US government should urge Sri Lanka to release political prisoners and repeal PTA – congress committee

The chairman of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs has written to Secretary of State John Kerry, urging the US government to press Sri Lanka to release Tamil political detainees, repeal the PTA and return land held by the military.

Chairman Edward Royce said he supports the increased diplomatic engagement with the Sri Lankan government and pointed out that the Sirisena-administration had made several promises and continues to make “impressive, positive steps”.

“Renewed US diplomatic engagement should continue to support these efforts. To that end, I urge you to continue to press the Government of Sri Lanka to take immediate steps to release political prisoners, repeal the war-time “Prevention of Terrorism Act”, and return land seized during the conflict,

“These actions, which the government has already committed to take, would help build confidence in Sri Lanka’s ability to undertake even larger reforms.”

Mr Royce asked Secretary Kerry to “clearly outline” steps the US will take to support reform in Sri Lanka, including implementing the recommendations of the UN human rights chief Zeid Raad al Hussain and stressed the importance of a “clearly-articulated policy” on Sri Lanka.

“I ask you to clearly outline the steps that the US government will take to support reform, including efforts to implement recommendations from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and ensure that development and security assistance are in line with reform efforts,

“Mr Secretary, I believe it is important that the US carry out a clearly-articulated policy to support reform in Sri Lanka,” he further wrote.

See full letter here.