Thought the US is no longer a part of the UNHRC, the country is interested in the commitment Sri Lanka has made to the Council and urges the government to come up with a meaningful plan at the upcoming UNHRC session, US Ambassador Aliana B Teplitz said.
In response to a question raised during a virtual conversation held with a group of journalists today, the Ambassador further said it was pleased to hear last year from Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawaradne that there will be a comprehensive reconciliation strategy through a domestic process.
“I would like to see progress on that. We simply urge the government to carry forward the promises that it has already made and come up with a meaningful plan at this upcoming UNHRC session. There is a degree of concern that we have not seen meaningful progress everyone had hoped for, perhaps a year ago when these pledges were made,” she said.
She said this was why the US and other countries have offered to help Sri Lanka. “It is not about hectoring Sri Lanka or bullying. Its about helping Sri Lanka realise the pledges that itself as a country has made to its own people. In that sense, the US would continue on that path.
“Democracy is need to respect the rights of all citizens and have robust dialogue about what has gone wrong. Certainly for us, we know more than anyone in this past year how challenging it can be when people’s rights are not fully realised,” Ambassador Teplitz said.
Meanwhile, commenting on the Commission appointed by the President to probe human rights concerns, she said she hoped the commission will be quite open, transparent and self reflective about where the opportunities lie to move ahead.
“We hope the government will bravely take up those opportunities and will also challenge the narrative of Sri Lanka as a victim. I think Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans are in control of their own destiny,” she said.