The United States says its policy on Sri Lanka had changed after the government failed to show progress on addressing human rights related issues.
US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor Michael H. Posner, speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations, an independent, nonpartisan membership organization, think tank, and publisher, said that in 2009 there was a reluctance to challenge some of the things that were going on in Sri Lanka.
“At the UN and elsewhere where there was a move to create a commission of inquiry but we were not persuaded that it was the thing to do,” he said.
However he said what happened last year was quite significant as the US not only participated in but led the effort at the UN Human Rights Council to adopt a very critical resolution on Sri Lanka calling on the government to honestly implement the recommendations of the lessons learned commission.
The US had managed to get a resolution on Sri Lanka adopted at the council despite objections raised by the Sri Lankan government and its allies.
“We put enormous diplomatic effort into it and it really reflected a shift, in part because we hadn’t seen progress and in part because there was a lot of advocacy both inside and outside the government,” he said.
Posner confirmed reports that the resolution will be revived and revised at the ongoing session of the UN Human Rights Council.
“We have had quit tough discussions with the government. One of my deputies was out there to raise a set of human rights issues,” he added.
The top US official said that in his opinion the way the US government dealt with Sri Lanka can be seen as a success despite the challenges faced. (Colombo Gazette)