|Moves to exchange Leahy’s
amendment for HR office in Colombo
world believes that Sri Lanka (SL) is faced with severe Human
Rights (HR) issues. The visit of UNHR Commissioner Louise Arbour
to SL last week, has further compounded this position.
Arbour, in her parting remarks, insisted that SL should have UN
HR monitors based in the country, which would augur well for the
country. Her argument was that it could not only monitor the
alleged HR abuses by the government but also, could book the
LTTE, a ploy used by Arbour to persuade SL to fall in line with
Similar sentiments were expressed by US Ambassador in SL Robert
O. Blake, when he addressed the Anti Human Trafficking programme
organised by the International Organisation of Migration.
Ambassador Blake said that the US is fully supportive of setting
up an HR office in Colombo. Meanwhile, a Congressional group
from the US had informed the Foreign Office in Colombo, that
they are prepared to defeat or withdraw Senator Patrick Leahy’s
amendment, quid pro quo to a HR Watch office in Colombo. They
were more or less supportive of the recommendations made by
Arbour to the international community, on the situation of SL.
It is learnt that the US and Swiss governments are perturbed
over certain remarks made by SL’s Permanent Representative in
Geneva, Dayan Jayatilleke, on certain HR abuses in those
If a group of Congressional members are trying to exchange
Leahy’s amendment to that of an HR office in Colombo, the
government should be extremely careful in handling this
situation which could be detrimental to our national interests.
If Leahy’s amendment is passed, it will block all military and
other assistance to the country. Senator Leahy’s amendment to
the Appropriation Bill is to suspend all funds already
appropriated under the Foreign Military Assistance Programme for
SL, as per the motion recently adopted by the US Senate.
Will SL agree to this position taken up by a group of US
Congressmen, is yet to be seen.