In announcing the participant list for the virtual US “Summit for Democracy” democratic summit, which is to be held from 9-10 December, the State Department has excluded Sri Lanka amidst growing concerns over the island’s dire human rights record.
Sri Lanka is one of the few countries, alongside China and Russia, which have not been invited to participate in this summit. 110 countries have been invited including India, Pakistan, the Maldives and Nepal. Notably, Taiwan has also been invited to participate in this Summit.
According to the State Department the focus of the summit will be on:
- Defending against authoritarianism
- Addressing and fighting corruption
- Promoting respect for human rights
The announcement follows meetings between the US State Department and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and Global Tamil Forum (GTF) in Washington and New York. During these meetings discussions were held on “finding a political solution for ethnic conflict” as well as “pursuing justice for victims”.
Whilst in Washington, Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, stressed to the Tamil delegation that “human rights are central to US foreign policy in Sri Lanka”.
The announcement of the participation list further comes as the British Foreign Office has released a damning statement detailing the continued deterioration of human rights in Sri Lanka. In their statement, the Foreign Office highlights the government’s continued obstruction of “accountability in a number of emblematic human rights cases”; the “surveillance and intimidation of human rights activists”; and condemned the crackdown on memorialisation events.
Read more from the State Department here.