Sri Lanka must act to “assert its sovereignty”

US financial support will be contingent on Sri Lanka asserting its sovereignty “against influence by the People’s Republic of China,” and improving human rights and promoting inter religious and ethnic reconciliation, a 900 billion dollar spending bill of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2021 under the ‘‘Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021’’ ’brought before the US Congress on 21 December 2020, said (Page 1495-1498).

Future financial support for Sri Lanka will be available after the secretary of state certifies among others things that Sri Lanka acts to “assert its sovereignty against influence by the People’s Republic of China,” the Bill says.


(1) ASSISTANCE. — Funds appropriated under title III of this Act shall be made available for assistance for Sri Lanka for democracy and economic development programs, particularly in areas recovering from ethnic and religious conflict: Provided, That such funds shall be made available for pro-grams to assist in the identification and resolution of cases of missing persons.

(2) CERTIFICATION. — Funds appropriated by this Act for assistance for the central Government of Sri Lanka may be made available only if the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that such Government is taking effective and consistent steps to

(A) respect and uphold the rights and freedoms of the people of Sri Lanka regardless of ethnicity and religious belief, including by investigating violations of human rights and holding perpetrators of such violations accountable;

(B) increase transparency and accountability in governance;

(C) assert its sovereignty against influence by the People’s Republic of China; and

(D) promote reconciliation between ethnic and religious groups, particularly arising from past conflict in Sri Lanka, including by

(i) addressing land confiscation and ownership issues;

 (ii) resolving cases of missing persons, including by maintaining a functioning office of missing persons; (iii) reducing the presence of the armed forces in former conflict zones and restructuring the armed forces for a peace time role that contributes to post-conflict reconciliation and regional security;

(iv) repealing or amending laws on arrest and detention by security forces to comply with international standards; and

(v) investigating allegations of arbitrary arrest and torture, and supporting a credible justice mechanism:

Provided, That the limitations of this paragraph shall not apply to funds made available for Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief; to protect human rights, locate and identify missing persons, and assist victims of torture and trauma; to promote justice, accountability, and reconciliation; to enhance maritime security and domain awareness; to promote fiscal transparency and sovereignty; and for International Military Education and Training.

(3) INTERNATIONAL SECURITY ASSISTANCE. — Of the funds appropriated by this Act and prior Acts making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs under the heading ‘‘Foreign Military Financing Program’’, up to $15,000,000 may be made available for assistance for Sri Lanka for the refurbishing of a high endurance cutter: Provided, That in addition to such 16funds, up to $500,000 may be made available only for programs to support humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, instruction in human rights and related curricula development, and maritime security and domain awareness, including professionalization and training for the navy and coast guard: Provided further, That amounts repurposed pursuant to this paragraph that were previously designated by the Congress, respectively, as an emergency requirement  or for Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War 1on Terrorism pursuant to the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985 are designated by the Congress as being for an emergency requirement pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A)(i) of such Act or for Overseas Contingency Operations/ Global War on Terrorism pursuant to section 7251(b)(2)(A)(ii) of such Act. (US Congress)

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