U.S. Introduces HRC Resolution Promoting Reconciliation and Accountablity in Sri Lanka

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Introduction of Draft Resolution L.2 on Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka

Delivered by Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe

Human Rights Council 19th Session
March 22, 2012

The United States is pleased to introduce draft resolution L.2, on Promoting Reconciliation and Accountability in Sri Lanka for consideration and approval by this Council.  This resolution enjoys the broad support of 40 co-sponsors.  A copy of the text, including slight revisions, is being circulated in the room today.

It is almost three years since the end of Sri Lanka’s long and painful conflict.  For the past three years, my government has worked bilaterally, and with like-minded countries, to engage officials at the highest levels of the Sri Lankan government on the steps that are necessary to build a peaceful future for the Sri Lankan people.  For those three years Sri Lanka has had the time and space to develop its own roadmap for lasting national reconciliation and accountability.  Most recently, we have encouraged Sri Lanka to address actions taken on both sides of the conflict through its domestic Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission Process.  We looked forward to the Commission’s report, and understood that Sri Lanka would develop its own action plan to implement the LLRC recommendations.

We have also worked bilaterally, and with like-minded countries, to encourage Sri Lanka to take advantage of the resources of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.  And we have encouraged Sri Lanka to engage with the Council, and to benefit from the broad range of experiences of Member States that have dealt successfully with their own post-conflict situations.

Mme President and Distinguished delegates, an enduring peace will be unsustainable without meaningful steps to foster national reconciliation and accountability.

Given the lack of action to implement the recommendations of the Sri Lankan government’s own LLRC, and the need for additional steps to address accountability issues not covered in the LLRC report, it is appropriate that the UNHRC consider and adopt this moderate and balanced resolution.  It is a resolution that encourages Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations of it own LLRC and to make concerted efforts at achieving the kind of meaningful accountability upon which lasting reconciliation efforts can be built.

In addition, this Resolution urges Sri Lanka to work with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and draw from helpful expertise the Office can offer.

These proposals are reasonable, constructive, and carefully tailored to the needs of the situation.  At our informal session on March 8, none of the many delegations present offered proposals for specific textual modifications.

To close, I wish to emphasize that this resolution is intended to help the people of Sri Lanka achieve a lasting and equitable peace that is marked by equality, dignity, justice and self-respect.

Thank you.