As we examine next steps – Sison


idp-7Story: The United States would consider all mechanisms available to pursue Sri Lanka for post-war reconciliation and investigate into alleged human rights violations in the final stage of a three-decade war, its envoy for the island nation said

Michele Sison, the U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka, speaking to foreign correspondents said concerns over human rights and other democratic values have deteriorated in Sri Lanka and that prompted her country to sponsor a second resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) last month.

Sison told a Foreign Correspondents Association (FCA) forum late on Monday (April 08), while explaining the next steps the U.S. will take to pursue Sri Lanka for post-war reconciliation and accountability for alleged killing of thousands civilians.

“As we examine next steps, we will renew our consideration of all mechanisms available, both in the Human Rights Council and beyond,” said Sison.

However, she did not elaborate the mechanisms the U.S. is considering beyond the Human Rights Council and the time frame for such measures.

Sri Lanka is under heavy international pressure to conduct an independent investigation into conduct during the war where, tens of thousands of civilians were killed in the final months of the nearly 30-year conflict, according to a U.N. panel.

Since the end of the war in May 2009, Sri Lanka has repeatedly rejected calls from the Western nations and UN for an international independent probe into the alleged rights abuses in the final months of the war.

“We found a broad consensus in the international community, that the international community should remain focused on the situation in Sri Lanka. Many countries shared concerns about the pace of reconciliation and the pace of accountability,” she added.

On March 21, The U.N. adopted the second U.S.-sponsored resolution calling Sri Lanka to carry out credible investigations into killings and disappearances during the war, especially in the brutal final stages in 2009.

It also voiced concern at reports of continuing violations including killings, torture, curbs on the right to freedom of expression, and reprisals against activists and journalists.

The resolution, as in the first one adopted last year, called Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations to address rights abuses recommended by its own local inquiry panel, Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) appointed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

“Some form of credible investigation is in the interest of the government concerned. Now we have always been very clear about stating that there were serious allegations of human rights violations on both sides during that conflict. But when there are serious allegations of human rights violations, whether a government likes it or not, those allegations will persist until they are credibly addressed,” Sison also said.

She said deteriorating human rights violations in Sri Lanka led the U.S to sponsor the second resolution after

Sison also said though the LLRC report had mapped out a path to progress on investigating enforced and involuntary disappearances, special commissioner to conduct these investigations has not yet been appointed.

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