WASHINGTON, DC (May 1, 2015) – The Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI), a nonprofit that seeks to promote peace, prosperity and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, today called on US Secretary of State John Kerry to urge Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena to deliver concrete action on building a society in which all religious and ethnic groups can coexist peacefully and contribute as equal citizens with guarantees of individual and collective rights and freedom.
Secretary Kerry will visit the island nation on Saturday, May 2, the first Secretary of State to visit Sri Lanka since 2005.
“We support the United States’ continued engagement with Sri Lanka and hope that Secretary Kerry will use this opportunity to discuss meaningful reform with Sri Lankan leadership,” said Dr. Karunyan Arulanantham, executive director of TAPI. “We encourage Secretary Kerry to press the Sirisena government to release all political prisoners that are being held without charge, repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act and fully demilitarize and return land belonging to Tamils in the North and East. Further, Secretary Kerry should encourage President Sirisena to coordinate with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) as it seeks to investigate and hold accountable those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the civil war.”
Sri Lanka’s civil war ended in May 2009 after 26 years of conflict. Since then, incomplete and failed domestic inquiries on abuses committed during the war have left Tamils and other minority groups frustrated, isolated and, most importantly, displaced from their original homelands in the North and East.
Secretary Kerry previously met with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera on February 12 during the foreign minister’s visit to Washington, DC. In his remarks, Secretary Kerry noted that the January election of President Sirisena was an exciting moment for Sri Lanka “to open up greater accountability and possibility for the preservation of human rights, for democracy, for fighting corruption and putting together a government that will speak for and to the people.”
The Tamil American Peace Initiative (TAPI) was formed by a group of Tamil Americans to help bring lasting peace, justice, democracy and economic development to Sri Lanka; to work toward true reconciliation in Sri Lanka by promoting justice, accountability and transparency; and to support a Sri Lankan government that will defend the rights and well-being of all its citizens. Visit www.tamilamerican.org and follow @UstpacAdvocacy.