Opening Remarks by Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe
at Informal Consultations on a Draft Resolution on Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka at the Human Rights Council
United Nations Office at Geneva
(As Prepared for Delivery)
Yesterday, after consultation with partners including those who will join us as co-sponsors, we tabled a draft resolution on Sri Lanka for consideration by the Human Rights Council (HRC) at its 19th Session. We have taken this step upon careful reflection and after extensive dialogue and bilateral engagement at the highest levels of the U.S. government. Three years since the end of the conflict, it is our belief that the government of Sri Lanka must take concerted actions on the ground to foster national reconciliation and accountability. The U.S. Government has provided humanitarian and development assistance to facilitate post-war reconciliation, and we believe that HRC action can further assist in this aim.
After consulting broadly with delegations from all regions and incorporating many helpful suggestions to the initial draft, we have introduced a moderate, reasonable, and balanced resolution text as a basis for further discussion and collaboration with our many partners in the Human Rights Council. In this regard, we reiterate our long-expressed willingness to work in partnership with the government of Sri Lanka on this resolution, and on the broader issues of reconciliation and accountability.
This resolution is not intended to condemn; indeed, it acknowledges the contributions of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), which has made many constructive recommendations to the Sri Lankan government. However, many international and domestic observers share our conclusion that the government has not yet promulgated a credible action plan for implementation of those recommendations, nor has it taken the additional needed steps since the war to foster national reconciliation.
Our intention is clear: we want the countries of the world to join in encouraging the government of Sri Lanka to take the steps needed to ensure meaningful and lasting national reconciliation after a long conflict, to reach out sincerely to the Tamil population and bring them back in to the national life of Sri Lanka, and to ensure accountability for actions taken during the war.
Time is slipping by for the people of Sri Lanka. Together with the international community we want to work with Sri Lanka in order to bring lasting peace to the island. We firmly believe that action now in this Council reflects the international community’s ongoing interest in and support for action on the ground in Sri Lanka. Numerous international and domestic observers have echoed our concern that the government of Sri Lanka must now establish domestic processes that will sow the seeds of lasting peace on the ground. With this resolution, the countries of the world can extend their hand of cooperation to help all the people of Sri Lanka achieve that goal.