Visiting US Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski
Although the United States remains hopeful about the promises Sri Lanka’s new Government made, the island nation will be judged by its actions and achievements and not by the promises, the US asserted Thursday.
Visiting US Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Tom Malinowski, confirming that the US will sponsor another resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council in September, said the US will continue to encourage Sri Lanka on reforms and change after September.
Speaking to journalists in Trincomalee Thursday Malinowski said the US hopes the new Government will work with them and the United Nations on accountability and reconciliation while the international community will remain involved in the process.
“We very much hope that with the changes after 8 January, the new Government will work with us and work with the United Nations on a real process of accountability and reconciliation. The international community will remain involved in that process.”
“And as much as we are hopeful about the promises that the new government had made, we will judge it not by its promises but by its actions and achievements,” the US official stressed.
Responding to journalists, the Assistant Secretary cautioned that some of the problems that Sri Lanka faces will take a tremendous amount of time to resolve.
“Full justice will take time. Reconciliation between communities will take time. Changing the political culture, especially at the local level, will take time,” he said.
However, some measures have to be taken quickly, Malinowski said, adding that it is possible for the Sri Lankan military to return the land that was taken from people very quickly.
“That is something we feel will build confidence and trust among the population. It is something that we hope the Government will encourage the military to do as quickly as possible,” he noted. Responding to queries on an international probe on human rights violations, the US official expressed opinion that the judicial process needs not be a completely international process but should be free of political leadership.
“The important thing is that there be a judicial process that is credible to the people of Sri Lanka and to the international community. For that process to be credible, I don’t think it has to be a completely international process, but it does have to be independent of political leadership,” he said.
According to the Assistant Secretary the process has to be led by people who are trusted by the minority communities and it should have some degree of international involvement, even if it is a domestic process organised under the laws of Sri Lanka.
Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka launches regional committees to address local complaints
The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka has unveiled a program to address human rights issues at the regional level.
The program aims to sort out complaints through regional committees before they reach the Commission, the Government Information Department said.
The first stage of establishing the regional committees was launched in the Ampara District. The committees comprise state officials as well as civil committee officers. The committees are being established in every Divisional Secretariat Division.
The Ampara District program commenced recently under the patronage of Nimal G. Punchihewa, the Legal Adviser of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka.