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Interactive Dialogue with OHCHR on Sri Lanka
As delivered by Kelly Billingsley
September 11, 2023

Interactive Dialogue with OHCHR on Sri Lanka

Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America

Human Rights Council – 54th Session

As Delivered by Kelly Billingsley

Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States appreciates the HRC’s continued attention to Sri Lanka and welcomes the High Commissioner’s report.

As it navigates its economic recovery, we recognize Sri Lanka’s strengthened reforms, including anti-corruption legislation. We also welcome the government’s release on bail of over 100 individuals held without trial under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.

We commend initial progress on land returns. However, we must note our concerns about other land grabs in the North and East.

We remain concerned about tensions at religious sites in minority communities, government pressure on civil society, and the absence of local elections since 2018.

We encourage meaningful consultations in finalizing the Anti-Terrorism Act and hope these discussions help bring the law into alignment with international best practices.

We urge Sri Lanka to ensure transitional justice institutions operate credibly and effectively. Reconciliation initiatives should be victim centered, inclusive, impartial, transparent, and independent.

Governments that ensure freedom of expression and peaceful protests enjoy greater peace and stability.

How can we best support the Sri Lankan government and people to develop a credible reconciliation process and pursue accountability?

I thank you.