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FeaturesNewsU.S. threatens action against Colombo for failure to redress Tamils

U.S. threatens action against Colombo for failure to redress Tamils

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The United States on Tuesday hardened its stand against Sri Lanka government cautioning it to take necessary steps to book the perpetrators of alleged war-crimes in the country and to bring together the war-torn north and east with the rest of the country after 26 years of war.

The United States on Tuesday hardened its stand against Sri Lanka government cautioning it to take necessary steps to book the perpetrators of alleged war-crimes in the country and to bring together the war-torn north and east with the rest of the country after 26 years of war.
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In an email answer to a question from journalists regarding accountability in Sri Lanka, the State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said, “While domestic authorities have primary responsibility to ensure that those responsible for violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law are held accountable, international accountability mechanisms can become appropriate in circumstances in which a State is unable or unwilling to meet its obligations.”

Giving Colombo time to take action, Nuland said, “As we have stated before, the United States supports a full, credible, and independent investigation of alleged violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law and accountability for such violations.”

Urging the “Government of Sri Lanka to quickly demonstrate that it is able and willing to meet these obligations as it seeks reconciliation,” Nuland minced no words in warning Colombo of dire consequences, “We hope the Sri Lankans will themselves do this, but if they do not, there will be growing pressure from the international community to examine other options.”

The statement was a step forward in cautioning Colombo from just a week ago when the U.S. had failed to go beyond stating a few words about the atrocities committed in Sri Lanka against Tamils and other minorities during the war.

A week ago similar questions were raised at the daily U.S. State Department briefing after an event at a think-tank sponsored event in Washington D.C., where the current U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka spoke along with three of former incumbents of the post while there was also a screening of the film “Sri Lankan Killing Fields.”

Nuland then told journalists, “Let me say that U.S. personnel have seen the film. It includes some very disturbing images. As we’ve stated, we are deeply concerned about credible allegations of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights in Sri Lanka.”

According to reports, the film includes footage of apparent extra-judicial massacres of prisoners by Sri Lankan government forces, the aftermath of targeted shelling of civilian hospitals and the bodies of female Tamil fighters who appear to have been sexually assaulted.

Nuland had continued, “We support a full accounting of and accountability for those who engage in acts that violated international human rights in Sri Lanka,” adding, “Assistant Secretary Blake and other senior officials have regularly raised these concerns.”

The U.S. ambassadors attending the earlier mentioned event were Patricia A. Butenis, Ambassador to Sri Lanka from 2009 – Present, Ashley Wills, Ambassador to Sri Lanka from 2000-03, Shaun Donnelly, Ambassador to Sri Lanka from 1997-2000,and Teresita Schaffer, Ambassador to Sri Lanka from 1992-95.
Hindustani Times

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