While claiming that the Sri Lanka government has not made sufficient progress on post-war reconciliation and ensuring justice and accountability for alleged war crimes, the United States said that it would support another UN Human Rights Council resolution at the March session.
Releasing the Annual Country Report on Human Rights 2013, US Secretary of State John Kerry said, “We will do it in Sri Lanka, where the government still has not answered basic demands for accountability and reconciliation, where attacks on civil society activists, journalists, and religious minorities, sadly, still continue.”
“Our concern about this ongoing situation has led the United States to support another UN Human Rights Council resolution at the March session. We will do so because we know countries that deny human rights and human dignity challenge our interests as well as human interests. But we also know countries that advance those values, those countries that embrace these rights are countries that actually create opportunities,” he said.
According to the report, “Ongoing serious human rights problems include disappearances and a lack of accountability for thousands who disappeared in previous years, as well as widespread impunity for a broad range of human rights abuses, such as torture by police and attacks on media institutions and the judiciary”.
The report also stated that President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s family dominates the government.
“Two of the president’s brothers hold key executive branch posts, as defense secretary and economic development minister, and a third brother is the speaker of Parliament. A large number of the president’s other relatives, including his son, also serve in important political and diplomatic positions. Independent observers generally characterized the presidential, parliamentary, and local elections as problematic.”
It also stated that there was a climate of fear and self-censorship in Sri Lanka. “…attacks, harassment, and threats by progovernment loyalists against critics of the government were prevalent, contributed to widespread self-censorship by journalists, and diminished democratic activity due to the general failure to prosecute perpetrators.”
(Courtesy : DM Online)