Ilankai Tamil Sangam

24th Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

2010 US Appropriations Bill and Sri Lanka

December 20, 2009

1)is suspending and bringing to justice members of the military who have been credibly alleged to have violated internationally recognized human rights or international humanitarian law; and

(2)is treating internally displaced persons in accordance with international standards including by guaranteeing their freedom of movement, providing access to conflict affected areas and populations by humanitarian organizations and journalists, and accounting for persons detained in the conflict; and

(3) is implementing policies to promote reconciliation and justice including devolution of power as provided for in the constitution of Sri Lanka.

(4) Is respecting internationally recognized human rights, including the right of due process and freedoms of the press, association, and assembly.

House and Senate Conference Report language on Sri Lanka signed into law December 16, 2009

Sec. 7089. Sri Lanka.

The conference agreement includes a provision, similar to that proposed by the House and Senate, regarding assistance for Sri Lanka. While the conferees welcome the defeat of the Tamil Tigers, the conferees are concerned with internally displaced Sri Lankans who are still detained in closed camps, as well as other persons who have been imprisoned or are being prosecuted for publicly reporting attacks on civilians.

The conferees direct the Secretary of State to submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations not later than 45 days after enactment of this Act on the extent to which the Government of Sri Lanka is treating internally displaced persons in accordance with international standards, including by guaranteeing their freedom of movement, providing access to conflict-affected areas and populations by humanitarian organizations and journalists, and accounting for persons detained in the conflict.

The conferees are also concerned that the Government of Sri Lanka has not taken credible steps to promote reconciliation among Tamils and other minority ethnic groups. The conference agreement includes a provision directing the Secretary of the Treasury to instruct the United States Executive Directors of the international financial institutions to vote against financial support for Sri Lanka, except to meet basic human needs, unless certain requirements are met.

The conferees direct the Secretary of State to submit, not later than 180 days after enactment of this Act, a report supplementing the Secretary's October 21, 2009, report on crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka detailing what, if any, measures have been taken by the Government of Sri Lanka and international bodies to investigate such incidents, and evaluating the effectiveness of such efforts.

In addition, the following is included in the final bill.

SRI LANKA

4 SEC. 7089. (a) IN GENERAL.- Funds appropriated

5 in title III of this Act that are available for assistance

6 for Sri Lanka shall be made available for programs that

7 promote reconciliation between ethnic Sinhalese and Tamil

8 populations, support post-conflict reconstruction, and ad

9 vance the participation of Tamils and other minorities in

10 the political and economic life of the country, and shall

11 be subject to the regular notification procedures of the

12 Committees on Appropriations.

13 (b) RESTRICTION ON MILITARY ASSISTANCE.- None

14 of the funds appropriated by this Act under the heading

15 "Foreign Military Financing Program" may be made

16 available for assistance for Sri Lanka, no defense export

17 license may be issued, and no military equipment or technology shall be sold or transferred to Sri Lanka pursuant

19 to the authorities contained in this Act or any other Act,

20 until the Secretary of State certifies to the Committees

21 on Appropriations that the Government of Sri Lanka:

(1)is suspending and bringing to justice members of the military who have been credibly alleged to have violated internationally recognized human rights or international humanitarian law; and

(2)is treating internally displaced persons in accordance with international standards including by guaranteeing their freedom of movement, providing access to conflict affected areas and populations by humanitarian organizations and journalists, and accounting for persons detained in the conflict; and

(3) is implementing policies to promote reconciliation and justice including devolution of power as provided for in the constitution of Sri Lanka.

(4) Is respecting internationally recognized human rights, including the right of due process and freedoms of the press, association, and assembly.

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Obama Signs Omnibus Spending Bill Into Law

WASHINGTON -(Dow Jones)- President Barack Obama signed a $447 billion omnibus spending bill into law Wednesday, [Dec. 16, 2009]assuring that federal agencies will be able to operate through the remainder of fiscal 2010.

The measure was passed by the Senate over the weekend, despite the complaints of Republicans who say it is full of wasteful spending.

The bill provides appropriations for the Departments of Commerce, Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, the Treasury, Veterans Affairs and other agencies.

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Restrictions on United States' military assistance to Sri Lanka

by Press Trust of India, December 11, 2009

A bill passed by the US House of Representative today imposed restrictions on US military assistance to Sri Lanka and sought a report from the secretary of state on the alleged crime against humanity during the last phase of the 30-year-old civil war there.

The Senate and House Conference report of the 2010 Appropriations Bill direct the secretary of state to submit a report supplementing her report on October 21 on crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka detailing whether any measures have been taken by Colombo and international bodies to investigate such incidents, and evaluating the effectiveness of such efforts.

A section in the Bill, which deals with US financial assistance to Sri Lanka, restricts any military assistance to Colombo until the Secretary of State certifies to the Committee on Appropriations that Sri Lanka is suspending and bringing to justice members of the military who have been credibly alleged to have violated internationally recognised human rights or international humanitarian law. The Senate is expected to pass the 2010 Appropriations Bill this weekend.

The conference report also expressed its concern Sri Lanka has not taken credible steps to promote reconciliation among Tamils and other minority ethnic groups.

While the report welcomed the defeat of the Tamil Tigers, it expressed concerned over the displaced Tamils who are still detained in closed camps, as well as other persons who have been imprisoned or are being prosecuted for publicly reporting attacks on civilians.

The Conference report also expressed its concern Sri Lanka has not taken credible steps to promote reconciliation among Tamils and other minority ethnic groups.

The conference agreement includes a provision directing the Secretary of the Treasury to instruct the United States executive directors of the international financial institutions to vote against financial support for Sri Lanka, except to meet basic human needs, unless certain requirements are met.

"...If all conditions are met by Sri Lanka, then the Secretary of State should ensure that any military assistance to Sri Lanka be used to support the recruitment and training of Tamils into the Sri Lankan military, Tamil language training for Sinhalese military personnel, and human rights training for all military personnel," the 2010 Appropriations Bill said.