The US Government has underscored that patience was wearing thin in the international community with the pace of the Sri Lankan Government’s progress on addressing reconciliation, democratic governance, justice and accountability in the country and promised a third US resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva in March this year.
US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Nisha Biswal told a press briefing in Colombo a short while ago that she had reiterated to senior Government officials during a visit to the island about the “insufficient progress” to address reconciliation and accountability five years after the war. “We are concerned about the worsening situation with respect to Human Rights, including continued attacks against religious minorities, as well as the weakening of the rule of law and an increase in the levels of corruption and impunity,” Biswal told journalists.
She said the US would sponsor a third resolution calling on Sri Lanka to do more to promote reconciliation and accountability in March. “While it is too soon to say what that text may include, it will be carried out in the spirit of friendship with the Sri Lankan people,” Biswal explained.
“As we see Asia taking on a leading role in the global economy, we don’t want to see Sri Lanka left behind,” the US envoy said, adding that the continued deterioration in the areas of human rights and democratic governance was already taking its toll on democracy in Sri Lanka.
Substantial steps towards real reconciliation five years after the end of the war had always been applauded by the US when they were taken, the US Assistant Secretary said. “But such steps have been too few and too far between,” she added.
“The culture of deteriorating human rights gives us great concern. And when churches and mosques are burned down, when people feel they cannot practice their faiths without fear, then the concerns of the International Community are justified,” Biswal explained.
Signs are imminent that the third Resolution against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC will build on the two previous resolutions and may contain stronger language and tougher standards and goals for the Sri Lankan Government to meet.