A resolution on Sri Lanka presented in the US Senate

A resolution on Sri Lanka presented in the US Senate

Written by Staff Writer

10 Feb, 2014 | 11:29 am

A resolution on Sri Lanka (Resolution No = S. RES. 348) has been presented to the US Congress by the Republican Senator of North Carolina Richard Burr.

It’s title is “Expressing support for the internal rebuilding, resettlement, and reconciliation within Sri Lanka that are necessary to ensure a lasting peace”

The resolution presented in the US Senate on February 6 calls on the US and the international community to establish an independent international accountability mechanism to evaluate reports of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other human rights violations committed by both sides during and after the war in Sri Lanka.

Full text of the resolution:

Expressing support for the internal rebuilding, resettlement, and
reconciliation within Sri Lanka that are necessary to ensure a lasting peace.

Whereas May 19, 2013, marks the four-year anniversary of the end of the 26-year
conflict between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the
Government of Sri Lanka;
Whereas the people of Sri Lanka suffered greatly as a result of this conflict,
the impact and aftermath of which has been felt especially by women,
children, and families;
Whereas the Government of Sri Lanka established a “Lessons Learnt and
Reconciliation Commission” (LLRC) to report whether any person, group,
or institution directly or indirectly bears responsibility for incidents
that occurred between February 2002 and May 2009 and to recommend
measures to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in the future and
promote further national unity and reconciliation among all communities;
Whereas the LLRC report was presented to the Sri Lankan Parliament on December
16, 2011, and officially translated into Sinhala and Tamil on August 16,
2012;
Whereas the LLRC report acknowledges important events and grievances that have
contributed to decades of political violence and war in Sri Lanka and
makes constructive recommendations on a wide range of issues, including
the need to credibly investigate widespread allegations of extrajudicial
killings; enforced disappearances; intentional targeting of civilians
and noncombatants; demilitarizing the north and the country as a whole;
reaching a political settlement with minority communities on the
meaningful decentralization of power; and promoting and protecting the
right to freedom of expression for all through the enactment of a right
to information law and additional rule of law reforms;
Whereas the Government of Sri Lanka developed the National Plan of Action to
implement just 82 of the 285 recommendations of the LLRC in August 2011,
and although the Government of Sri Lanka has made some progress on
rehabilitation, resettlement of displaced persons, and improvements of
infrastructure in the North and East, there are still many issues of
major concern;
Whereas the Government of Sri Lanka has yet to reasonably address issues of
reconciliation and accountability through internal processes;
Whereas the Department of State’s 2012 Human Rights Report on Sri Lanka outlines
ongoing concerns regarding landownership and property restitution,
particularly in the Jaffna Peninsula, where large numbers of persons
have not received restitution for land that remains part of government
high security zones, and while citizens generally were able to travel
almost anywhere in the island, there continues to be police and military
checkpoints in the north, and defacto high-security zones and other
areas remained off limits to citizens;
Whereas the Government of Sri Lanka has not taken tangible steps toward
demilitarization of civilian functions, particularly in the North and
East, and continued military presence on private lands in the North is
preventing the resettlement of internally displaced persons who desire a
return to peaceful life;
Whereas the Department of State’s 2012 Human Rights Report on Sri Lanka also
includes reports of serious human rights violations such as unlawful
killings by security forces and government-allied paramilitary groups,
often in predominantly Tamil areas; torture and abuse of detainees by
police and security forces; and arbitrary arrest and detention by
authorities;
Whereas the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution supported by
the United States and adopted by the UNHRC on March 21, 2013, expresses
concern at the continuing reports of violations of human rights in Sri
Lanka, including enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings,
torture, and violations of the rights to freedom of expression,
association, and peaceful assembly, as well as intimidation of and
reprisals against human rights defenders, members of civil society and
journalists, threats to judicial independence and the rule of law, and
discrimination on the basis of religion or belief;
Whereas the Government of Sri Lanka expressed its commitment to addressing the
needs of all ethnic groups and has recognized, in the past, the
necessity of a political settlement and reconciliation for a peaceful
and just society; and
Whereas tangible progress on domestic and international investigations into
reports of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other human rights
violations during and after the conflict and promoting reconciliation
would facilitate enhanced United States engagement and investment in Sri
Lanka: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate–
(1) commends the representatives of the United States on
their leadership on United Nations Human Rights Council
Resolution (UNHRC) 22/1, adopted by the UNHRC on March 21,
2013, which promotes reconciliation and accountability in Sri
Lanka;
(2) calls on the United States and the international
community to establish an independent international
accountability mechanism to evaluate reports of war crimes,
crimes against humanity, and other human rights violations
committed by both sides during and after the war in Sri Lanka;
(3) urges the Government of Sri Lanka to allow unimpeded
access for media, international aid agencies, and human rights
groups into all regions of the country, as well as to detention
sites that may hold political and war prisoners;
(4) urges the Government of Sri Lanka to end its media
restrictions, including the obstacles to the flow of
information in the North and East, and bring to justice those
responsible for attacks on journalists and newspaper offices;
and
(5) calls upon the President to develop a comprehensive
policy towards Sri Lanka that reflects United States interests,
including respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of
law, economic interests, and security interests.

SOURCE: US Congress Official Web

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