"Tamil propagandists" part cause of anti-trade US legislation, says SL Ambassador

[TamilNet, Friday, 25 March 2011, 00:50 GMT]
Sri Lanka's Ambassador to US, Jaliya Wickramasuriya, said that Leahy Amendment, a U.S. law barring support to foreign military units believed to have committed gross rights violations, and recently passed US Senate resolution, S. Res. 84, which calls for "independent international accountability mechanism to look into reports of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other human rights violations," in Sri Lanka are obstacles to US investment and US businesses engaging with local partners in Sri Lanka, Associated Press reported Thursday. Wickramasuriya played down the impact of the Senate resolution, which he saw driven by ethnic Tamil propagandists based overseas and rights groups, AP added.

Sri Lanka's Ambassador to U.S., Jaliya Wickramasuriya
Sri Lanka's Ambassador to U.S., Jaliya Wickramasuriya
Wickremasuriya, while planning to accompany executives from Boeing, Caterpillar and hotelier Starwood to Sri Lanka to meet with business partners this week, warned US that evenwhile US is the top foreign investor in Sri Lanka, "Chinese companies with state-backed financing are now leading in major infrastructure projects in the island's economy...," AP report said.

The Obama administration has said that international pressure for a war crimes probe is likely to grow if the Sri Lankan commission [Lesson Learned and Reconciliation Commission- LLRC] does not investigate properly, AP added.

Further, the International Crisis Group (ICG), Human Rights Watch (HRW), and Amnesty International, the three premier human rights watchdogs, had blasted Sri Lanka’s reconciliation commission (LLRC) last year accusing the commission of failing to “meet basic international standards for independent and impartial inquiries,” and for "proceeding against a backdrop of government failure to address impunity and continuing human rights abuses.”

Wickramasuriya rejected the accusation of bias and said the commission should be allowed to complete its work. He said if there is "credible evidence" of rights violations, there could be criminal proceedings, according to Associated Press report.

United Nation's Special Rapporteur on Extra-judicial Executions, Philip Alston, had earlier dismissed Sri Lanka's local commission as ineffective without a mandate to probe war crimes, questioned the independence of the same commission pointing to the past dismal performance of its Chairman, Chitta Ranjan de Silva, and cautioned that "detailed and deeply troubling allegations won’t magically disappear."


Related Articles:
03.03.11   US Senate Resolution calls for accountability for Sri Lanka ..
10.11.10   Rights groups flay LLRC, say whitewashes War Crimes
14.10.10   HRW, ICG, Amnesty reject invite, slam LLRC
20.06.10   Alston assails Sri Lanka's "Reconciliation" commission
17.07.09   US Congress places Rights barriers on Sri Lanka IMF loan


External Links:
AP: Sri Lanka says US human rights concerns complicate efforts to attract more American investment

 

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