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
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