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. Reconciliation and accountability should be viewed as being essential to ensuring a peaceful and prosperous future for the country, U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Michele J. Sison said on Monday.
Calls for reconciliation and accountability should not be seen simply as exhortations by the international community, she said addressing the Foreign Correspondents Association (FCA) in Colombo.
Observing that the United State and Sri Lanka have, for long, had a strong relationship based on shared democratic values, Ms. Sison said that is precisely why the U.S. will always speak
up when it feels such values are threatened.
Elaborating on why the United States went in for a second resolution, she said in 2012 the U.S. government asked Sri Lanka to fulfill its own commitment to its people based on the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission report, and to meet its international obligations.
The U.S., Ms. Sison said, looked at conditions around the country and compared those to the government’s commitments and stated goals. “We realised that not only were many of the concerns that led to the first resolution (in 2012) still there, but also that, in some ways, the situation had deteriorated,” she said.
The March 21 Geneva United Nations Human Rights Council resolution also cited concern about discrimination on the basis of religion or belief. “Against this backdrop, the United States, along with many Sri Lankan citizens, is alarmed by the recent attacks on Muslim businesses and certain inflammatory calls to action. This type of hateful sentiment must not be allowed to fester.”
What happens next would depend on the government of Sri Lanka, she said. The office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has been asked to update the U.N. Human Rights Council on Sri Lanka’s progress, at the September 2013 and March 2014 sessions.
“While we do have concerns about some recent developments here, our relationship with the people of Sri Lanka is enduring,” she said.