Addressing the press on 22 March American Ambassador in Sri Lanka Michele J Sison said that yesterday’s vote at the Human Rights Council was clear–the international community encouraged the Government of Sri Lanka to fulfill its own obligations to its people, and to take meaningful, concrete steps on reconciliation and accountability.
The resolution very clearly encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to move forward on a path toward lasting peace. As Secretary of State Kerry noted yesterday in his statement, the US looks to the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and to reverse recent negative developments related to the rule of law and human rights.
The resolution encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to credibly investigate allegations of violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.The Human Rights council yesterday expressed concerns regarding threats to judicial independence and the rule of law, reports of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings and torture, and violations of the rights to freedom of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.
It also highlighted the constructive roles of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN special procedures mandate holders. It is a balanced and constructive resolution.
It acknowledges progress that has been made in certain areas, in rebuilding infrastructure, demining, and resettling the majority of internally displaced persons.
At the same time, the resolution notes that considerable work lies ahead in the area of justice, reconciliation, and the resumption of livelihoods.
The resolution stressed the importance of the full participation of local populations, including representatives of civil society and minorities in these efforts.
As the US National Security Council Spokesperson noted out of our White House yesterday, the vote in Geneva sent a clear message that the international community is committed to working with the Government of Sri Lanka to promote greater peace, stability, and prosperity for all of the people of Sri Lanka.
We look forward to continuing our productive relationship with the Government of Sri Lanka and greatly value our friendship with the Sri Lankan people.
US remains broadly engaged. We are a long-standing friend of Sri Lanka, and we have a productive relationship with the Government of Sri Lanka.
As a good friend of Sri Lanka, the US stands ready to assist in actions to be taken that promote reconciliation.
We have a number of programs currently underway. We continue our active support for civil society, including our Youth Empowerment Grants.
Just this weekend, for example, we were down near Tangalle, to assist a Youth group with their work in the community to protect Sea Turtle Habitats.
Again, we look to the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of the LLRC and to protect rule of law and human rights.
As a friend of Sri Lanka, we believe that Sri Lanka must address these outstanding issues so that all Sri Lankans can live in peace and dignity.
That message yesterday was clear.