US to wait until September

The United States will not prejudge but wait until September when the differed human rights report on Sri Lanka is placed before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to adopt a stance of supporting a UNHRC-driven initiative or a bilateral mechanism, visiting US Assistant Secretary on Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Tom Malinowski, said yesterday.

Malinowski said: “ What happens in September and beyond is still to be determined. The Sir Lankan Government has promised a credible domestic process to inquire into the rights abuses that took place during the final phase of the war, which is supported by the Sri Lankan people.”

abHU_LmI5zAmThe US welcomed the positive steps taken by the governed but more important work remains to be done. The Untied States looks forward to partnering Sri Lanka’s government and people to support that work,” he added. When questioned whether the US identified anything tangible beyond the change of a government, Malinowski said: “It is not just a change of government. It is a change in commitment and direction.

Problems are being acknowledged and positive partnerships are being formed. Some of the conversations we had during this visit would not have been possible a year ago with high levels of self censorship.”

He added that Sri Lanka’s was an unfinished process but it had been just three months for the new government in office. “Sometimes it is better to walk steady than than run quickly and stumble,” he said.

Acknowleding that some of the issues faced by the population in the North in particular, remained unresolved, he said: “The twin issues of missing persons and political prisoners are extremely important for the people there. The government appears to be on the right path but understanding

that families need closure, these twin issues must be addressed urgently. They need not wait anymore,” he said.

War Crime sri lanka-Malinowski said: “ What happens in September and beyond is still to be determined. The Sir Lankan Government has promised a credible domestic process to inquire into the rights abuses that took place during the final phase of the war, which is supported by the Sri Lankan people.”

The US welcomed the positive steps taken by the governed but more important work remains to be done. The Untied States looks forward to partnering Sri Lanka’s government and people to support that work,” he added.

When questioned whether the US identified anything tangible beyond the change of a government, Malinowski said: “It is not just a change of government. It is a change in commitment and direction. Problems are being acknowledged and positive partnerships are being formed. Some of the conversations we had during this visit would not have been possible a year ago with high levels of self censorship.”

He added that Sri Lanka’s was an unfinished process but it had been just three months for the new government in office. “Sometimes it is better to walk steady than than run quickly and stumble,” he said.

Acknowleding that some of the issues faced by the population in the North in particular, remained unresolved, he said: “The twin issues of missing persons and political prisoners are extremely important for the people there.

killing 13The government appears to be on the right path but understanding that families need closure, these twin issues must be addressed urgently. They need not wait anymore,” he said.

Malinowski also said it was important to consider that ‘something’ had begun.

“Its heartening. This is what the people of Sri Lanka wanted. Its not the international community’s will but the people’s will that brought in democratic transformations to the island.”

The visiting envoy noted that Sri Lanka was at a pivotal moment in its history where there is a genuine opportunity for reconciliation, justice and true peace.

This will also require, looking backward to acknowledge the suffering of the innocent and account for the wrongdoing of the guilty on every side, he said, adding that confidence building measures such as the returning of land to civilians in the North and justice for families of the disappeared add value to a process.

“What I realise is that impunity is not a concern for a particular community but for all communities.

These issues have come to matter for all the communities here and that is unifying,” he said.

Malinowski added: “I was struck by how all Sri Lankans, not just particular communities or groups, seek answers to various issues.

It is clearly not the interest of one group or a community but all are interested in resolving issues and moving on.

They feel they would benefit from having a government that is more accountable and transparent, with less impunity and corruption, together with more opportunity and inclusion.”

Referring to his visit to Aluthgama where communal clashes took place in 2014, the US Under Secretary said, the local people expressed “cautious optimism” that things would improve, adding: “Nothing can be bad as politicians exploiting religion to serve their interests.”