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* Sri Lankans in Los Angeles rally to denounce US-sponsored resolution
Sun, Mar 30, 2014, 06:12 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

by Hassina Leelarathna

Mar 30, Los Angeles - Sri Lankans carrying placards and flags demonstrated Thursday (March 27) outside the landmark US Federal Building on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles calling on the United Nations and the US to drop their anti-Sri Lankan posture and help move the peace process forward.

The rally came just hours after the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council passed a US-sponsored resolution authorizing the High Commissioner of the HRC to investigate if human rights abuses had occurred in the last months of the LTTE war. The vote passed with 23 voting for, 12 against, and 12 abstaining. Some of the demonstrators denounced the resolution as "fiction" and demanded that the US and the world body stop "harassing" Sri Lanka.

Long-time activist Podinilame Dissanayake called Thursday's vote a "defeat" for the US since it had not been able to convince its staunch Asian allies India and Japan to vote against Sri Lanka. "With all the odds against it, Sri Lanka has been able to convince a good part of the international community there's absolutely no truth in the genocide and war crimes canards spread by the Eelam lobby," he added.

In a press release following Thursday's UN vote, US Secretary of State John Kerry characterized the resolution as a reaffirmation of "the commitment of the international community to support the Government of Sri Lanka as it pursues reconciliation and respect for human rights and democratic governance."

"[T]he United States will continue speak out in defense of the fundamental freedoms that all Sri Lankans should enjoy," Kerry said while praising Sri Lankans for demonstrating grit and determination throughout years of war. "The United States stands with all the people of Sri Lanka. We are committed to helping them realize a future in which all Sri Lankans can share in their country's success," he added.

Commenting on the statement, Dissanayake said US could demonstrate its commitment by respecting Sri Lanka's sovereignty and dignity. "It is disheartening that the US has totally forgotten the long ties our two nations shared. During the cold war when India was a Russian satellite state, Sri Lankan remained America's friend. Sri Lanka is one country where Americans have always been welcomed. I wonder what ordinary Americans, the wonderful people we all know in our personal lives, will say if they knew how their leaders are treating our home country?"

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