QUESTION: Recently, there was a Commonwealth meeting in Sri Lanka in Colombo. According to the president there, what he told the leaders – and also to the international community, including UN and the U.S. – he said that time is needed for reconciliation with the countries because after so long war between the two communities and the violence and so forth, and the international community should not conclude or jump on the situation because each country needs some time. And also here in Washington, Sri Lankan ambassador also repeated the same thing on the U.S. and the UN, to give his country more time. So what is going on now as far as the human rights and other situation in Sri Lanka?
MS. HARF: I think I had something on this. Yes. Here’s what I have, the latest, and if I need to get more, I can: The U.S. has long urged the Government of Sri Lanka to fulfill its public commitments, to implement the recommendations of its own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee report, and to develop credible justice mechanisms to address outstanding allegations concerning serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law.
We do also continue to be concerned about ongoing issues regarding restrictions on freedom of the press and expression, the erosion of the rule of law, and violence against religious minorities. And we also note with concern that human rights defenders have continued to face reprisals. Obviously, this is something that needs to end.