US Official Comments on UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka

Secretary of State John Kerry

03/27/2014 10:09 AM EDT

UN Human Rights Council Vote on Sri Lanka Reconciliation

Press Statement

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
March 27, 2014 

Today’s vote in the UN Human Rights Council sends a clear message: The time to pursue lasting peace and prosperity is now; justice and accountability cannot wait.

This resolution reaffirms the commitment of the international community to support the Government of Sri Lanka as it pursues reconciliation and respect for human rights and democratic governance. That’s why the resolution requests that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights continues monitoring the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. That’s why it calls on the Office to conduct an investigation into allegations of serious human rights abuses and related crimes during Sri Lanka’s civil war. And that’s why the United States will continue speak out in defense of the fundamental freedoms that all Sri Lankans should enjoy.

We are deeply concerned by recent actions against some of Sri Lanka’s citizens, including detentions and harassment of civil society activists. Further reprisals against these brave defenders of human rights and the dignity of all Sri Lankan citizens would elicit grave concern from the international community.

The Sri Lankan people are resilient. They have demonstrated grit and determination through years of war. Now, they are demanding democracy and prosperity in years of peace. They deserve that chance.

The United States stands with all the people of Sri Lanka. We are committed to helping them realize a future in which all Sri Lankans can share in their country’s success. 


National Security Council

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
March 27, 2014
Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on UN Human Rights Council Vote on Sri Lanka
The United States welcomes today’s passage of the UN Human Rights Council resolution on “promoting reconciliation, accountability, and human rights in Sri Lanka, ” which calls on the Government of Sri Lanka to take meaningful action to ensure justice, accountability, and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans.  We agree with the resolution’s request for the Office of the High Commissioner to investigate alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties to the conflict and to monitor the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, which has continued to deteriorate.  Today’s resolution sends a message of concern about the present human rights situation in Sri Lanka and the denial of universal rights, and it underscores the importance of fundamental freedoms that must be respected in order to build a future in which all of Sri Lanka’s people can achieve their aspirations.  Today’s vote also sends a clear message that the international community is committed to working with the Government of Sri Lanka to promote greater peace, stability, and prosperity for all of the people of Sri Lanka.


Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chair, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
March 27, 2014
Chairman Menendez Statement on UN Human Rights Council Vote on Sri Lanka Reconciliation
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement after the UN Human Rights Council Vote on Sri Lanka Reconciliation:
“I applaud today’s passage of the U.S. co-sponsored resolution at the UN Human Rights Council which called for an independent international investigation into alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka. Accountability is long overdue in Sri Lanka, and I hope that an independent UN investigation will be able to pursue justice, accountability and reconciliation for the grave human rights violations allegedly committed by both sides during Sri Lanka’s civil war.  Earlier this month, I sent a letter to Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressing my support for this resolution and raising concerns about the shrinking space for civil society in Sri Lanka.  I remain very concerned about the deterioration of the environment for journalists, human rights defenders and religious minorities in Sri Lanka and call upon the government to take steps to also address these pressing issues.”
Rep. Bill Johnson (R-OH), Co-Chair, Congressional Caucus on Religious & Ethnic Freedom in Sri Lanka



March 28, 2014




Bill Johnson Statement on U.N. Human Rights Council’s Vote for Sri Lanka Reconciliation


WASHINGTON – Congressman Bill Johnson (R-Marietta) released the following statement following the United Nations (U.N.) Human Rights Council’s vote on Sri Lanka Reconciliation:

“Yesterday’s vote by the U.N. Human Rights Council illustrates the international community’s commitment to the pursuit of peaceful stability in Sri Lanka, and sends a clear message to the Sri Lankan government that the time has come for accountability and reconciliation.  The resolution calls on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to continue monitoring the current human rights situation in Sri Lanka, and to investigate allegations of human rights violations and war crimes committed by both parties during Sri Lanka’s civil war.  In addition, the resolution requests that the High Commissioner present an update, and submit a comprehensive report to the Human Rights Council during the upcoming 27th and 28th sessions.

“Serving as a co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Ethnic and Religious Freedom in Sri Lanka, I am committed to raising awareness of the human rights abuses that have occurred in Sri Lanka, the need to hold all sides accountable, and the importance of reconciliation for the Sri Lankan people.  The Caucus recently held a discussion on these human rights violations, featuring guest speaker J.S. Tissainayagam, and a viewing of the documentary “No Fire Zone,” which focuses on the atrocities that occurred during the final months of Sri Lanka’s decade’s long civil war.

“It is my hope that the government of Sri Lanka will take this U.N. Human Rights Council Resolution seriously, and will immediately implement steps towards reconciliation and the restoration of fundamental rights and freedoms that are necessary for the Sri Lankan people to move forward as a peaceful, democratic society.”


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