by US Tamil Political Action Council
It has been 18 months since President Sirisena was elected and 9 months since the government of Sri Lanka co-sponsored HRC Resolution 30/1.
While the government has implemented some notable measures to build confidence, distrust continues to run high among the victim community. 10 Confidence Building Measures were identified in October 2015, the majority noted by Foreign Minister Samaraweera in his September 2015 address to the HRC and agreed to by the government in HRC Resolution 30/1. These measures would help to alleviate the suffering of victims and foster an environment of trust so that all Sri Lankans can participate in the proposed transitional justice mechanisms with confidence and in safety.
Member states and others in the international community must increase incentives and pressure on the government through the HRC process and in bilateral engagements because it is only through incentives and pressure that progress occurs. While the internal political situation is noted, this cannot be an excuse for inaction or reneging on commitments. The strong application of carrots and sticks by states and other international actors can help bypass obstructionist government entities to advance the reform agenda, provide hope for the future and, most vitally, improve the lives of victims.