Support for human rights, not an effort to bully Sri Lanka – US Ambassador

Alaina B Teplitz - U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka

Ambassador of the United States to Sri Lanka Alaina B. Teplitz has insinuated that Chinese deals lack transparency and mutual benefits for Sri Lanka.

Speaking at a virtual round-table discussion this morning (January 26), she stressed that the island nation should secure more deals outside China in order to reinstate its status as a level playing field for global partners.

US ambassador went on to say that partnerships between countries should be opened, transparent and mutually beneficial. “If this is what Sri Lanka’s relationship with China embodies, we encourage it.”

In response to a question raised on mandatory Covid-19 cremations in the country and the human rights experts of the United Nations urging Sri Lanka to put an end to it, Teplitz expressed concerns about the government’s policy.

She stressed on the need to mutual respect for traditions of all communities while accounting for public health.

Teplitz noted that people of all faiths should have the opportunity to see their loved ones off in a way that represents their faith, traditions and culture.

Speaking on the recommendations made by the UN high commission of human rights on possible sanctions, she said the United States is interested in Sri Lanka’s commitments and looks forward to the island nation’s pledge for a domestic reconciliation mechanism.

She was also of the view that the recently-appointed Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) to inquire, investigate or take necessary actions on findings of preceding commissions appointed to probe human rights violations does not represent forward progress on the commitments the Sri Lankan government has made.

Support for human rights is not an effort to bully Sri Lanka, she said. “The discussion around human rights is meant to support Sri Lanka’s fulfilment of these rights, not to punish it for failing to do so.”

Touching on the current priorities of Sri Lanka-United States relations, Teplitz said the promoting inclusive economic growth in Sri Lanka during the pandemic situation is on top.

(Source: Ada Derana)