Sunday, July 14, 2024

John F Kerry and Robert G Lugar debunked vexatious ‘war crimes’ claims way back in December 2009

The most pressing issue was resettlement in post-war Sri Lanka, according to a report submitted by John F Kerry and Robert G Lugar to the US Senate on behalf of the Foreign Relations Committee in December 2009. There was absolutely no mention of any action that warranted the kind of measures that the USA has since then pushed for at the UNHRC.

The full report is as given below:

[Senate Prints 111-36]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
111th Congress                                                  S. Prt.
1st Session                COMMITTEE PRINT                     111-36
One Hundred Eleventh Congress
First Session
December 7, 2009
Printed for the use of Committee on Foreign Relations
Available via World Wide Web: http://www.access.gpo.gov/congress/senate
53-866 PDF                       WASHINGTON : 2009 
For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing 
Office Internet: bookstore.gpo.gov Phone: toll free (866) 512-1800; 
DC area (202) 512-1800 Fax: (202) 512-2104 Mail: Stop IDCC, 
Washington, DC 20402-0001 
JOHN F. KERRY, Massachusetts, Chairman
CHRISTOPHER J. DODD, Connecticut     RICHARD G. LUGAR, Indiana
RUSSELL D. FEINGOLD, Wisconsin       BOB CORKER, Tennessee
BARBARA BOXER, California            JOHNNY ISAKSON, Georgia
ROBERT MENENDEZ, New Jersey          JAMES E. RISCH, Idaho
BENJAMIN L. CARDIN, Maryland         JIM DeMINT, South Carolina
ROBERT P. CASEY, Jr., Pennsylvania   JOHN BARRASSO, Wyoming
JIM WEBB, Virginia                   ROGER F. WICKER, Mississippi
JEANNE SHAHEEN, New Hampshire        JAMES M. INHOFE, Oklahoma
David McKean, Staff Director
Kenneth A. Myers, Jr., Republican Staff Director
Letter of Transmittal............................................     v
Executive Summary................................................     1
Since the War Ended on May 19....................................     3
Status of IDPs...................................................     4
Progress on Political Reconciliation.............................     7
An Intimidated Media.............................................     8
Child Soldiers...................................................     9
Economic Challenges..............................................    10
Strategic Interests in Sri Lanka.................................    12
U.S. Engagement with Sri Lanka...................................    13
Recommendations on Sri Lanka.....................................    16
United States Senate,
Committee on Foreign Relations,
Washington, DC, December 7, 2009.
Dear Colleagues: The administration is currently evaluating 
U.S. policy toward Sri Lanka in the wake of the military defeat 
of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), one of the 
world's deadliest terrorist groups.
It has been six months since the end of the war, and the 
Sri Lankan Government is dealing with a humanitarian crisis in 
the North where hundreds of thousands are still displaced and 
homes and infrastructure are destroyed. The Government faces 
many challenges in transitioning to peace, and the 
international community can help.
Sri Lanka is an important partner and friend to the United 
States, so we asked two of our Senate Foreign Relations 
Committee (SFRC) staff members, Fatema Z. Sumar and Nilmini 
Gunaratne Rubin, to evaluate U.S. policy towards Sri Lanka. Ms. 
Sumar and Ms. Rubin traveled to Sri Lanka with the extensive 
support of the American Embassy in Colombo and the Sri Lankan 
Embassy in Washington, DC, to conduct a week-long fact finding 
mission November 2-7, 2009, to see firsthand how the country 
was transitioning after the war. They met dozens of government 
officials, opposition party leaders, non-governmental 
organizations, journalists, international donors, foreign 
diplomats, academics, civil society leaders, business people, 
internally displaced persons (IDPs), and Sri Lankan citizens in 
a variety of settings. In addition to Colombo, they traveled 
throughout the country, including visiting the IDP camps in the 
North, viewing demining activities in the Northwest, seeing 
areas rebuilt after the December 2004 tsunami and fighting in 
the East, and meeting local government officials in the South.
Their report provides significant insight and a number of 
important recommendations to advance U.S. policy in Sri Lanka. 
We hope it will help stimulate debate on the nature of the 
U.S.-Sri Lanka relationship and American interests in South 
John F. Kerry,
Richard G. Lugar
Ranking Member.
Executive Summary
Sri Lanka stands at a critical juncture in its efforts to 
secure a lasting peace. After almost three decades of 
separatist war, on May 17, 2009, the terrorist Liberation Tamil 
Tigers of Eelam (LTTE or Tamil Tigers) officially conceded 
defeat. Two days later, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa 
declared total victory after government soldiers killed the 
Tamil Tigers' leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran, and took control 
of the entire country for the first time since 1983. With an 
estimated 70,000 casualties over the years, it was a bitter and 
hard-fought victory, one of the few instances in modern history 
in which a terrorist group had been defeated militarily. 
President Rajapaksa framed the victory as part of the global 
fight against terrorism, declaring in a May 19 speech before 
Parliament, ``Ending terrorism in Sri Lanka means a victory for 
democracy in the world. Sri Lanka has now given a beginning to 
the ending of terrorism in the world.''
The war in Sri Lanka may be over, but the underlying 
conflict still simmers. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Sri 
Lanka is not a post-conflict environment. While the fighting 
between the Government and the LTTE may have ended, the reasons 
for the political and social conflict (that also gave rise to 
youth militancy and armed clash in the 1970s and 1980s) will 
take time to address. Those root causes must be tackled soon 
and with a sense of urgency to prevent the country from 
backsliding. Thirty years of violence have taken a toll on the 
majority Sinhalese population, giving rise to a siege mentality 
toward the ethnic Tamil minority.
For their part, Tamil leaders have not yet made anticipated 
conciliatory gestures that might ease government concerns and 
foster a genuine dialogue. Some Tamils are wary about the long-
term significance of post-war Sinhalese ``triumphalism'' and 
fear that they may be marginalized in the unified country of 
Sri Lanka. The Tamil middle class has been devastated, many 
having emigrated years ago, leaving behind few mainstream 
leaders to represent more moderate views. The situation is 
particularly dire for Tamils in the North, who are trapped 
between living in government-run camps and returning to homes 
destroyed in the war.
Real peace will not come overnight to Sri Lanka and cannot 
be imposed from the outside. The country has endured decades of 
trauma, and a generation of politicians and laymen know little 
aside fromwar and conflict as the norm. It will take time for 
the country to make the transition to a post-conflict 
environment amid ongoing political and economic challenges. The 
country's economy remains fragile, requiring the International 
Monetary Fund to provide a $2.6 billion loan to bolster Sri 
Lanka's reserves. Government officials have been under 
additional pressure as a result of the European Union's 
deliberations to suspend special trade preferences with Sri 
Lanka, known as ``GSP Plus,'' unless progress is made on human 
rights and political freedoms.
The political environment in Sri Lanka is not as black and 
white as many outside observers believe. Despite ongoing 
allegations of war crimes and human rights abuses, the 
Rajapaksa Goverment has taken some positive steps to ease the 
humanitarian crisis in the North, develop the East, and reduce 
the number of child soldiers. Its recent announcement to allow 
increased freedom of movement in the government-run camps for 
internally displaced persons (IDPs) starting December 1, 2009, 
and shut down the camps by January 31, 2010, is positive and 
welcome. The Government still faces many legitimate obstacles 
in the North--such as removing the extensive mines left by 
years of warfare--where the international community can be an 
active partner in promoting faster resettlement.
Serious questions remain about the Sri Lankan Goverment's 
ability to address pressing reconstruction and development 
needs for Tamils and Muslims. The Government's prolonged 
application of emergency laws, lack of transparency in 
developing a strategy for reconstruction and resettlement, 
questionable conduct during the war, and clampdown on press 
freedom have undermined trust and the prospects for greater 
partnership with international donors. Though the war is over, 
a culture of fear and paranoia permeates society, especially 
for journalists, which further erodes Sri Lanka's standing in 
the international community and hampers its prospects for 
genuine peace.
The final stages of the war captured the attention of 
governments around the world, particularly the United States. 
The Obama administration has been focusing on the humanitarian 
crisis in the North and pressing the Sri Lankan Government to 
take meaningful steps toward political reconciliation and press 
freedom. The United States is one of the largest donors of 
humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka, including food aid and de-mining 
Yet, in Colombo, the Goverment considers the bilateral 
relationship with Washington to be on a downward trajectory. 
Most U.S. criticisms of Sri Lankan actions at the end of the 
war and treatment of IDPs have fallen on deaf ears, with Sri 
Lankan authorities dismissing the U.S. posture as ``no carrots 
and all sticks.'' U.S. assistance to Sri Lanka, although 
delivered in grants and not loans, has attracted criticism from 
the Rajapaksa Goverment for its emphasis on political reform. 
This growing rift in U.S.-Sri Lanka relations can be seen in 
Colombo's realignment toward non-Western countries, who offer 
an alternative model of development that places greater value 
on security over freedoms.
Indeed, Sri Lanka's geopolitical position has evolved 
considerably. As Western countries became increasingly critical 
of the Sri Lankan Government's handling of the war and human 
rights record, the Rajapaksa leadership cultivated ties with 
such countries as Burma, China, Iran, and Libya. The Chinese 
have invested billions of dollars in Sri Lanka through military 
loans, infrastructure loans, and port development, with none of 
the strings attached by Western nations. While the United 
States shares with the Indians and the Chinese a common 
interest in securing maritime trade routes through the Indian 
Ocean, the U.S. Government has invested relatively little in 
the economy or the security sector in Sri Lanka, instead 
focusing more on IDPs and civil society. As a result, Sri Lanka 
has grown politically and economically isolated from the West.
This strategic drift will have consequences for U.S. 
interests in the region. Along with our legitimate humanitarian 
and political concerns, U.S. policymakers have tended to 
underestimate Sri Lanka's geostrategic importance for American 
interests. Sri Lanka is located at the nexus of crucial 
maritime trading routes in the Indian Ocean connecting Europe 
and the Middle East to China and the rest of Asia. The United 
States, India, and China all share an interest in deterring 
terrorist activity and curbing piracy that could disrupt 
maritime trade. Security considerations extend beyond sea-lanes 
to the stability of India, the world's largest democracy. 
Communal tensions in Sri Lanka have the potential to undermine 
stability in India, particularly in the Indian state of Tamil 
Nadu, home to 60 million Tamils. All of these concerns should 
be part of our bilateral relationship.
The United States cannot afford to ``lose'' Sri Lanka. This 
does not mean changing the relationship overnight or ignoring 
the real concerns about Sri Lanka's political and humanitarian 
record. It does mean, however, considering a new approach that 
increases U.S. leverage vis-a-vis Sri Lanka by expanding the 
number of tools at our disposal. A more multifaceted U.S. 
strategy would capitalize on the economic, trade, and security 
aspects of the relationship. This approach in turn could 
catalyze much-needed political reforms that will ultimately 
help secure longer term U.S. strategic interests in the Indian 
Ocean. U.S. strategy should also invest in Sinhalese parts of 
the country, instead of just focusing aid on the Tamil-
dominated North and East.
The Obama administration is currently weighing a new 
strategy for relations with Sri Lanka. The Senate Foreign 
Relations Committee has closely followed events on the ground 
this year, including a hearing in February and a staff trip to 
Sri Lanka in November. In an effort to stimulate a larger 
debate on U.S. policy toward Sri Lanka, the committee staff 
prepared this bipartisan report examining recent developments 
and proposing recommendations for U.S. policy towards Sri 
Lanka. The recommendations include a broader and more robust 
U.S. approach to Sri Lanka that appreciates new political and 
economic realities in Sri Lanka and U.S. geostrategic 
interests; continuation of de-mining efforts in the North; and 
promotion of people-to-people reconciliation programs 
throughout the country.
Since the War Ended on May 19
Over six months have passed since the Sri Lankan military 
defeated the LTTE on May 19, 2009. President Mahinda Rajapaksa, 
a hardliner who came to power in 2005, has enjoyed enormous 
popularity among Sinhalese since the end of the war because he 
is seen as the political architect who won what many thought 
was an unwinnable war. Some, like Minister of Justice Malinda 
Moragoda, have called this a ``golden moment'' for rebuilding 
national reconciliation.
Indeed, the end of Sri Lanka's long-running separatist war 
opens up enormous opportunities to move the country forward on 
multiple fronts: political reform, economic renewal, and 
international re-engagement. For the country to make the 
transition from a post-war to a post-conflict environment, Sri 
Lankan leaders must be prepared to take difficult steps to 
bring the country together and resolve underlying political and 
socio-economic tensions that led to the conflict. While there 
have been some success stories such as reducing the number of 
child soldiers and rebuilding the East, it is not clear that 
the current leadership understands exactly how to shift from a 
mindset of conflict and suspicion to a peacetime approach. 
Moreover, the Goverment's paranoia about criticism and the way 
some government officials equate criticism with support for the 
LTTE complicates efforts to move forward. Strikingly, the whole 
Rajapaksa Goverment strategy seems to be still driven by 
security concerns.
For instance, the Goverment still fears LTTE sleeper cells, 
both in Sri Lanka and abroad, and screened all Tamils in 
government-run camps for potential links to terrorism. ``Guilty 
until proven innocent'' remains the basis for operations, and 
the recent discovery of massive caches of weapons in the north 
of the country, the former base of the Tigers, only deepens the 
Goverment's suspicions. Still, there are fewer checkpoints in 
the country and people do feel a greater sense of freedom of 
movement, even in parts of the North.
It will take time for the country to transition to a post-
conflict phase. Sinhalese and Tamils remain politically very 
far apart with few moderate political leaders emerging to 
bridge the gap. The country has immediate issues to address, 
such as the status of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in 
the North. At the same time, longer term political questions on 
the nature of the state must be tackled. In the meantime, basic 
democratic rights and freedoms, such as freedom of the press, 
continue to deteriorate, raising concerns about the health of 
Sri Lanka's democracy.
Status of IDPs
The conflict between the Sri Lankan military and Tamil 
Tigers caused an estimated 300,000 Tamils to flee from their 
homes in the North earlier this year. Many of these Tamils were 
taken to Army-run government welfare centers where they were 
screened for potential terrorist links and until recently 
detained until the Goverment decided conditions for return had 
improved. This sparked an outcry within the international 
community, particularly in the West and India, and led to 
pressure on the Sri Lankan Government to move faster on rates 
of return, freedom of movement, access to the camps, and 
compliance with international standards set forth by the United 
Nations, which were endorsed by the Goverment. Sri Lankan 
officials told committee staff that they are eager to resettle 
all the IDPs, who are costing about 1 million U.S. dollars a 
day. But from the Goverment's perspective, the security 
challenges of LTTE cadres hiding among IDPs and the risks of 
allowing people to return freely to war-torn areas filled with 
mines trumped other short-term considerations.
Due to the onset of the monsoons and ongoing pressure from 
the international community, on October 15, the Sri Lankan 
Goverment accelerated its resettlement program for IDPs. The 
goal was to release about 4,000 people a day from the camps so 
that the majority would be resettled before the end of the 
year. As of December 3, 2009, some 120,740 people remain in the 
camps, according to Sri Lankan Goverment figures, and 139,803 
people have already been resettled in Ampara, Batticaloa, 
Jaffna, Mannar, Trincolmaee, Kilinochchi, and Mullaithivu 
districts, the latter two being former LTTE strongholds. At the 
end of November 2009, the Goverment announced plans to close 
the controversial camps by January 31, 2010, and all IDPs were 
granted freedom of movement starting on December 1, 2009. This 
was a significant and welcome step forward by the Goverment.
According to the Sri Lankan Goverment figures, the 
Goverment provides families selected for resettlement with a 
basic package: nonfood items, kitchen utensils, agricultural 
tool kits, 6 months of dry rations, an initial payment of Rs. 
5,000 Sri Lankan rupees (about $44), a shelter grant of Rs. 
25,000 rupees (about $219), roofing sheets, land preparation 
cost of Rs. 4,000 rupees per acre (about $35), provision of 
rice seed (paddy), fertilizer allocation, and transportation. 
Effective December 15, 2009, the Sri Lankan Goverment plans to 
increase the shelter grant to 50,000 rupees ($450) to each 
returning family. $450 is about 25 percent of the average per 
capita income in Sri Lanka. While this amount is insufficient 
for fully repairing a damaged home, these funds provide a 
starting point to make a damaged home livable on a temporary 
basis until additional aid or funds can be accessed. Some 
families are directly resettled in their places of origin, 
either returning home or staying with host families, while 
others are taken to government-run transition centers where 
they are free to come and go but which lack robust services.
In early November 2009, committee staff traveled to Manik 
Farms, the largest of the IDP camps, and Mannar district in the 
northwest, as part of a trip arranged by Defense Secretary 
Gotabaya Rajapaksa. During the visit to Zones 2 and 3 at Manik 
Farms, areas selected by staff without advance notice to the 
Goverment, staff met with IDPs and observed living conditions, 
hygiene facilities, educational facilities, banking centers, 
food distribution, and the release of IDPs. Basic shelter, 
food, and hygiene needs were being met, and U.N. agencies had 
reliable access. The monsoons pose an enormous challenge to 
operations because of possible flooding and difficulty of 
moving equipment in the mud. IDPs told staff they were looking 
forward to returning home, but remain nervous about what they 
would find in these war-damaged areas.
Army officials running the camps were complimentary about 
the support they received from U.N. organizations such as the 
World Food Programme (WFP) and the U.N. High Commissioner for 
Refugees (UNHCR). But the officers seemed unaware of specific 
donor support for these programs, such as the $28.3 million the 
United States had given WFP for food aid in the camps. They 
remain broadly suspicious of nongovernmental organizations 
(NGOs) because of negative experiences in the aftermath of the 
deadly tsunami in 2004. In the chaos of the devastation, some 
town and provincial representatives reported that some 
international NGOs that had not worked in Sri Lanka prior to 
the tsunami wasted funds, implemented inappropriate projects, 
and failed to consult with local communities.
Basic problems still exist. Access to the IDP camps 
generally has been heavily restricted and monitored. Tamil and 
Muslim political leaders, journalists, and various NGOs, as 
well as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), 
had been denied entry into the IDP centers and, as a result, 
there was no free flow of credible information coming from the 
camps. The Goverment has begun to ease some of these 
restrictions. People are still unable to locate their 
relatives, and some potential host families have been dissuaded 
by intrusive government screening procedures. There was no 
legal basis for the Goverment detention of Tamils in the camps, 
according to Minister of Justice Malinda Moragoda. The IDPs' 
relief that the war was over is tempered by disappointment with 
the continued security checks and government control over their 
Conditions in the North remain dire. Heavy fighting during 
the last phases of the war essentially destroyed much of the 
North, and it will take time and money to rebuild the shattered 
infrastructure and remove the many mines. The Goverment says it 
has ambitious reconstruction plans to improve Tamils' lives in 
the North, but since these plans are not yet public, there is 
no way to verify these claims. In Mannar district, for example, 
homes, schools, and shops were destroyed by fighting and 
returnees must rely on UNHCR roofing sheets for basic shelter.
There are reports that the Army and LTTE placed at least 
1\1/2\ million mines in the Northern Province, an area of 3,340 
square miles, and de-mining remains--by its nature--very slow 
going and manually tedious. Although the Army has augmented its 
de-mining equipment (flails) to more than twenty, the rate of 
de-mining is determined by weather, terrain, and the need to 
follow machines with manual de-miners. The Army is using six 
newly purchased de-mining machines from Croatia and Slovakia. 
The Goverment repeatedly has asked the international community 
to increase its funding for de-mining by providing support 
directly to the Army. The United States has provided $6.6 
million of de-mining funding this year to four mine action 
NGOs. Additionally, a November 2009 assessment of the Army's 
needs by U.S. experts may result in recommendations to provide 
additional U.S. training and equipment, totaling up to $2.7 
million, according to the U.S. Embassy in Colombo.
The international community has been pushing hard for open 
camps and resettlement based on international humanitarian 
principles. In many ways, however, counting the number of IDPs 
released from the camps is an incomplete metric because it 
belies the grim conditions facing returnees. It also discounts 
the enormous challenges of keeping returnees safe from the 
minefields, although urgent de-mining needs are not a 
justification for restricting freedom of movement.
Numerous government officials shared with committee staff 
their frustrations over international pressure for faster 
release of IDPs given the challenging conditions for 
resettlement. They have legitimate fears that if IDPs are 
allowed to move freely in the North, there will be numerous 
casualties from active mines for which they will be held 
accountable. They are also reasonably hesitant to permit IDPs 
to return to areas where there are no services and where 
frustrations could breed resentment and security threats 
against the Goverment. While these concerns are valid, 
government officials did not seem to understand the benefit of 
greater transparency and partnership with international donors 
to combat these challenges together in a robust and 
constructive way.
Finally, although they are forgotten by most, more than 
100,000 Muslims are being housed in IDP camps in the Northwest, 
mostly in Puttalam. The LTTE forcibly removed Sri Lanka's 
Muslim population in the North from their homes in 1990, and 
they have been living in the camps ever since. Many now want to 
return home, and local Muslim leaders have been seeking 
government assistance in tracing properties back to original 
owners because many people were unable to take their land 
documents when they fled. Issues of land registration and 
ownership between Tamils and Muslims in the North could 
complicate repatriation efforts unless serious attention is 
paid to these issues.
Progress on Political Reconciliation
Early Presidential elections are now scheduled for late 
January 2010, preceding the parliamentary elections scheduled 
to be held before April 2010. President Rajapaksa enjoyed 
immense popularity among the Sinhalese electorate at the end of 
the war. He was seen as the political architect of victory in 
what many thought was an unwinnable war, and early elections 
would be a way for him to expand his power base in Parliament. 
While he initially appeared invincible at the ballot box, 
mounting economic concerns and the opposition announcement that 
it would put forward former Army commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka 
as a candidate leave more uncertainty about the outcome and 
prospects for political reconciliation.
The big challenge is the unresolved questions around the 
ethnic tensions that were at the core of the conflict. The 
hierarchy of the LTTE appears to have been destroyed. While few 
Tamils in Sri Lanka express any desire to resume violent 
conflict, some Tamil political leaders still talk about 
controlling the North and East. Rumors abound of plans for 
Sinhalese colonization of Tamil towns in the North, such as 
Kilonochchi, the former administrative center of the LTTE-
controlled ``Vanni.'' Further, many Sinhalese feel Tamils do 
not appreciate the trauma they suffered under the Tamil Tigers, 
a group the FBI listed as ``among the most dangerous and deadly 
extremists in the world'' and credited for pioneering the use 
of suicide bombers.
There are different options available for political 
reconciliation between ethnic groups. Since 1983, there have 
been several attempts to find a constitutional accommodation 
between successive Sri Lankan Goverments and the advocates of 
Tamil nationalism that would lead to greater power-sharing and 
devolution. For instance, the 13th and 17th amendments to the 
Constitution established provincial councils and sought to 
decentralize power to them. These initiatives have not resolved 
core tensions, and some view them as out of touch with 
prevailing political and military realities. In addition, Sri 
Lanka Muslim Congress Member of Parliament M.T. Hasen Ali noted 
that there is a need for a power-sharing arrangement that 
includes the Muslim minority. To date, a definitive solution to 
the ethnic problems remains elusive.
A report was recently completed by the All Parties 
Representative Committee (APRC), a panel of experts and 
political leaders from varied backgrounds appointed by the 
President to develop a political proposal for power-sharing and 
reconstructing political institutions. These could include 
devolution of power from the central government to the 
provinces, a second house in the Parliament modeled somewhat 
after the U.S. Senate, and independent oversight bodies meant 
to serve as a check on powerful state institutions. President 
Rajapaksa has not shown a preference yet. He has said he will 
not tackle any political reform until after Presidential and 
parliamentary elections take place in 2010. A political 
solution that is broadly acceptable to could also provide the 
basis for reconciliation between the embittered ethnic 
Many are concerned that Sri Lanka's Emergency Regulations, 
enacted in 1989, are still in place despite the end of the war. 
Among many things, the regulations allow for a concentration of 
power by moving the head of state function from the Prime 
Minister to the President and permit the detention of 
individuals for up to 1 year without charge.
Discussions about reconciliation have not fully begun in 
Sri Lanka. While the international community is promoting 
independent inquiries into what happened in the last moments of 
the war, there is little such call in Sri Lanka--yet. There 
still needs to be a debate on what reconciliation model to 
follow or create and how to link any fact-finding into the 
reconciliation process.
An Intimidated Media
Though the war is over, press freedom remains troubling in 
Sri Lanka, raising serious concerns about the vitality of its 
democratic institutions. According to the 2009 Press Freedom 
Index of Reporters Without Borders, Sri Lanka was ranked 162nd 
out of 175 countries, alongside countries like Uzbekistan, 
Somalia, and Burma. In 2009 alone, two journalists were 
killed--Lasantha Wickramatunga, editor of The Sunday Leader and 
freelance writer Puniyamoorthy Sathiyamoorthy--according to the 
Committee to Protect Journalists. There have been numerous 
documented attacks on journalists in Sri Lanka, prompting at 
least thirty journalists to flee the country. A few journalists 
remain imprisoned, notably J. S. Tissainayagam, who was 
convicted under Sri Lanka's Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) 
for writing two articles critical of the Sri Lankan Army's 
conduct against the LTTE in a case the U.S. State Department 
says ``appeared to be politically motivated.''
Committee staff members noted a palpable fear among 
journalists and civil society during their recent trip to Sri 
Lanka. While some journalists cancelled scheduled meetings with 
staff for fear of persecution from the Goverment, committee 
staff did meet with select newspaper, magazine, and television 
journalists, including bloggers. Although most of the 
journalists said they are able to function as independent 
media, the consensus was that the press is not truly free. 
Media representatives noted that the Goverment did not exercise 
its control of the press through direct censorship or a 
dominant state-run propaganda machine. Since acts of violence 
against journalists and cases brought against them varied 
greatly and the perpetrators remain at large, reporters and 
editors could not predict future actions against them. To avoid 
violence, many journalists engage in self-censorship, and many 
sources were unwilling to be quoted. For example, journalists 
pointed to a recent Ministry of Defense press release that 
discouraged reporting on the political ambitions of active duty 
military, forcing nearly all media outlets to drop coverage of 
military members, including former Army Chief General Fonseka, 
who is now a Presidential candidate. Some media representatives 
insisted the situation was ``not that bad'' and most accepted 
that certain restrictions on the press were necessary for the 
Goverment to win the war against the LTTE. In addition, nearly 
all of them criticized some aspect of U.S. policy as 
interference in domestic issues.
Journalists and political and civil society actors continue 
to face difficulties accessing parts of the country, such as 
the IDP camps in the North, because of government fears that 
negative publicity will fuel the ``LTTE propaganda machine.'' 
These fears have blinded the Sri Lankan authorities to the 
benefits of having a free media that could report favorably on 
the constructive steps the Goverment has taken since the war's 
end. Basil Rajapaksa, President Rajapaksa's brother and lead 
advisor on resettlement in the North, told committee staff that 
such restrictions are designed to protect the privacy of the 
IDPs. He observed, ``IDPs don't like media and the cameras, 
because they don't want to be portrayed in those conditions'' 
and that free access would only be granted to those ``genuinely 
interested'' and only those ``that could be truly trusted.'' 
Mr. Rajapaksa also argued that journalists were not singled 
out--high ranking police and army officials and members of the 
business community have also been imprisoned on terrorism 
Child Soldiers
The Goverment of Sri Lanka has made good progress toward 
eliminating the problem of child soldiers, with expectation 
that the cases of the 15 children remaining in the ranks of the 
Goverment will be resolved by the end of this year. Many 
heralded the Goverment's effort to address the child soldier 
issue during staff's visit and noted the police investigations 
on child recruitment. The Goverment is a state party to the 
Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 
which requires it to take all feasible measures to prevent 
recruitment and use of those under 18 by armed groups that are 
distinct from armed forces of a state, including the adoption 
of legal measures necessary to prohibit and criminalize such 
As noted in the State Department's Incident Report, the 
LTTE allegedly forcibly recruited thousands of male and female 
children, some as young as 12, into its cadres. Reportedly, in 
some cases, parents or children who resisted were beaten or 
killed. The LTTE trained the children to use weapons and sent 
them to the front lines, according to reports. In close 
collaboration with UNICEF, the Goverment has established 
centers where roughly 500 former LTTE child soldiers are 
receiving vocational and other training opportunities. The 
expectation is that the children will be reunified with their 
families (if they can be found) or released to host families 
and then reintegrated into society.
Economic Challenges
The Goverment's budget suffered from the high cost of 
fighting the war. Expensive purchases of war-related equipment 
and ammunition, often on longer term contracts and using up 
valuable foreign reserves, coupled with a drop in exports due 
to the global economic downturn, pushed Sri Lanka to request a 
$2.6 billion stand-by arrangement from the IMF in early 2009 
which was approved in July. Sri Lankans are optimistic that the 
economy will improve, but it has been harder to lure foreign 
investment into the private sector. The overall defense budget 
has yet to see any sort of ``peace dividend.'' Longer term 
contracts with foreign suppliers of military equipment, 
particularly China, continue to weigh heavily on the budget, 
and the military has pushed for an expansion of bases and 
personnel in the North. Some contend that a continued high 
level of troops is required in the formerly LTTE-held areas to 
hunt down remaining LTTE forces, seize hidden caches of 
weapons, and prevent any resurgence of violence. At the same 
time, military and civilian officials stressed to staff that 
the bulk of the requested increase of about 15 percent in the 
defense budget is due primarily to the Goverment's need to pay 
down military debts incurred during the final stages of the 
Sri Lanka's economy grew relatively well throughout the war 
years, and Sri Lankans hope the end of the war will trigger an 
economic boom. Sri Lanka averaged 5 percent annual growth in 
gross domestic product (GDP) over the last 20 years, and it has 
a per capita income of $2,000, the highest in South Asia after 
the Maldives. Sri Lanka has developed a strong garment 
industry, which constitutes 43 percent of total exports, and 
still has significant tea exports. But economic opportunities 
are distributed unevenly. The Western Province, where Colombo 
is located, contributes almost 50 percent of Sri Lanka's GDP, 
while there are fewer opportunities in other areas, especially 
the former conflict regions. The war between the Government of 
Sri Lanka and LTTE, which claimed over 70,000 lives since 1983, 
had an economic component as many LTTE leaders were from poorer 
communities. For instance, leaders in the two brutal Marxist 
uprisings in the southern part of Sri Lanka, known as the 
Janatha Vimukthi Perumuna (JVP) insurrections, which killed 
15,000 in 1971 and 50,000 people in 1988-89, were driven by 
economic discontent. Clearly, long-term stability in Sri Lanka 
will be dependent on solid and distributed economic growth.
Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, brother of President 
Mahinda Rajapaksa, repeatedly used the Eastern Province as an 
example of the Goverment's demonstrated performance record and 
as a model for plans in the North in discussion with the 
committee staff. He said he regretted that Sri Lanka was ``poor 
at propaganda'' and had failed to explain its actions and 
intentions to the international community, especially to the 
U.S. and the West. Rajapaksa said the military victory would 
lead to lasting peace only if accompanied by economic 
development in the areas formerly occupied by the LTTE.
Donors have responded to the war's end by shifting their 
portfolios to the North and East of Sri Lanka. However, there 
is a chance that this could breed resentment in the South where 
there is still much poverty. While some international donors 
seemed to be artfully calibrating their operations in Sri Lanka 
so as not to exacerbate underlying tensions, others chose to 
ignore the conflict outright. U.S. Goverment assistance has 
focused on conflict sensitivity and economic equity among all 
ethnic groups--Sinhalese, Tamil, and Muslim--and on addressing 
the regional economic imbalances in conflict-affected areas 
that have been amplified by the conflict.
World Bank staff in Sri Lanka, including Country Director 
Naoko Ishii and Senior Country Economist Claus Pram Astrup, 
should be commended on their development of a ``conflict filter 
to enhance effectiveness and reduce reputational risks'' at the 
concept design and implementation stages of projects. As laid 
out in the World Bank Sri Lanka Country Assistance Strategy 
Paper 2009-2012, the filter asks:
Have sufficiently broad stakeholder consultations 
been conducted?
Have adequate impartial grievance mechanisms been 
Are project management and administration adequately 
sensitive to inter-ethnic issues?
Are conflict-generated needs adequately identified?
Have opportunities to strengthen reconciliation and 
inter-ethnic trust been adequately identified?
World Bank staff noted that the filter had been a useful 
engagement tool. The Asian Development Bank as well as other 
international donors factor in conflict though in less formal 
However, the IMF does not officially consider conflict 
sensitivity at all and almost prides itself on its tunnel focus 
on financial indicators, although the IMF's mandate is 
macroeconomic stability--and a key factor to economic stability 
is resolution of war and conflict. On July 24, 2009, the IMF 
approved a $2.6 billion loan to support the Goverment of Sri 
Lanka's ``ambitious program . . . to restore fiscal and 
external viability and address the significant reconstruction 
needs of the conflict-affected areas, thereby laying the basis 
for future higher economic growth.'' The IMF did not examine 
the possible impact of its program on the conflict in Sri 
Lanka. The IMF reportedly did not provide its Executive Board 
with a copy of the Goverment's reconstruction program, a 
program which had not been shared publicly in Sri Lanka and 
received no input from civil society. Though the World Bank 
consults IMF assessment letters when it does significant budget 
support, the IMF did not reciprocate the consultation and 
incorporate the results of the World Bank's conflict filter.
IMF Resident Representative Koshy Mathai argued that 
although the Goverment had used the IMF Letter of Intent as a 
vehicle to clarify its own reconstruction plans and 
humanitarian assistance and despite IMF staff interest in those 
issues, it was outside the IMF's mandate to have conditionality 
in political and military areas. He suggested that other 
international fora were more appropriate for addressing those 
concerns. The first of eight tranches (roughly $330 million 
each) of the loan was in the reserves at Central Bank as 
prescribed and the second tranche was also approved.
One of the biggest threats facing Sri Lanka's economy is 
the loss of the European Union's ``GSP Plus'' trade 
concessions. Some argue this would cost the country $150 
million a year in trade and thousands of jobs, although the Sri 
Lankan Central Bank issued a statement asserting it would have 
little impact. The GSP Plus program, established in 2005, 
allows Sri Lankan goods a reduction in EU tariffs which are 
particularly important in the highly internationally 
competitive garment sector which employs thousands of Sri 
Lankan women. Last year, EU imports from Sri Lanka under the 
program neared $2 billion. The GSP Plus benefit is predicated 
on Sri Lanka's compliance with internationally recognized labor 
and human rights standards, including treatment of the IDPs. 
Some assert that the EU's threat of suspension has led to the 
Goverment's recent accelerated release of IDPs and granting of 
freedom of movement.
Strategic Interests in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka has been a friend and democratic partner of the 
United States since gaining independence in 1948 and has 
supported U.S. military operations overseas such as during the 
first Gulf War. Commercial contacts go back to 1787, when New 
England sailors first anchored in Sri Lanka's harbors to engage 
in trade. Sri Lanka is strategically located at the nexus of 
maritime trading routes connecting Europe and the Middle East 
to China and the rest of Asia. It is directly in the middle of 
the ``Old World,'' where an estimated half of the world's 
container ships transit the Indian Ocean.
American interests in the region include securing energy 
resources from the Persian Gulf and maintaining the free flow 
of trade in the Indian Ocean. These interests are also 
important to one of America's strategic partners, Japan, who is 
almost totally dependent on energy supplies transiting the 
Indian Ocean. The three major threats in the Indian Ocean come 
from terrorism, interstate conflict, and piracy. There have 
been some reports of pirate activity in the atoll islands near 
Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka's geopolitical position has changed in recent 
years. The United States has developed closer ties with India 
while Sri Lanka moved towards China. India has been very 
concerned with instability in Sri Lanka and has worked quietly 
behind the scenes to push for faster resettlement for Tamils. 
India directly suffered from the spillover from the Sri Lankan 
conflict in 1991 when a LTTE female suicide bomber assassinated 
Prime Minister Rajiv Ghandi, reportedly in response to Ghandi's 
decision to send an Indian Peace Keeping force to Sri Lanka in 
1987. Communal tensions in Sri Lanka have the ability to 
undermine stability in India, particularly in the southern 
Indian state of Tamil Nadu, home to 60 million Hindu Tamils. 
India's large Tamil population just across the Paulk Strait 
fuels fears among Sri Lanka's Sinhalese community, who 
represent 80 percent of the Sri Lankan population and are 
concentrated in the lower two-thirds of the country, that they 
could become a minority under siege. While India has no 
apparent interest in stoking conflict in Sri Lanka, Indian 
officials are reportedly increasingly concerned about their 
strategic role in the Indian Ocean and China's growing presence 
in Sri Lanka.
Chinese activities in Sri Lanka are largely economic, 
focusing billions of dollars on military loans, infrastructure 
loans, and port development. While these are loans that will 
need to be repaid and do not contribute much towards the local 
economy, they come without any political strings, a fact which 
makes them attractive to the Sri Lankan Goverment. According to 
the Congressional Research Service, ``Chinese activity in the 
region appears to be seeking friends like Sri Lanka to secure 
its sea lines of communication from the Straits of Hormuz and 
the western reaches of the Indian Ocean region to the Strait of 
Malacca to facilitate trade and secure China's energy 
For instance, in 2007, China reached a billion dollar deal 
with Sri Lanka to develop a deepwater port in the south at the 
sleepy fishing village of Hambantota. In 2008, China gave Sri 
Lanka nearly $1 billion in economic assistance according to the 
Congressional Research Service. In 2009, China was granted an 
exclusive investment zone in Mirigama, 34 miles from Colombo's 
port. Even for those that dismiss China's ``string of pearls'' 
strategy as overblown, there is concern about growing Chinese 
influence on the Sri Lankan Goverment. During the closing 
stages of the separatist war, for example, China blocked 
Western-led efforts to impose a truce through the United 
Nations Security Council and continued supplying arms to the 
Sri Lankan Goverment.
Sri Lanka's strategic importance to the United States, 
China, and India is viewed by some as a key piece in a larger 
geopolitical dynamic, what has been referred to as a new 
``Great Game.'' While all three countries share an interest in 
securing maritime trade routes, the United States has invested 
relatively few economic and security resources in Sri Lanka, 
preferring to focus instead on the political environment. Sri 
Lanka's geostrategic importance to American interests has been 
neglected as a result.
The Sri Lankan Goverment says American attitudes and 
military restrictions led it to build relationships with China, 
Burma, Iran, and Libya. The Minister of Science and Technology 
and All-Party Representative Committee Chairman Tissa Vitarana 
Minister told committee staff, ``We have the United States to 
thank for pushing us closer to China.'' According to Vitarana, 
President Rajapaksa was forced to reach out to other countries 
because the West refused to help Sri Lanka finish the war 
against the LTTE. These calculations--if left unchecked--
threaten long-term U.S. strategic interests in the Indian 
U.S. Engagement with Sri Lanka
The United States and Sri Lanka have a long history of 
cordial relations based in large part on shared democratic 
traditions. U.S. assistance programs with Sri Lanka have 
covered a broad range, including civil society, economic 
development, international visitor exchanges, and humanitarian 
assistance training for the military.
Since 1956, USAID has invested more than $1.9 billion in 
Sri Lanka according to the USAID Mission in Colombo. In 2008, 
the United States successfully completed its $134.5 million 
tsunami reconstruction program, and the rehabilitation 
infrastructure was handed over to the Sri Lankan Goverment. 
Current programs focus on the Eastern Province and adjoining 
areas, and USAID plans to extend assistance to the North by 
helping war-torn communities return to normalcy as soon as 
possible. In 2009, the United States was the leading donor of 
food and humanitarian assistance to Sri Lanka, with a total 
USAID budget of $43.12 million. More than 280,000 IDPs have 
been assisted by food rations, water and sanitation facilities, 
temporary shelters, emergency medical treatment, and mobility 
aids for the disabled.
The congressionally funded Asia Foundation has been in Sri 
Lanka since 1954 and has played a quiet but important role in 
supporting Sri Lankan Goverment and civil society initiatives 
to strengthen democratic institutions, the rule of law and 
human rights.
On the economic front, the United States is by far Sri 
Lanka's most important trade partner, accounting for more than 
one-quarter of the country's total exports according to the 
Congressional Research Service. During Prime Minister 
Wickremasinghe's 2002 visit to Washington, the United States 
and Sri Lanka signed a new Trade and Investment Framework 
Agreement (TIFA) to examine ways to expand bilateral trade and 
investment. While the war precluded most major U.S.-Sri Lanka 
economic initiatives since 2006, TIFA talks were held in 
Colombo this fall to explore new opportunities.
On the security front, the United States and Sri Lanka have 
enjoyed friendly military-to-military relations and defense 
relations, although the U.S. scaled back security assistance in 
recent years. Sri Lanka continues to grant blanket over-flight 
and landing clearance to U.S. military aircraft and routinely 
grants access to ports by U.S. vessels. U.S. military training 
and defense assistance programs have provided basic infantry 
supplies, maritime surveillance, and interdiction equipment for 
the navy and communications and mobility equipment to improve 
the Army's humanitarian effort and U.N. peacekeeping missions, 
according to the Congressional Research Service. In 2007, the 
United States and Sri Lanka signed an Acquisition and Cross-
Services Agreement, which created a framework for increased 
military interoperability.
U.S. engagement with Sri Lanka has continued in the Obama 
administration. Just days before the war ended, President Obama 
delivered a statement from the Rose Garden urging Sri Lanka to 
``seek a peace that is secure and lasting, and grounded in 
respect for all of its citizens.'' While economic and security 
relations continue on a limited basis, the U.S. approach has 
heavily focused on humanitarian issues and political reforms.
The administration has consistently called for an end to 
human rights abuses, protection and rapid resettlement of IDPs, 
and genuine efforts towards reconciliation in part through 
statements from President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary 
Clinton and the Assistant Secretary of State for South and 
Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake. The State Department, under 
the leadership of its new U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka, 
Patricia Butenis, has demanded progress from the Goverment on 
eight benchmarks including improved conditions in the camps, 
return of IDPs, political progress, and de-mining. The Treasury 
Department abstained on the $2.6 billion IMF loan to Sri Lanka 
this summer because of humanitarian concerns. At Congress's 
behest, the U.S. Goverment continues to suspend military aid to 
Sri Lanka and issued a report on incidents during the war that 
may have constituted violations of international humanitarian 
In Colombo, the U.S. approach is viewed by many senior 
government officials as heavy-handed and ``shrill.'' They no 
longer sense a strong partnership with the United States and 
view the relationship to be on a downward trajectory. The 
President's senior advisor and brother, Basil Rajapaksa, 
advised committee staff that the United States should approach 
Sri Lanka as ``friends'' and ``give suggestions rather than 
make critical remarks.'' The President's other brother and 
Defense Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, expressed similar 
frustration that the United States and international community 
had not recognized the Goverment's progressive transition to 
democracy, ethnic reconciliation, disarmament and 
demobilization of paramilitary groups, rehabilitation of child 
soldiers, and economic development. He said he believed 
strongly in the value of repairing Sri Lanka's relations with 
the United States and recommended that Washington focus its 
attention on the future and not the past, judging the Goverment 
on its record of performance in the Eastern Province, and not 
on the agendas of its critics. He said he did ``not deny there 
have been cases of government abuse,'' but that defeating the 
LTTE had been the top priority and trumped other 
Many Sri Lankan Government officials seemed surprised by 
the barrage of international criticism and intense public 
scrutiny they received following the war. They had expected 
instead praise for defeating a notorious terrorist group--which 
pioneered suicide bombing techniques and assassinated Indian 
Prime Minister Rajiv Ghandi in 1991 and Sri Lankan President 
Ranasinghe Premadasa in 1993--and space to make the transition 
to a post-conflict environment.
Opposition leaders take a different view. United National 
Party and opposition leader Ranil Wikremesinghe said the United 
States was on the right track in publishing the ``Incidents 
Report'' and should ``keep the pressure on the government.'' 
Wikremesinghe said Sri Lankans did not want to lose their 
relationship with the United States, and the Goverment's 
criticism of recent U.S. remarks was ``complete nonsense.''
Among both government and opposition leaders and within 
civil society, there is growing consensus on the importance of 
the U.S.-Sri Lanka bilateral relationship and the need for it 
to be strengthened. There is a common view that American 
influence is waning, in part because of the tone of its 
messages. As one Western aid official told committee staff: 
``Sticks don't work with the Sri Lankan Government. They need 
to hear coordinated, constructive messages that give them time 
to implement change without losing face.'' There is also 
concern that Western donors do not invest in projects that are 
government priorities such as big infrastructure projects and 
roads, allowing non-traditional donors like the Chinese to fill 
the vacuum.
With the end of the war, the United States needs to re-
evaluate its relationship with Sri Lanka to reflect new 
political and economic realities. While humanitarian concerns 
remain important, U.S. policy toward Sri Lanka cannot be 
dominated by a single agenda. It is not effective at delivering 
real reform, and it shortchanges U.S. geostrategic interests in 
the region.
The challenge for the United States will be to encourage 
Sri Lanka to embrace political reform and respect for human 
rights without pushing the country towards Burma-like 
isolation, while still building a multifaceted bilateral 
relationship that reflects geostrategic interests. Engagement 
is key, for as Minister of Justice Moragoda said, the United 
States ``cannot afford to marginalize the Sri Lankan 
Government.'' Serious engagement will require an expansion of 
the number of tools in the U.S. toolbox.
The United States does have influence in Sri Lanka. The 
challenge today is how to creatively leverage political and 
humanitarian reform with economic, trade, and security 
incentives so as to link an expanded partnership with better 
governance and a strengthened democracy. To be effective, the 
United States should better understand what is important to the 
Sri Lankan Goverment and people and retool its strategy 
Recommendations on Sri Lanka
The Obama administration should:
1. Take a broader and more robust approach to Sri Lanka 
that appreciates new political and economic realities in Sri 
Lanka and U.S. geostrategic interests. Such an approach should 
be multidimensional so that U.S. policy is not driven solely by 
short-term humanitarian concerns but rather an integrated 
strategy that leverages political, economic, and security tools 
for more effective long-term reforms.
2. Continue support de-mining efforts in the North. De-
mining will be a major factor in successful resettlement of the 
3. Engage the United Nations (World Food Programme and 
other agencies) and the Sri Lankan Goverment in developing a 
realistic resettlement strategy for 2010 that reassesses food 
and nonfood needs to support returnees' efforts at 
reestablishing their livelihoods.
4. Promote people-to-people reconciliation programs to 
build bridges between the Sinhalese, Tamil, and Muslim 
communities. A people-to-people approach should be linked to 
political reforms and processes that support transitional 
justice. Funding for such programs is available on a 
competitive basis under section 7065 (``Reconciliation 
Programs'') of Public Law 111-8, and additional funding will be 
included for such purposes in the Department of State, Foreign 
Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2010.
5. Expand U.S. assistance to include all areas of the 
country, particularly in the south and central areas so that 
Sinhalese and other groups also benefit from U.S. assistance 
programs and reap some ``peace dividend.''
6. Tighten visa restrictions and revoke U.S. citizenship 
for any persons who are shown to have committed war crimes in 
Sri Lanka, whether they acted on behalf of the LTTE or the 
Goverment of Sri Lanka.
7. Expand the USAID/Department of Justice police program 
and provide judicial advisors to the Sri Lankan Ministry of 
Justice in order to support critical police reforms and 
implementation of current law.
8. Publicly commit to reinstating Peace Corps operations in 
Sri Lanka as soon as the emergency regulations are removed. 
Peace Corps volunteers could focus on teaching English and 
information technology training.
The U.S. Congress should:
1. Authorize the U.S. military to resume training of Sri 
Lankan military officials to help ensure that human rights 
concerns are integrated into future operations and to help 
build critical relationships.
The international financial institutions should:
1. Encourage all international financial institutions to 
systematically factor in the role of conflict, as the World 
Bank does through its conflict filter for Sri Lanka, to ensure 
that IMF and development bank financing does not inadvertently 
exacerbate conflict. Specifically, World Bank staff should be 
commended on its development of a conflict filter for Sri 
Lanka, and the World Bank should expand its use in other 
2. Proactively review military spending as a component of 
its financial programs with conflict countries.
The Sri Lankan Goverment should:
1. Treat all internally displaced persons in accordance 
with Sri Lankan and international standards, including by 
guaranteeing their freedom of movement, providing access to 
war-torn areas and populations by humanitarian organizations 
and journalists, and accounting for persons detained in the 
2. Recognize the importance of a free and fair press, for 
both its own democratic traditions and for sharing accurate 
information with the international community. In showing its 
commitment to freedom of the press, the Goverment should 
welcome back journalists that have fled the country; pardon 
those such as J.S. Tissainayagam who were indicted under 
emergency laws; cease prosecuting cases against journalists 
based on emergency law; and actively investigate threats, 
abuses and killings of journalists.
3. Take steps to repeal emergency laws that are no longer 
applicable now that the war is over. This will send a strong 
message that Sri Lanka is ready to transition to a post-
conflict environment.
4. Share its plans for resettlement and reconstruction in 
the North with Sri Lankan civil society and international 
donors, who are well-positioned to support such efforts if 
there is greater transparency and accountability.
5. Commence a program of reconciliation between the diverse 
communities in Sri Lanka.
6. Engage in a dialogue on land tenure issues, since they 
affect resettlement in the North and East.

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