The United States today noted that the Government of Sri Lanka has already taken many commendable steps to promote and protect the civil and political rights of all Sri Lankans – including the right to freedom of expression, respecting the independence of government institutions, and upholding rule of law.
Making the opening remarks at a Constitutionalism seminar in Colombo today, the United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka Atul Keshap said there remain difficult challenges to address in Sri Lanka related to reconciliation and accountability.
Keshap said the US will be ready to support Sri Lanka as the people of the country chart a future for Sri Lanka that is peaceful, inclusive, and prosperous.
He said that US assistance and cooperation should help forge new partnerships, new dialogues, new exchanges, and be based on mutual respect and inclusive consultation.
“Sri Lankans are rightfully proud of their long democratic history, influenced by its own unique traditions, relationships, and working institutions. You have confronted challenges in terms of conflict and natural disaster, changed governments in a vibrant multi-party system, and embraced progress toward transparency. Last year, the people of Sri Lanka exercised their democratic rights again and voted twice for good governance, accountability, and equal opportunities for all. Your Government has responded by passing laws and empowering independent commissions, journalists, and civil society for feedback and guidance,” he said.
The Ambassador said the United States and Sri Lanka have a longstanding partnership dating back a hundred years before this country’s independence.
“Like Sri Lankans, Americans believe certain human rights are universal, including the right for every child to an education; for the rule of law to prevent arbitrary detention, guarantee due process, and ensure justice; for every citizen to speak their mind or protest peacefully without fear; to practice their faith peacefully and publicly; and to freely choose their own elected leaders,” he added.
Atul Keshap said the United States supports the people of Sri Lanka because both countries are linked by similar ideals about the basic rights of citizens. (Colombo Gazette)