Tamil Diaspora Alliance met the US Ambassador for Sri Lanka Julie Chung on last week and Ambassador says that the United States would be eager to work with young people specifically who are thinking of the future in order to build a better tomorrow for all parties involved
See the full press released below.
Tamil Diaspora Alliance was invited to a Town Hall hosted by US Ambassador to Sri Lanka, The Honourable Julie Chung on September 22nd, 2022.
Together, with other groups, the Alliance had the chance to ask Ambassador Chung a series of questions on USAID and the U.S. mission in Sri Lanka. USAID mission coordinator Mr. Grau detailed how foreign aid is distributed and how it is monitored by the agency. Several Sri Lankan-American community leaders also asked questions on how this aid will be distributed in a fair manner to more vulnerable communities, with Ambassador Chung assuring an inclusive U.S. strategy. Attendees also asked questions on improving healthcare, academic collaboration, and how to access USAID funding for small businesses.
Tamil Diaspora Alliance sought answers on key topics on the Tamil national question. US Tamil Action Group asked if any aid to Sri Lanka could be tied to Sri Lanka agreeing to human rights resolutions. Ambassador Chung responded with strong assurances, stating that the United States is back on the core group, mentioning she has personally met with families of the disappeared, and that the US, as a democracy itself, recognizes that heeding the calls of its people is key to any democracy.
She further stated, when questioned on the reconciliation process post 2009, that the US regards the United Nations Human Rights Council as an important vehicle to raise concerns, and that they will work with Sri Lanka to strengthen institutions like the Office of Missing Persons (OMP). Responding to further questions on Washington’s relationship with Sri Lanka, that is strategically located in the Indian Ocean, Ambassador Chung also expressed her wish to continue to engage with civil societies and business groups, as well as work on a range of security cooperation on drug smuggling and human trafficking.
American citizens also expressed their concerns on the troubled regimes’ sizable defence budget, particularly in the backdrop of severe economic hardship. We were pleased to see Ambassador Chang state sensibly that now is an appropriate time for the Sri Lankan Government to rework its budget that reflects the need of the hour.
Ambassador Chung closed her discussion by emphasizing that the United States would be eager to work with young people specifically who are thinking of the future in order to build a better tomorrow for all parties involved. Going forward, the Alliance looks forward to hearing more from the U.S. State Department, and its continued commitment to those issues that were raised.
The Tamil Diaspora Alliance also looks forward to seeing a United States that can push for a more prosperous and inclusive Sri Lanka, in whatever form that may be in.