US President Donald Trump, on Sunday, signed into law a $2.3 trillion spending legislation which includes funding for Sri Lanka in the year 2021.
However, the Bill approved by the Congress, puts conditions to release some of the funding, including the condition that Sri Lanka assures its sovereignty against influence by the People’s Republic of China.
H.R. 133, an Act making consolidated appropriations for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2021, notes that funds will be made available for Sri Lanka for democracy and economic development programs, particularly in areas recovering from ethnic and religious conflict.
However, H.R. 133 notes that some of the funds will be made available to the Central Government of Sri Lanka only if the Secretary of State certifies and reports to the Committees on Appropriations that the Government is taking effective and consistent steps to respect and uphold the rights and freedoms of the people of Sri Lanka regardless of ethnicity and religious belief, including by investigating violations of human rights and holding perpetrators of such violations accountable.
The condition also includes an assurance of increased transparency and accountability in governance, an assurance of sovereignty against influence by the People’s Republic of China and promote reconciliation between ethnic and religious groups, particularly arising from past conflicts in Sri Lanka.
Funds will also be made available to Sri Lanka for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, to protect human rights, locate and identify missing persons, and assist victims of torture and trauma; to promote justice, accountability, and reconciliation; to enhance maritime security and domain awareness; to promote fiscal transparency and sovereignty; and for International Military Education and Training. The US will also provide funds for Sri Lanka for the refurbishing of a high endurance cutter and training for the navy and coast guard. (EASWARAN RUTNAM)