by Rep. Brad Sherman, June 20, 2018
“… I am not a member of this subcommittee, but I have been very involved in Sri Lanka as ranking member of the Asia Subcommittee, which had its own hearing hence delaying me from being here.
Although Sri Lanka’s civil war ended in 2009, Sri Lanka’s northern and eastern provinces have an awful lot of property controlled by the Ministry of Defense, including an extensive portfolio of previously civilian properties, a number of businesses, and multiple hotels. Is it inappropriate for these civilian properties to remain under military control almost ten years after the end of the conflict? And is the Sri Lankan government taking steps to restore civilian control to these properties in the northern eastern provinces?…
“This year’s omnibus appropriations law conditions U.S. economic and security aid to Sri Lanka on its government meeting certain human rights benchmarks. Should we further condition our assistance to Sri Lanka on progress on human rights issues, including accounting for missing persons and providing some degree of political autonomy to the Tamil minority?
…. I’ll ask any other witness whether you have a comment on whether it’d be important for Congress to put such conditions into statute?
Congressman Brad Sherman’s remarks at the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on the Asia and the Pacific, Hearing on “Asia’s Diplomatic and Security Structure: Planning U.S. Engagement,” May 23, 2018
….“I made a statement on Sri Lanka’s remembrance day to remember the tens of thousands of lives lost in Sri Lanka’ civil war. Should we halt security ties with Sri Lanka until it makes progress on human rights issues, especially accounting for the missing and disappeared persons and providing some degree of political autonomy for the Tamil minority?”