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* U.S. committed to working with the people of Sri Lanka - envoy
Fri, Apr 4, 2014, 01:44 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 04, Colombo: The United States remains firmly committed to working with the people of Sri Lanka to build a future in which all of Sri Lanka's citizens can achieve their aspirations, its envoy to Colombo said.

"We have been a longtime friend of the Sri Lankan people, in good times and in bad," the U.S, Ambassador to Colombo Michele Sison said Thursday addressing the Foreign Correspondents Association.

She said the United States upholds its commitment to the people of Sri Lanka through a broad relationship that extends to economic development, education, access to justice, and other activities island-wide.

Speaking of the U.S.-led resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council, the envoy said the U.S. concerns regarding the lack of reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka, ongoing human rights issues in the north and east, and attacks against journalists and religious minorities have not been addressed five years after the end of the war.

The U.S. for the third time sponsored a resolution on Sri Lanka at the 25th session of the UNHRC. The resolution was adopted with a majority of 11 votes in the Council last month.

This time the resolution requests a comprehensive investigation, to be undertaken by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes committed in Sri Lanka, by both sides, during the 2002-2009 period covered by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission report.

She said the resolution does not preclude the domestic process, but is meant to support a genuine, credible, and transparent domestic process and the UN High Commissioner's investigation can and should support the government's own efforts to fulfil the recommendations of the LLRC.

"We encourage the Government of Sri Lanka to take heed, to fulfill its own obligations to its people, and to take meaningful, concrete steps on reconciliation and accountability. This reflects genuine concern on the part of the United States for all communities in Sri Lanka. We also encourage the Government to cooperate fully with UN mechanisms," the envoy said.

The Ambassador said the reconciliation is a lengthy process and must be started in earnest as soon as possible.

"We believe that creating economic opportunity must go hand in hand with political reconciliation."

She stressed that the U.S. and all others who supported the Sri Lanka resolution at the UN Human Rights Council sent a clear message that the international community is committed to working with the Government of Sri Lanka to promote greater peace, stability, and prosperity for all citizens of Sri Lanka.

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