s livelihoods.

Sanitation is a global development priority. The Sustainable Development Goals, launched in 2015, include a target to ensure everyone everywhere has access to toilets by 2030.

Toilets play a crucial role in creating a strong economy, as well as improving health and protecting people’s safety and dignity, particularly women’s and girls’.

The UN and its partners are getting the message out that toilets save lives, increase productivity, create jobs and grow economies.

To learn more about the connection between toilets and jobs, please download the factsheet.

To take action and join the global movement, please go to

Top facts:
•2.4 billion People live without improved sanitation (World Health Organization (WHO)/UNICEF 2015).
•One in ten people has no choice but to defecate in the open (WHO/UNICEF 2015).
•Diarrhoea caused by poor sanitation and unsafe water kills 315,000 children every year (WAS-Hwatch 2016).
•Disease transmission at work mostly caused by poor sanitation and hygiene practices, causes 17% of all workplace deaths (International Labour Organization (ILO) 2003).
•Loss of productivity due to illnesses caused by lack of sanitation and poor hygiene practices is estimated to cost many countries up to 5% of GDP (Hutton 2012)

UNIC Colombo selected an interior rural village in the Central Province of the Island, about 235 km away from Colombo, to mark the Day. The Centre found that the villagers of this beautiful rocky mountain village do not have decent hygiene facilities due to deeply rooted poverty and difficulty in transporting building materials to construct a toilet due to non-availability of proper mode of transport as the only road to the village is totally damaged and washed away.
wtd-beauty-of-village-02 wtd-peacokwtd-for-report-beauty-of-village-01wtd-school-girl-through-paddy-fieldswtd-best-ppicturenov21-90
wtd-kidswtd-for-report-03-overlooking-lake-galawtd-children-going-to-school-thro-paddy-fields wtd-a-cow-grazingThey take 16 k.m. journey up and down through thick jungle to go to the town to sell their produce and buy provisions once a week.
Heading back to the hidden village 20161121_131944nov21-86Plight of the villagers: A risky crossing over the washed away path
wtd-plight-of-villagers< wtd-journey-to-villageTravellers helping UNIC Team to carry the stuff

Out of 35 families live therein, only 05 families have toilets and others practice open defecation. wtd-about-to-collapse – A dilapidated toilet to collapse down any moment

UNIC Colombo arranged a programme to educate the villages on how the sanitation could have an impact on their livelihoods. The assistance of People’s Representatives (Hon. Chief Minister of Central Province, Mr. Sarath Ekanayake) was obtained to partner with the Health Department. UNIC selected 05 families with school-going children to provide toilet facilities as it is important to change long-standing practices that hinder the quest for dignity of children. The programme which was attended by villagers and school children comprised of the following:-
• Speaking engagements to raise Awareness and inspire action to tackle the local sanitation crisis
• SDG through quality education and the target to ensure everyone everywhere has access to toilets by 2030. – UNIC
• Upholding dignity through proper sanitation practices – Public Health Inspector /Department of Health, Central Province
• Protect the Planet – UNIC
• Inspiring thoughts on volunteerism – UNIC
• Meet household Toilet – Assistance to construct 05 full toilets and 07 half built ones – UNIC with kind generosity of UNIC’s friend’s circle and UN colleagues
• Health Camp : Tests for kidney diseases and diabetes wtd-test-for-diabeteswtd-for-report-for-report-health-campwtd-for-report-health-camp Distributing building materials for construction of toilets nov22-178wtd-fro-report-04-at-the-programmewtd-fro-report-05-at-sessionwtd-school-children-with-yuukaa “>wtd-way-to-school-for-the-programme UNIC’s team sets off for the Day
nov22-154wtd-un4uwtd-phis-session wtd-how-to-brush-your-teethwtd-yuuka-addressing-the-students – Yuuka, UNIC’s intern from Sophia University, Japan, shares her passion for volunteerism
wtd-for-report-making-sandwiches – UNIC team makes sandwiches for tea offered to participants
UNIC is thankful to Ranbanda & Wimala for all their helps.

01. Kumari Wickramasinghe – UNIC staff
02. Hiranthi Gunawardena – UNIC Staff
03. Nadeeshani Gomez – UNIC Intern
04. Yuuka Iwamura – UNIC Intern
05. Devana Salgadu – UNIC Volunteer
06. Thilanka Gunawardena – UNIC Volunteer

Courtesy: Mr. M M. Ranbanda of Galamuduna, Coordinator
Mr. Devana Salgadu, Team Leader
UN Colleagues )
UNIC’s friends circle) who supported the toilet project
Department of Health, Central Province
Department of Zonal Education, Central Province
Transport courtesy: UNDP Transport Unit- Messrs. Rohana Dissanayake, Jayamini Seneviratne & Ranjan

Global Sustainable Transport Conference 2016


Recognizing the fundamental role of sustainable transport in fighting climate change and achieving the sustainable future we want, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon will convene the first ever global conference on sustainable transport, on 26 and 27 November 2016 in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.
The Global Sustainable Transport Conference will bring together key stakeholders from Governments, UN system and other international organizations, the private sector, and civil society to engage in a dialogue that emphasizes the integrated and cross-cutting nature of sustainable transport and its multiple roles in supporting the achievement of the SDGs. All modes of transport—road, rail, aviation, ferry and maritime – will be addressed.
For more details:
Link to Conference website:
Main event hashtag: #SustainableTransport
Additional hashtags: #SDGs #GlobalGoals
Promotional video:
Video on sustainable transport

Download video file at

Transport in Asia
A train snakes its way through Seoul while it looks as follows in Sri Lanka:
(Photo Credit: AFP PHOTO / Ishara S.KODIKARA)

Donald Trump Wins 2016 US Presidential Election

Statement by the Secretary-General on the presidential election
in the United States of America

I congratulate Mr. Donald Trump on his election as forty-fifth President of the United States of America.

In the aftermath of a hard-fought and often divisive campaign, it is worth recalling and reaffirming that the unity in diversity of the United States is one of the country’s greatest strengths. I encourage all Americans to stay true to that spirit.

Today’s global challenges demand concerted global action and joint solutions. As a founding member of the United Nations and permanent member of the Security Council, the United States is an essential actor across the international agenda. People everywhere look to the United States to use its remarkable power to help lift humanity up and to work for the common good.

The United Nations will count on the new Administration to strengthen the bonds of international cooperation as we strive together to uphold shared ideals, combat climate change, advance human rights, promote mutual understanding and implement the Sustainable Development Goals to achieve lives of peace, prosperity and dignity for all.

Now more than ever, we must mobilize around the principles and common values of the United Nations Charter.

I would also like to express my deep appreciation to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for a lifetime commitment to peace, the advancement of women and the well-being of children.

She has been a powerful global symbol of women’s empowerment, and I have no doubt that she will continue to contribute to our work across the world.

New York, 9 November 2016

Donald Trump Quotes
“I try to learn from the past, but I plan for the future by focusing exclusively on the present. That’s where the fun is.”
“The point is that you can’t be too greedy.”
“You have to think anyway, so why not think big?”

Launch of Wonder Woman Campaign for Empowerment of Women and Girlssdg-fo-rwomen-image
Do you know the character of Wonder Woman?
She is a very strong, compassionate, and fair super hero heroin from American comic books published by DC comics and fights against evil to bring justice to the world.

woner-woman-mainfigureThe character of Wonder Woman has been designated as an Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Women and Girls on 21 October 2016 which is also her 75th birthday.
This is the UN campaign to promote the SDGs #5 which focuses on “gender equality”.
It aims at celebration of the real wonder women who are standing up for gender equality from all over the world. The more people know about existing activists against gender inequality, the easier they get involved in. This campaign’s main theme is “Think of all the Wonders We Can Do”. It may sound difficult for you to be a wonder woman but don’t worry! If you join this campaign, it will be accessible for those existing wonder women to reach their audience in order to promote gender equality and empowerment of women and girls.wonder-women-wonders-we-can-do

Working with our New Ambassador for Gender Equality

It is very easy to participate in this UN-Wonder Woman campaign. Find your friends and speak out what she or he is doing to make difference on gender equality with hashtag “#WithWonderWoman and #RealLifeWonderWoman” on your SNS account such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram etc. You will easily join our important conversation. This is very important because gender equality is now everyone’s business. It does not matter whether you are a woman or a man.

Do you know a gender equality champion?
Wonder Woman is helping the United Nations to achieve gender equality by 2030 by shining a light on women and girls who overcome barriers every day to reach their goals.
Use #ReaLlifeWonderWoman to share the story of an inspiring woman or girl you know!
Get ideas for how YOU can take action to empower women and girls here: #WithWonderWoman
2) TWITTER: Know a gender equality champion? Use #ReaLlifeWonderWoman to share her story! Take action here –> #WithWonderWomanÜbersetzung
Every single of you needs to raise your voice and take action in order to bring gender equality to your community and this world because it plays a big role in order to achieve our global goals. Half of the population on the earth is female so it will not be able to achieve our global goals without commitment and potential of female. Not only women and girls but also men and boys need to stand up for this global issue.
Thank you and feel free to leave your comments! UNIC
For more details, visit UN Women site @


The International Day of Older Persons is an opportunity to highlight the important contributions that older people make to society and raise awareness of the issues and challenges of ageing in today’s world. older-persons-day-main-image

The theme for 2016, Take a Stand Against Ageism, challenges everyone to consider ageism – the negative attitudes and discrimination based on age – and the detrimental impact it has on older people. older-prsons-day-2016-02

“Combat ageism”
Age-based stereotypes influence behaviours, policy development and even research. Addressing these must lie at the core of any public-health response to population ageing.
(World Report on Ageing and Health)
Ageism is stereotyping and discrimination on the basis of a person’s age. Ageism is widespread and an insidious practice which has harmful effects on the health of older adults. This year, we challenge everyone to identify and question these internalized ageist attitudes, and to understand the serious impact that these attitudes have.

For older people, ageism is an everyday challenge. Overlooked for employment, restricted from social services and stereotyped in the media, ageism marginalizes and excludes older people in their communities.

Ageism is everywhere, yet it is the most socially “normalized” of any prejudice, and is not widely countered – like racism or sexism. It exists when the media portrays all old people as “frail” and “dependent”. It influences (subconsciously or actively) the policy maker to opt for cost containment in preference to making appropriate adaptations and investment in infrastructure and services for ageing societies These attitudes, pervasive yet invisible, lead to the marginalisation of older people within our communities and have negative impacts on their health and well-being.

Older people who feel they are a burden may also perceive their lives to be less valuable, putting them at risk of depression and social isolation. Research shows that older adults with negative attitudes about ageing may live 7.5 years less than those with positive attitudes.

UNIC COLOMBO, together with a Civil Society from Thalawathugoda, celebrated the Day on the 02 October 2016 at the Havy Nature Resort, Madiwela. UNIC was supported by WHO Colombo which held a health camp for elders with much dedication and interest. UNIC addressed the gathering highlighting facts in the UNSG’s message on the Day. The “leaves soup” (kola kenda) provided to all those present by UNIC staff was energized them to the programme. UNIC also supported the sing-along the elders enthusiastically got involved in and was a real entertainment for them. The marketing bags (Cambria bags) depicting SDGs in local language gifted to the elders by UNIC were an attraction.
older-persons-day-2016-01older-persons-day-2016-04older-prsons-day-who-3older-prsons-day-who WHO AT WORK..oler-persons-day-who-5</a
opd-01 MUSIC MAKES US HAPPY.. older-persns-day-sing-along-3
older-persons-day-sing-along-with-unic-interns<” />older-persons-day-unic-bags older-persons-day-unic-bags-on-display older-persons-day-unic-cambria-bags-display opd-for-unic-5 opd-for-unic>older-persns-day-unic-yogurt-and-the-smile opd-for-unic-4


International Peace Day : 21 September 2016

peace-day-sgSecretary-General Ban Ki-moon rings the Peace Bell at the annual ceremony held at UN headquarters in observance of the International Day of Peace (21 September
“Let us all work together to help all human beings achieve dignity and equality; to build a greener planet; and to make sure no one is left behind.” — UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon

UNIC Colombo celebrated the Day together with United-Ja-ela, peace-loving community group in Ja-ela with the participation of its members numbering to 300.

peace-day-2 Mr. Vernon Cooray, a prominent lawyer and JP and representatives of United Ja-ela civil society spoke on the benefits of peace for a sustainable society. peace-day-3peace-day-5peace-day-4
UNIC drew the attention of the gathering to SDGs as building blocks for Peace.peace-day-unic-address
A cross section of the gathering perace-day-croos-section20160921_155102peace-day-2016-unic-address

UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon begins his visit to Sri Lanka (31 Aug. -02 September 2016)

This beautiful and bountiful island has so much to offer to the world. Since my last visit in 2009, Sri Lanka has made great progress and undergone profound changes.” – UN Secretary General.

Sri-Lanka flag
SG's photo for web
United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon is here in Sri Lanka on a three-day visit.
The Secretary General will meet with President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and other members of the Government and of the Parliament during his stay.
Sri lankan President meets UN Chief
He will travel to Galle tomorrow to participate in an event under the theme ‘Reconciliation and Coexistence: Role of Youth’.
SDG student promoise

Ban Ki-Moon will also visit Jaffna on Friday and will also visit a resettlement site.
SRI LANKA (2 September 2016) At the invitation of the Government, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, accompanied by Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, arrived in Sri Lanka on the 31 August 2016 for a three-day visit, where he met with President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and other members of the Government and of the Parliament.
During his visit, the Secretary-General travelled to Galle on 1 September, where he participated and delivered a statement at an event involving youth under the theme ‘Reconciliation and Coexistence: Role of Youth’.
On 2 September, the Secretary-General travelled to Jaffna, where he visited a resettlement site.
During the visit, the Secretary-General also met with several Cabinet Ministers including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mangala Samaraweera; the Speaker of the Parliament Karu Jayasuriya and Political Party Leaders; and civil society representatives.
At the invitation of the Chairperson and Board of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKIIRSS), the Secretary-General spoke at an event in Colombo on 2 September on ‘Sustaining Peace – Achieving Sustainable Development Goals’, focusing in particular on Goal 16, namely, the promotion of peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development.
At the end of his visit on 2 September, the Secretary-General addressed the media at a press briefing organized by the United Nations Office in Colombo.

The Secretary General had a Town Hall meeting with UN Staff today (01-08-2016) at the UN Compound in Colombo.
UN Staff with SG on 01-09-2016
While in Jaffna the UN Chief visited a resettlement village in Veemankamam where former IDPs languishing in camps have been resettled in permanent brick houses.SG with a baby in north

On 02 September with UN Colombo staff (including UNIC staff member)
UNIC staff member with SG on his visit to UN Compound on 02-08-16
‘Reconciliation and Coexistence: Role of Youth,’ “ the exclusion of young people from peace building and reconciliation processes is a serious injustice.”
SG with youth
SG With president in Sept 2016The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon with HE the President Maithripala Sirisena
SG with PM on his visit in Sept 2016UN Secretary General and Mrs. Ban Soon-Taek with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Mrs. Maithree Wickremesinghe at Temple Trees
SG meets with Foreign ministerUN Chief Ban Ki-moon meets with Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera
SG meets the GovernorSecretary-General Ban Ki-moon meets with Reginal Cooray, Governor of the Northern Province of Sri Lanka, in Jaffna.SG meets with Mr. VignarasaSecretary-General Ban Ki-moon meets Mr. C.V. Wigneswaran, Chief Minister of the Northern Province

(Photo courtesy: Sunday Observer)

ලෝක ආදිවාසී දින සැමරුම – 2016 (INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THE WORLD’S INDIGENOUS PEOPLES – 2016)

IP-Statue of former vedda Chief Thisahamy The statue of most prominent former indigenous community chief, Late Uruwarige Thisahamy Aththo erected in Dambana.
IP Banner for printerIP NEW SCHOOL BAGVeddas in Sri Lanka
Every year, 9 August is commemorated as the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, with special events around the world, including at United Nations Headquarters in New York.
This year’s International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is devoted to the right to education. IP -Dambana children IP children reading books at Dambana

Education is a mean through which indigenous peoples better develop the skills to manage the development of their community and to actively participate at all levels of decision-making processes.
UNIC Colombo held a non-formal educational programme to raise awareness among indigenous peoples in Dambana on the important issues highlighted by the UN declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and other issues such as barriers for education, resource constraints, drop out of indigenous children from school, bilingual inter-cultural education and lack of social infrastructure services.
The Venue: “Dambana Aadivaasee jana Uruma Kendraya”
IP-Venue revised IP -Receiving chief for the event Receiving Chief of Indigenous People’s community in Sri Lanka, Uruwarige Wanniya Aththo to the programme by UNIC staff member
IP-Chief addressing the gathering
IP- cross section of audienceIP-Students & staff togetherIP-students expressing their difficulties A focus on access to education; school attendance; improving reading, sports activities for personal development; and finishing school is a must.

IP-Event in progressIP- programme in progress
IP- programme in progressIP-students expressing their difficulties
IP-Chief reading the Declaration Chief, Vanniyaleththo reads the UN Declaration…
and relates a peculiar story…IP- chief Sharing a witty momentIP- school girl expressing views She needs to do Performing Arts, of course she has all the qualifications..Her winning smile proves that.

Drawstring bag to remind the value of education.., A gift by UNIC.IP- School bags distributedIP- bag distributing
ආදිවාසී ජනතාවගේ අයිතිවාසිකම් පිළිබඳ එක්සත් ජාතීන්ගේ පකාශනය

17 වන වගන්තිය 2: “රජයන් ආදිවාසී ජනතාව සමඟ සාකච්ඡා කිරීමෙන් හා සහයෝගයෙන් ඔවුන් අනතුරකට විශේෂයෙන් ලක්වීමට ඇති හැකියාව හා ඔවුන් බල ගැන්වීමට අධයාපනයේ ඇති වැදගත්කම සැලකිල්ලට ගෙන ආදීවාසී ළමයින් ආර්ථික සූරා කෑමෙන් හා ළමයින්ගේ අධයාපනයට හානිකර හෝ බාධා විය හැකි හෝ ළමයගේ සෞඛයයට හෝ කායික, මානසික, අධයාත්මික, සදාචාර හෝ ඔවුන්ගේ සමජ සංවර්ධනයට අනතුරු විය හැකි කිසියම් කාර්යයක් ඉටු කිරීම වැළක්වීමට නිශ්චිත පියවර ගත යුත්තේය….”

The observances of the Day by UNIC Colombo took place with an open forum discussion on education of indigenous peoples on 20 August 2016 at Aadivasi Jana Uruma Kendraya in their own habitat in Dambana with the participation of Uriwarige Wanniya Aththo, the chief of vedda community, some school principals, teachers and senior students.
The rights of indigenous peoples to education is protected by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Also by a number of other international human rights instruments. Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development calls for ensuring equal access to all levels of education and vocational training. Where data exist, in spite of these instruments, they show consistent and persistent disparities between the indigenous and the non-indigenous population in terms of educational access, retention and achievement. Their right to education has not been fully realized.
As distinct peoples, indigenous peoples have developed their own knowledge systems, values, institutions, practices and economies, often based on sustainable management or natural resources. Likewise, indigenous peoples have their own cultural methods of transmitting knowledge.
It is high time that authorities take action to clear barriers to education for indigenous students such as lack of text books and resources, drinking water and facilities for extra-curricular activities.
Hats off to those who pursued higher studies amidst tremendous hardships and today doing a great service not only to their own community but also to the main stream. UNIC Colombo pays its much gratitude to Messrs. Dambane Gunawardena, Dharmarathe, Premadasa and Wimalaratne for their valuable contribution and assistance in conducting the event. The spirit with which the Chief, Wanniya Aththo serves his people is admirable.

Attractive dancing performance by Indigenous children appeared in a website on Sri Lankan Wannilaaththo (indigenous people) courtesy:
Vedda girls in a dancevedda boys in a dance

Local radio station cater to the indigenous community in Dambana
IP-Dambana radio station
Aadivasi Jana Uruma kendraya and the museum: IP-Venue revised

IP Museum photo 01
Scenic Beauty on the way to Dambana:
Sorabora Wewa with a Unique Natural Stone Sluice – සොරබොර වැව

IP day bests picture

IMG_20160820_071603 DSC_1201