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New US envoy set to focus on human rights

The current US Ambassador-designate has stated that she will prioritise human rights, if confirmed as the next Ambassador to Sri Lanka.

Speaking at her Senate confirmation hearing, Michele Sison said that the US was looking for “near term progress” and stating,

"serious allegations of violations of human rights law and international humanitarian law, committed by both sides at the end of the war remain to be investigated and have slowed reconciliation."

The former Ambassador to  Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates went on to say,

"The United States and other international partners have encouraged the government of Sri Lanka to pursue the steps needed to foster genuine reconciliation and accountability."

"Achieving genuine reconciliation will require Sri Lanka to take credible steps to ensure equality and justice for all sri Lankans, particularly for those living in the former conflict areas."

"Such steps include demilitarisation of the former conflict zones, establishment of a mechanism to address cases of the missing and detained, and setting a date for provincial elections in the north. Also critical will be an agreement between the Sri Lankan government and the elected representatives of the Tamil community and devolution of power to provincial institutions."

"During a May 18th meeting with the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister, Secretary Clinton underscored that enduring peace is unsustainable without adequate measures to address reconciliation and accountability. She encouraged a transparent and public process with regard to reconciliation and accountability to strengthen confidence inside and outside of Sri Lanka, and to speed the healing of the country."

"If confirmed I stand ready to leader efforts to support SL as it moves forward and to use US assistance strategically, to promote reconciliation, strengthen democratic institutions and practises, and foster economic growth particularly in the North-East, the former conflict zones.

Sison is currently assistant chief of mission for law enforcement and rule of law at the US Embassy in Baghdad.

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