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Little progress on Tamil issues in North-East say US Congress members

In a letter to the US Secretary of State John Kerry 24 US Congress members expressed growing concerns about Sri Lanka’s “political will and ability” to implement the United Nations Council Resolution on accountability and justice that was co-sponsored by the government last year.

Stressing that there had been “little progress on the key issues o concern to Tamils in the North and East reflected in the text Resolution 30/1,” the joint letter called for,

“The release of hundreds of detainees under the PTA, the return of land held by military to Tamil and Muslim civilian owners, investigations into the tens of thousands of forcibly disappeared people, the safe return of internally displaced (IDPs), and the removal of the military from civilian affairs in the North and East.”
The Congress members added that ,

“Confidence has been damaged by the tight and often intimidating surveillance of Tamil civil society and activists by military and pole, and by unwarranted arrests.”

 Commenting on the recently drafted Office of Missing Persons bill, the Congress members expressed concern at the lack of consultation stating,

“The design of the OMP also lacked genuine consultation with victims families, undermining confidence among victims groups and civil society.”

 The letter went on to add calls for meaningful security sector reform and demilitarisation of the North-East stating,

“The heavy military presence in these regions and the military’s continuing role in civilian and commercial activities perpetuate an atmosphere of fear and prevent the return to normal life.”

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