While claiming it gained support from a key ally-india-in its effort to go for a resolution against Sri Lanka, US expressed fear that Sri Lanka might fail to take credible steps towards the accountability factor.
Eileen Donahoe, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, said the council this week is set to accept a U.S. resolution to that effect during a meeting in Geneva that ends Friday, despite Sri Lanka's attempt to block it.
"We don't think of this as a symbolic vote," Ms. Donahoe said in an interview. "We see this as a meaningful effort to encourage the Sri Lankan government to take credible steps…We fear the government of Sri Lanka might fail to take those credible steps."
Sri Lanka is looking increasingly isolated in that effort. On Monday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, a country with warm ties to the Sri Lankan government, said India was "inclined" to back the resolution.
The motion, if successful, won't legally bind Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's government to any policy.
But Washington views it as a way of exhorting Sri Lanka not to cover up abuses by government soldiers during the final months of the war, a period during which a U.N. panel has said up to 40,000 civilians died.
Ms. Donahoe said that building diplomatic consensus for the resolution was a struggle given that the abuses occurred three years ago and weren't part of an ongoing crisis.
Sri Lankan officials say the U.S. is meddling in its internal affairs at a time when the nation is trying to forge reconciliation between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamil populations after a war estimated to have cost 100,000 lives. Officials point to government efforts to build infrastructure in the Tamil-dominated north and east of the country, where the war was fought, which they say has led to annual economic growth of over 20% in those areas.
"We feel the U.S. is being intrusive," said Bandula Jayasekara, a spokesman for Mr. Rajapaksa. "Nobody likes pressure being brought unnecessarily without giving us time and space for reconciliation."
Mr. Rajapaksa's government, after defeating the Tamil Tigers and killing its leader in a military onslaught in May 2009, promised an independent probe into allegations the army had indiscriminately shelled schools and hospitals and the Tamil Tigers used civilians as human shields. But the government hasn't lived up to the promise, the U.S. and other nations say.
A state war-crimes report, published in December, largely exonerated government forces from blame for atrocities, while castigating the Tamil Tigers.
The government also has faced accusations, most recently in a report last week by the Brussels-based International Crisis Group, of allowing the Sinhalese-dominated army to remain in Tamil areas, control international aid spending in the region and grab land from Tamils to set up agriculture and tourism businesses.
Those allegations have angered India's Tamil population. A Tamil party that is part of Mr. Singh's coalition government threatened in recent days to pull its support if India did not support the U.S.'s resolution.
Robert Blake, U.S. assistant secretary of state for South Asia and Central Asia, said some of the commission's recommendations were sound—such as pushing the government to demilitarize Tamil areas and publish names of detainees—but even on these Sri Lanka has yet to take action.
"We think they've had quite a lot of time to develop an action plan and we're disappointed they haven't done so," Mr. Blake said in an interview.
The U.S. resolution will ask for Sri Lanka to set a timeframe for implementing the recommendations of its commission, as well as calling for Colombo to allow a truly independent investigation of war crimes.
A panel appointed by U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, in a report a year ago, also criticized Sri Lanka for failing to properly investigate war crimes and recommended an independent inquiry.
Sri Lanka deserves some credit for building schools and roads in Tamil areas, Mr. Blake said. "But much remains to be done to ensure that Tamils, especially in the north, can live in peace." (WSJ)
A very good message to US and his cronies. Leave sri Lanka to manage their own affaires.
sethul geenuka Tuesday, 20 March 2012 03:54 PM
it is ok
percy Wednesday, 21 March 2012 05:25 AM
From Sri Lanka somebody can export Polkohu, Kohubath, Piduru, Rice Husk ank Sri Lanka Jems. Anybody doing this, and the country can become rich while China can be richer.
KUTHBUDDIN Tuesday, 20 March 2012 07:03 AM
THIS IS A SIMPLE MATHEMATICS YOU ALL DON'T SEE THE DEPT OF THE ISSUE HERE INDIA IS OUR CLOSES NEIGHBOR AND IT NEEDS OIL AND GAS ,AMERICAN WANTS ITS BASES IN SRI LANKA . BECAUSE IT FEARS CHINA IS BECOMING THE NEXT SUPER POWER .IF CHINA CHINA BECOMES SUPER POWER THE WHOLE OF ASIA BENEFITS WITH TRADE.THIS IN TURN IS THE DOWN FALL OF THE EUROPEAN AND AMERICA ECONOMY.THE SOLUTION IS CREATING A UNITED NATIONS OF ASIA .
Dismanirie Tuesday, 20 March 2012 07:06 AM
Not only the Tamil population of the north and east, but also the whole nation will suffer the consequence of missing a historical opportunity to embark on a meaningful reconciliation programme between Sri Lanka's ethnic groups.
Time for the government to stop pandering to Sinhala supremacists and start acting on behalf of all its citizens. Sri Lanka has so much potential, but will realise it only when its people can learn to live together and work on developing the nation, instead of whining about foreign interference.
limatc Tuesday, 20 March 2012 07:31 AM
why not our reps ask the same UN where the human rights for us and eu , i have not seen a single strong statement taken before this un regarding the human rights of these two powers and israel , why we are silent , if a person knows he is been subjected to harasment without any legal entity why not put out the fact of others' mistake , why we hide , why are we bound for others flesh , see india what they did to us , we sold the world cup since they threated us , now they betrayed us , the cental indian govt cannot accept pressure from tamil nadu govt , this is the fact , it is not a democracy country , it is a racist country
Cynic Tuesday, 20 March 2012 05:31 AM
Can't you see that the US and their Allies, who are sponsored by Arms Manufacturers, are trying to create Wars? Their economies are dependent on the sale of Arms, to unsuspecting Countries. Doesn't the Tamil Diaspora understand that there will be more killings of unfortunateTamils in Sri Lanka, while the Diaspora are safe in their adopted Lands. 'Collateral damage' is the Euphemism that the USA uses when they kill Civilians in the Countries where they start wars. Whereas when it is in Sri Lanka they call it 'Human Rights Violations'. Wake up Tamils, to what the USA and Tamilnadu are trying to do to your compatriots in Sri Lanka.
Gamini Tuesday, 20 March 2012 01:17 PM
An educated gentleman. why those US and so called other western nations buy cheap Chinese goods by loosing millions of jobs in their own countries. For the Sake of Chinese people ? Why EU expecting Chinese central bank will come out and help to get rid of Europe's debt crisis by buying EU bonds.
Mifaz Tuesday, 20 March 2012 10:13 AM
Do you know that China's economy is depending on labour outsourcing by US & other western nations. Please be educate in this regard before you publish comments.
alavee Tuesday, 20 March 2012 10:00 AM
as a sri lankan , we shouldn't bow to Americans,
all Americans should get lost from sri lanka
we are singalish , we are practicing different religions
PRAD Tuesday, 20 March 2012 03:47 AM
Ms Donahoe, what you are trying to do is to further alieanate local thamils and hardened the attitude of majority singhalse. Without popular support of majority singhalese no government, no political party or no outsider can usher anything to srilanka. Heavy handed attitude of US,EU, UN and Indian approach will make majority determination infexible. This strategy is designed to fail, for sure.
Mangala Tuesday, 20 March 2012 07:44 AM
These morons will never learn what PRAD said here. Its in our DNAs. We will never bow to outside presure in anyway originally. We have rich culture and helpful hands to anyone who comes with friendly to us. India, US, UK never been friendly to us. If these morons will think productively, they can make tamilnadu in india and make all tamils peace. Well import all tamils to tamilnadu. What we as srilankan really need in this moment is, real leader who is non politicised, not corrupted and welling to lead the country with brave heart.
Rohan Tuesday, 20 March 2012 10:29 AM
Well Eileen - Don't you think that Human Rights must start from the very people who are abusing that - US is No. 1 abuser so let Sri Lanka take their place in the queue. Don't you have a right to look into war crimes by US first before you look into other countries. Isnn't this double standards. Did you not want to go into crimes against humanity when the Tamil Tiger Leader was alive when he was using child soldiers as well as his terrorist outfit to kill innocent civilians? Lets not see double standards here. The elections are due soon and US needs the tamil vote. The US Govt will get their chunk of money like what Hillary Clinton received and had to return the money when it was public. Its a shame they have these double standards. LTTE and Prabhakaran is classed as a terrorists and black listed by the west. What are you talking about the Sri Lanka Govt when people are now living without fear of the terrorists.
Raj Tuesday, 20 March 2012 10:17 AM
Arent' they buying our products?
Sri Lanka Tuesday, 20 March 2012 05:46 AM
Wrong strategy America.. There are many other ways where you can help to bring the two communities together..
solomon Tuesday, 20 March 2012 10:12 AM
Why is UNHCR silent about atrocities done by US. Is it you scratch my back and I will scratch yours scenario?
sundram Tuesday, 20 March 2012 01:58 PM
SL is in this present situation, because of the mentality of people like you. SL belongs to all citizens and not to one particular race, religion etc
TMA Tuesday, 20 March 2012 07:41 AM
Say what? OK name me 5 things we can export 2 China
Wahoo Tuesday, 20 March 2012 06:27 AM
Pls concentrate on reconciling what the US have done in Vietnam, Iraq, South America and Afghanistan ..
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