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Lanka needs to do more

21 July 2010 12:39 pm - 18     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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By Easwaran Rutnam


US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake says Sri Lanka needs to take more steps to encourage greater reconciliation and greater democracy and also noted the need for improvements in media freedom.

Blake noted that achieving reconciliation will be a key element in peace and one part of achieving reconciliation will be to finish resettling all internally displaced personas as soon as possible.

“Another key part of reconciliation is to ensure accountability for past wrongs. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had recently told External Affairs minister G.L Peiris that Sri Lanka’s Lessons learnt and reconciliation commission holds promise and we hope and expect it will fulfill that promise. A last pillar of reconciliation will be to advance democracy and human rights. Minister Peiris affirmed during his visit to Washington that Sri Lanka wants to review and strengthen its institutions of democracy,” he said  

Blake added that progress in implementing greater power sharing with the provinces, implementing the 17th amendment to empower independent commissions such as the human rights, police and bribery commissions and efforts to safeguard media freedom will all be important steps in ensuring an important step of peace and prosperity for all Sri Lankans.

The US official, who met President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his visit to Sri Lanka today, said that the President understands the need for power sharing and wants to go forward. 

Blake also said that there is some misunderstanding on the role of the UN panel appointed by UN secretary General Ban ki-moon to advice the UN Chief on Sri Lanka. Blake was of the view that the UN Secretary General appointed the panel to advice him about what might be done to help the Commission in Sri Lanka. 

“The US believes the UN panel can play an important advisory role with Sri Lanka’s commission. The panel is only an advisory panel and does not have an investigative role. It can benefit Sri Lanka’s commission,” he said.

On the US decision to review GSP trade benefits for Sri Lanka Blake said that it is important to make a distinction on the US GSP process and the EU GSP plus process saying that while the US had initiated a process to look at human rights in Sri Lanka GSP will remain for Sri Lanka during the process.  (Daily Mirror online)

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  Comments - 18

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  • Thisara Wickramanaya Wednesday, 21 July 2010 04:09 PM

    He is the culprit who was behind the UN expert pannel.

    RajasH Wednesday, 21 July 2010 04:17 PM

    A Patriotic Force for Fasting is being created. Recruitment will commnce after the Dengu week to ensure good healthy applicants.

    Kaps Thursday, 22 July 2010 03:57 AM

    Thank you USA for your advice. Do you know that 4.2 million people were internally displaced thanks to your invasion of Iraq and 2.7 million of those people are still refugees inside their own country. The rest living as refugees in neighbouring countries. Thanks to your 2001 invasion of Afghanistan, more than 5 million Afghan refugees live in terrible conditions in neighbouring Iran and Pakistan. Please take your petty advice elsewhere ...

    Ravana Thursday, 22 July 2010 03:58 AM

    Why doesn't some one like the New York Times or the Herald Tribune open a newspaper in this country and try their hand at free journalism ?

    They may be pleasantly surprised, journalism and reporting supported by tangible evidence will always be allowed.

    Kamal Wednesday, 21 July 2010 04:44 PM

    US needs to do more by closing down guantanamo bay.. And stop human right violations in Irag & Afghanistan .

    MaPer Thursday, 22 July 2010 04:04 AM

    I gave several comments earlier stating the difference between an "advisory panel" and an "investigative panel". Blake is very right in what he says. Sri Lanka is great at NATO - no action , talk only. So the numerous commissions/committee like the "Lessons Learnt Commission will be the same. It will be like the APORC proposals of the learned Dr Vitharana -

    Gayan Samarasekara Thursday, 22 July 2010 04:24 AM

    Also US needs to do more to secure the environment from BP pollution..

    raj Wednesday, 21 July 2010 06:41 PM

    I doubt that people in power would listen his message and protect the media.

    Upali Thursday, 22 July 2010 08:43 AM

    UN, US & EU should continue to put pressure on Sri Lanka until it improves its human rights record.

    rashony Thursday, 22 July 2010 05:25 AM

    how can this blake character even talk about human rights in another country whilst there are serious violations by US forces in Iraq and Afganistan.

    Faqi Wednesday, 21 July 2010 09:56 PM

    Kamal, keep to the topic and do not digress into other areas!

    Bluff Bluff Thursday, 22 July 2010 05:51 AM

    As a citizen of Sri Lanka, I personally felt ashamed in listening to the speech of Blake on TV last evening. He now comes and advising the policy makers of the country on on 13th, 17th amendments etc which our own politicians proposed and enacted in the Parliament. I was wondering whether 13th and 17 amendments were forced on us by the US Govt.

    Upul Thursday, 22 July 2010 06:21 AM

    i don't think goverment will listen to him. earlier he said we cannot win the war

    Ameer Wednesday, 21 July 2010 01:09 PM

    Any new job will be created by this steps???

    Kalu Thursday, 22 July 2010 10:25 AM

    Mr Blake, Sri Lanka had done 10 times more rehabilitation within 12 months than you, the so called "super power" had done after "katherine".

    Yessir Thursday, 22 July 2010 03:06 PM

    That Ravana , must be why international reporters were embedded for the 30 year two sided slaughter

    Thomas Wednesday, 21 July 2010 03:23 PM

    Well said Blake. War is over a year ago, now it is time to get into action without staging satyagragas.

    Lucky Thursday, 22 July 2010 03:48 AM

    US and UN must ask Sri Lankan Govt what must be done to help Sri Lanka.

    We are not here to listen to the Americans as to what must be done in Sri Lanka.

    Go do it in your country, Mr Blake.


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