US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Robert Blake said the US was ‘disappointed’ about Sri Lanka’s failure to address several issues including the implementation of the LLRC action plan.
Mr. Blake told the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific on Tuesday that, “I must say progress thus far on implementing the LLRC action plan has been slow and we’ve been disappointed as you say that the government has not proceeded so far with elections for the Northern Provincial Council four years after the end of the war.”
Following are some of the answers given to the subcommittee:
I’ve been working on Sri Lanka now for six years and know the country extremely well and consider myself a friend of the country and a supporter of the country and at the end of the conflict as you know there were many questions about the number of civilians that were killed at the very end of the conflict, an independent UN panel estimated between 10,000- 40,000 innocent civilians may have been killed.
Nonetheless the United States decided that we would support a domestic probe that is a Sri Lankan domestic process to try to get to the bottom of that and to investigate that and to develop what is now called a Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission process.
But we did so with the understanding Mr. Chairman that there would be rapid progress towards reconciliation and accountability, and I must say progress thus far on implementing the LLRC action plan has been slow and we’ve been disappointed as you say that the government has not proceeded so far with elections for the Northern Provincial Council four years after the end of the war, we’ve been disappointed that there hasn’t been a conclusion of the dialogue between the Tamil National Alliance – the umbrella groups, the Tamil groups as well as the TNA dialogue with the government on devolution and we’ve been disappointed that there has been some backward movement on democracy, as you say, things like the 13th amendment and the recent impeachment of Sri Lanka’s Chief Justice.
So for that reason last year we supported a resolution in the UN Human Rights Council to put additional pressure on Sri Lanka to implement its own LLRC report, we did so with the support of countries like India and a large majority of other countries in the HRC. I think there is good support thus far to have another vote this year to continue to urge Sri Lanka to implement its own report and that’s why we are pursuing that again this year.