US calls for political devolution

The United States says some of the most important steps in achieving real reconciliation in Sri Lanka have not yet moved ahead and this includes dialogue with the TNA on political devolution.

The US Ambassador in Sri Lanka said the US will continue to push for reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka.

US Ambassador Michele J. Sison, speaking to Foreign Correspondents in Colombo, said that as the US examines the next step, they will renew its consideration of all mechanisms available, both in the Human Rights Council and beyond.

She said it is important to emphasize that calls for reconciliation and accountability should not simply be seen as exhortations by the international community but should be viewed as essential to ensuring a peaceful and prosperous future for the country.

“History has shown that societies that do not adequately address reconciliation and accountability usually return to a conflict situation at some point down the road.  Thus, however difficult this process is, it is ultimately vital to the stability of Sri Lanka,” she said.

She noted that as Sri Lanka moves forward from the last Human Rights Council session, the US will look closely at what steps the government chooses to take in response to the resolution.

She recalled that the US helped the government and people of Sri Lanka in every way they could to try to end the LTTE’s reign of terror and decades of LTTE attacks which included countless suicide bombings and the assassination of President Ranasinghe Premadasa.

The Ambassador said that the United States remains concerned about threats against, and attacks on, media outlets in Sri Lanka.

She urged the Sri Lankan authorities to fully investigate the recent Uthayan attack and hold the perpetrators accountable.

The Ambassador noted that the National Action Plan of the Sri Lankan government did not cover all the recommendations of the LLRC, just as the LLRC recommendations did not address all the outstanding issues of reconciliation and accountability.  Nevertheless, she said the National Action Plan included many steps that, if completed, would be helpful for the country.

“When we say reconciliation, we mean finding a way for all Sri Lankans to live together in peace, harmony, and security in a unified country…a country in which the democratic space exists for all to be able to express their views freely, and for all to share in the prosperity of the country in terms of access to land, employment, education, and so forth.  When we say accountability, we mean, identifying those responsible for committing abuses and imposing consequences for these acts or omissions,” she said.

She said that when there are serious allegations of human rights violations – whether a government likes it or not – those allegations will persist until they are credibly addressed.

“We note reports that highlighted a Sri Lankan Army Commission of Inquiry report on actions undertaken in the final phase of the conflict.  We respectfully suggest that this report should be made public,” she said. (Colombo Gazette)