24 September, 2021

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Sri Lanka Faces Another Hurdle: U.S. House Members Take-Up Rights Issue With State Department

By Daya Gamage

Daya Gamage

A group of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, some of them in the influential Foreign Relations Committee, have taken up Sri Lanka’s issues connected to human rights, rule of law, transparency and accountability with President Biden’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

On eve of Washington re-joining the UNHRC and now as an observer, the Secretary of State Antony Blinken addressing the UNHRC on February 24 encourage it to support the forthcoming resolution advocating Sri Lanka to undertake accountability for the actions during the Eelam War IV.

Blinken in his address referring to Sri Lanka said “We encourage the Council to support resolutions at this session addressing issues of concern around the world, including ongoing human rights violations in Syria and North Korea, the lack of accountability for past atrocities in Sri Lanka, and the need for further investigation into the situation in South Sudan.”

A letter signed by nine U.S. House Members to Secretary Blinken urged “the United States to center human rights and democracy in its diplomatic engagement with Sri Lanka and make every effort to promote and international accountability process for Sri Lanka”.

The letter further said “The Rajapaksa government has, over the past year, elevated individuals implicated in war crimes to senior government posts; reversed key democratic reforms and consolidated power behind the office of the president; obstructed efforts to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of war crimes; engaged in surveillance and harassment of human rights advocated.  The Human Rights Council expressed “serious concern” over “deteriorating” human rights in Sri Lanka.

“The (March UNHRC) resolution recognizes the lack of accountability for past gross violations of human rights and international humanitarian law”.

Chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee Greg Meeks in a special statement on Sri Lanka’s resolution at the UNHRC said I welcome the UN Human Rights Council’s adoption of the U.S.-cosponsored resolution promoting reconciliation, accountability, and human rights in Sri Lanka. A peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka can be a key partner for the United States in the Indo-Pacific.

Congressman Meeks further noted “This resolution highlights the need for a prompt, thorough, and impartial investigation into allegations of serious violations of human rights law, and I strongly urge the Sri Lankan government to demonstrate its commitment to engaging in a meaningful accountability process”.

These deliberations clearly indicate that Sri Lanka issues have seriously entered the Congress foreign affairs committee at a time Sri Lanka has not taken notable endeavors to strategize its overseas diplomacy.

The most influential Chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee Robert Menendez too has been a hostile congressman who Sri Lanka has so far failed to make diplomatic representations.

Last year at a Senate hearing on MCC and the Compact with Sri Lanka Robert Menendez declared that Sri Lanka elected a war criminal. His remark can be found in the official Record of the December 4, 2019 Senate Hearing on page 11/12.

The Biden administration has placed number of officials in pivotal bureaus to handle human rights and war crimes to which Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry is still unaware as its lacks diplomatic strategy.

An Indian-American (Ms) Sumona Guha has been placed at the White House National Security Council as its Senior Director for South Asia. She will be working closely with the Biden White House team, and with Dr. Susan Rice, Biden’s Domestic Policy director.

Another Indian-American (Ms) Mala Adigar is now the Policy Director in the Biden White House. Under Obama she served as Director Human Rights on the National Security Council.

(Ms) Shanthi Kalathil, another Indian-American, is now the Coordinator for Human Rights and Democracy in the White House.

Biden administration has appointed Uzra Zeya, another Indian-American, as Under Secretary for Democracy and Human Rights in the State Department.

Sri Lanka seems to be facing this hostile group of people from U.S. Congress to the White House.

President Biden has already made a key appointment to handle ‘South Asian Affairs’ in the National Security Council, the body that formulates foreign policy and defense matters; another appointment to handle human rights in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under whose purview the Bureau of Human Rights and War Crimes function placing serious emphasis on human rights, war crimes and rule of law in foreign countries. Dr. Susan Rice who was National Security Advisor to President Obama who had constant dialogue with Tamil Diaspora representatives during Sri Lanka’s Eelam War has been appointed Presidential Advisor on Domestic Affairs, a position that covertly work on foreign affairs to suit the White House domestic agenda.

Sri Lanka is now on the agenda of the Biden administration with the State Department taking note of this South Asian nation’s scenario. The communication from leading U.S. Congressmen to Secretary of State Blinken is the latest.

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Latest comments

  • 9
    25

    Daya Gamage,

    Don’t you worry, Sri Lanka has two Big powers ; China and Russia on its side.

    Biden can’t do anything to Sri Lanka: It has sovereignty too.

    • 9
      2

      Big powers eh? The gap between the largest military in the world and the rest is huge. There is no match to eleven aircraft carriers and the best innovation in the world as opposed to Chyna copy cats and the loutish Russians that managed to leverage its share of German scientists into a rocket program. Even the Russian Hypersonic missile advantage will soon be gone. You see in spite of Trumpian madness democracy survived. In spite of the very obvious evil attempting to undermine freedom and usher in nasty right wing murderous dictators supported by scoundrels as your self democracy and the superiority that comes from a free people will prevail. What is sovereignty for a debt loaded underwater economy. What is sovereignty when you are trapped in an eternal spiral down a bottomless hole dug for Sri Lanka by China and its local greedy murderous quislings.

  • 36
    5

    The extremist sinhala buddhist terrorists must be taught a lesson on their knees.
    .
    The idea that this island belongs to one ethnic group/religion is as absurd as making statues and worshipping a mere mortal human being.
    .
    Every individual in Ceylon has a claim to this land.

    • 9
      2

      Absolutely correct. We need to take back Ceylon that once existed before a stupid Cow came to power and destroyed this nation in Toto. She took away our senate she nationalized everything that led to an economic disaster. Her husband was the original architect of this destruction out of spite and malice against his own people the nobility of this country. A nobility who willingly gave up power and fought for freedom only to see there land taken over and their values laughed at and ridiculed by a bunch on know nothing village yokels brought to power by him and his wife.

    • 1
      14

      The extremist Tamil and Muslim terrorists must be taught a lesson on their knees.
      .
      The idea that this island belongs to one ethnic group/religion is as absurd as gathering around a large black stone, slaughtering animals and praying to the sky.
      .
      Every individual in Ceylon has a claim to this land.

    • 2
      8

      sitrep24,
      Muslims hold the first place for terrorism in the world. Second place by Tamils. Sinhala Buddhists are not in the list because they never resorted to terrorism.
      ******
      “Every individual in Ceylon has a claim to this land.”

      When Sinhala Buddhists gave asylum to ‘Paradeshi’ refugees they gave them the opportunity to live in this country but did not give the right to claim anything.

      • 1
        0

        Paradeshi Eagle, don’t be so harsh on your ancestors for coming to this island as boat refugees!

    • 3
      1

      Sitrep24 – Wait, Nandasena will utter these words – Every individual in Sri Lanka (Ceylon)
      has a claim to this land, in desperation shortly! His mental treatment: Weekly Village-
      based announcements and reprimanding is not working medically on him.

    • 0
      0

      Sri Lanka, Island of Sinhalese Aryans (Heladiva) 74.9%, Sri Lanka Tamils 11.2%, Moors 9.2%, Indian Tamils 4.2% and others including Malays and Burgher .05%. In Malaysia, 68.8% Malays 23.2% Chinese, 7% Indians, and others 1%. This is gospel truth also.

      • 2
        0

        Look, the majority of the present day Sinhalese are descendants of South Indian Tamils, except for some who naturally must have descended from the Kalinga boat refugees and some from the Portugese like Pereras, Silvas, Gomez et al!

  • 27
    3

    US, UK and India helped Sri Lanka in its war with LTTE to fight separatism, not to commit war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide of Tamils.

    • 1
      7

      Thiru,
      Man, you got it wrong. They wanted to keep separatism afloat but wanted to get rid of LTTE Tamil terrorists that they thought could be a threat to them. That is the reason why they wanted to rescue megalomaniac Prabhakaran and take him to a safe heaven.
      All these countries monitored the military operation against LTTE and know very well that Sri Lanka Armed Forces did not commit war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide of Tamils. They brought war crime charges to take revenge for not listening to them when asked to stop the military operation to rescue Prabhakaran.

      “US, UK and India helped Sri Lanka in its war with LTTE to fight separatism,”

  • 17
    4

    Thank you, Daya Gamage, for keeping CT readers abreast with the developments in the US corridors of power on Sri Lanka’s human rights, rule of law, transparency and accountability issues. It seems you certainly have an ear to the US ground. Talking about ground, Sri Lanka really has only two choices.
    1. Change.
    or
    2. Go on with keeping that head buried in the sand and suffocate as the economy is gradually and steadily gripped by paralysis due to the sad and deteriorating state of affairs on the island (maybe the paralysis has already started to set in).
    ~
    Here is a reality check on how much the Sri Lankan economy is dependent on trade with the U.S.
    In 2019 Sri Lanka’s total goods exports to the U.S was $2.7 billion. It would therefore make good sense to engage rather than lock horns with the U.S.
    https://ustr.gov/countries-regions/south-central-asia/sri-lanka
    ~
    It’s still not too late to change, at least for the sake of the next generations of Sri Lanka!

    • 0
      4

      USA development of Anti-Asian started now, very soon it will come in a big way even Kamala Harris can’t do anything she is Puppet of white Americans. She can’t do any miracles in the USA because of the Senate full of White Americans. Do what as Senate not as Senate do. Kamala Harris just a worker and a Puppet of White Americans, the whole world knows this. She can make Tamil Nadu a Separate country for Tamils? Can she compare to Nelson Mandela?

  • 5
    24

    USA could not succeed with Venezuela, China, Syria, North Korea, and Iran. So-called resolutions and sanctions achieved nothing. Recently after China agreed to do a 25 year, $400 billion USD trade agreement with Iran, the US decided to have some indirect talks with Iran in Vienna. Sri Lanka’s best bet is to continue its alliance with China.

    • 8
      2

      leslie,
      .
      Let’s not try to frame the utter desperate beggar dog position sri lanka has been put in (i.e. relying on the help of a nation engaging in genocide by running concentration camps for 6 million human beings) as some sort of strategic move. the extremist buddhists have assumed their natural position of a ‘beggar on their knees’ to the world stage. Otherwise why would it beg burma (a country with a military government not even recognized by the world) for help 😂😂

      • 2
        6

        tipcut24 you’re slipping man, you forgot your usual swipe at what you think are ‘idol worshippers’.

  • 2
    2

    Shaping up to be a foolish decision to withdraw from the co-sponsoring of the 2015 resolution. This is of course less related to genuine concern of Human Rights; more related action against Chinese influence in the region & to support actions initiated by QUAD. Did GOSL play into the hands of the waiting fielder(s) ??

  • 6
    1

    Eagle Eye is suffering from multiple phobias. The real Paradeshi is Vijaya and his 700 friends. They are the first illegal immigrant. Recently, when Mahinda Rajapaksa went to Bangaladesh he reminded his hosts that the present Sinhalese were the descendants of those who migrated from Bengal. This country belongs to those who have made it their home. Gotabaya Rajapaksa like Hitler is dreaming he can get rid of the Tamils/Muslim.

    Sri Lanka’s rulers have become the laughing stock of the entire world. Any ruler who speaks in terms of Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims are taking this country to the laundry for cleaning.

  • 0
    4

    Sri Lanka, Island of Sinhalese Aryans (Heladiva) 74.9%, Sri Lanka Tamils 11.2%, Moors 9.2%, Indian Tamils 4.2% and others including Malays and Burgher .05%. In Malaysia, 68.8% Malays 23.2% Chinese, 7% Indians, and others 1%. This is gospel truth also.

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