Sri Lanka reaction to US Congress resolution demonstrate its importance: PEARL

People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL), an advocacy group based in Washington, reject Sri Lanka’s campaigns and claims against the US Congress resolution, which urged the international mechanism to investigate the war crimes.

A member of the US House of Representatives, Deborah Ross, introduced the resolution ‘H.Res.413 – Recognizing 12 years since the end of the war in Sri Lanka on May 18, 2009, honoring the lives lost, and expressing support for justice, accountability, reconciliation, reconstruction, reparation, and reform in Sri Lanka to ensure a lasting peaceful political solution and a prosperous future for all people of Sri Lanka,’ at United States of Houses of Representatives on May 18, 2021.

Following that, the Sri Lankan government initiated their diplomatic moves and started their campaigns against the resolution.

The PEARL have criticised Sri Lanka’s move, and their statement says, “PEARL wholly rejects the false assertion from the Sri Lankan state that Tamil Americans, exercising their constitutional rights in advocating for human rights, are “terrorist sympathizers”. Such dangerous claims not only cast aspersions upon the Tamil American community but compromise the safety of human rights activists and their families.

Considering Sri Lanka’s history of abuses, including the harassment of diaspora activists and the threats to family, friends and colleagues on the island, their increased targeting of diaspora activists is deeply concerning. We are also disturbed by Sri Lanka’s claims about elected US representatives who chose to support the resolution, including the primary sponsor of H.Res.413, Rep Deborah Ross, who has been highlighted in Sri Lankan media campaigns against the resolution.”

The statement further says that the responses from the Sri Lankan Government do not address the core message behind the resolution: the egregious human rights violations that occurred during the armed conflict must be dealt with through an international mechanism.

“This again demonstrates Sri Lanka’s refusal to take meaningful action towards acknowledgment, let alone accountability, for the grave human rights violations committed. It is this refusal that strengthened the calls for international accountability over the years. Sri Lanka’s reaction since May 18, 2021, continues to amply demonstrate why H.Res.413 is so important.

H.Res.413 represents an important and growing global call for an international accountability mechanism in Sri Lanka to meet the demands of the Tamil people for justice. PEARL stands in full support of those who enabled the resolution and exercised their democratic right as Americans and as elected representatives, and continues to stand by the call for an international justice mechanism to investigate mass atrocities that occurred during the war,” the statement added.

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