The US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Michele J. Sison, has warned that unless accountability was addressed in Sri Lanka, the island would see a “return to a conflict situation”, whilst addressing the Foreign Correspondents Association of Sri Lanka.
See her full speech here.
Speaking in Colombo, Sison said,
“History has shown that societies that do not adequately address reconciliation and accountability usually return to a conflict situation at some point down the road. Thus, however difficult this process is, it is ultimately vital to the stability of Sri Lanka”.
“As we examine next steps, we will renew our consideration of all mechanisms available, both in the Human Rights Council and beyond. But it is important to emphasise that calls for reconciliation and accountability should not simply be seen as exhortations by the international community – reconciliation and accountability should be viewed as essential to ensuring a peaceful and prosperous future for the country”.
“We looked at the conditions around the country. We compared those to the government's commitments and stated goals. We realised that not only were many of the concerns that led to the first resolution still there, but also that in some ways the situation had deteriorated."
In terms of accountability, Sison expanded saying,
"We mean identifying those responsible for committing abuses and imposing consequences for these acts or omissions."
She went on to add that “important steps in achieving real reconciliation” had not been taken since the end of the armed conflict, adding
"Some form of credible investigation is in the interest of the government concerned… For when there are serious allegations of human rights violations, whether a government likes it or not, those allegations will persist until they are credibly addressed”.
Sison also addressed threats to journalists and media freedom, stating,
"I know that this room full of journalists is only too aware that attacks against the media continue to this day, and that suspects are rarely apprehended — or, if apprehended, are almost never convicted".
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