After consultation with partners including those who will join us as co-sponsors, we tabled a draft resolution on Sri Lanka for consideration by the Human Rights Council (HRC) at its 19th Session. We have taken this step upon careful reflection and after extensive dialogue and bilateral engagement at the highest levels of the U.S. government. Three years since the end of the conflict, it is our belief that the government of Sri Lanka must take concerted actions on the ground to foster national reconciliation and accountability. The U.S. Government has provided humanitarian and development assistance to facilitate post-war reconciliation, and we believe that HRC action can further assist in this aim.After consulting broadly with delegations from all regions and incorporating many helpful suggestions to the initial draft, we have introduced a moderate, reasonable, and balanced resolution text as a basis for further discussion and collaboration with our many partners in the Human Rights Council. In this regard, we reiterate our long-expressed willingness to work in partnership with the government of Sri Lanka on this resolution, and on the broader issues of reconciliation and accountability. Full statement: The United States (US) says the draft resolution on Sri Lanka which was presented to the UN Human Rights Council this week, was done so after consulting other countries including those who will co-sponsor the resolution.The US Ambassador to Geneva, Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, told the Council that the US firmly believes that action now in the Council reflects the international community’s ongoing interest in and support for action on the ground in Sri Lanka. This resolution is not intended to condemn; indeed, it acknowledges the contributions of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), which has made many constructive recommendations to the Sri Lankan government. However, many international and domestic observers share our conclusion that the government has not yet promulgated a credible action plan for implementation of those recommendations, nor has it taken the additional needed steps since the war to foster national reconciliation.Our intention is clear: we want the countries of the world to join in encouraging the government of Sri Lanka to take the steps needed to ensure meaningful and lasting national reconciliation after a long conflict, to reach out sincerely to the Tamil population and bring them back in to the national life of Sri Lanka, and to ensure accountability for actions taken during the war.Time is slipping by for the people of Sri Lanka. Together with the international community we want to work with Sri Lanka in order to bring lasting peace to the island. We firmly believe that action now in this Council reflects the international community’s ongoing interest in and support for action on the ground in Sri Lanka. Numerous international and domestic observers have echoed our concern that the government of Sri Lanka must now establish domestic processes that will sow the seeds of lasting peace on the ground. With this resolution, the countries of the world can extend their hand of cooperation to help all the people of Sri Lanka achieve that goal.
In its resolution, the Council urged Member States to work in conjunction with relevant international organizations to adopt legislation to facilitate prosecution of suspected pirates, as well as to cooperate on the issue of hostage-taking.Pirate networks “continue to rely on kidnapping and hostage-taking,” the 15-member Council today said, noting that the profits “help generate funding to purchase weapons, gain recruits, and continue their operations activities, thereby jeopardizing the safety and security of civilians and restricting the flow of free commerce.”Pirates off the coast of Somalia and the Horn of Africa have made between $339 million and $413 million in ransom profits in the past seven years, fuelling a wide range of criminal activities on a global scale, according to ‘Pirate Trails’ – a report released earlier this month by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Bank and INTERPOL.Meanwhile, piracy is estimated to cost the global economy about $18 billion a year in increased trade costs, as well as significant decline in tourist arrivals and fishing yields since 2006. The Council, in particular, commended Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles and Tanzania for their efforts to prosecute suspected pirates in national courts.It also reiterated its calls on Member States to fight piracy by deploying naval arms, military aircraft and by supporting counter-piracy forces, as well as by seizing and disposing boats, arms and other equipment suspected in piracy.They also decided that the arms embargo, originally imposed in 1992, “does not apply to supplies of weapons and military equipment or the provisions of assistance destined for the sole use of Member States, international, regional and sub-regional organizations” working to stop the scourge.Turning to Somali authorities, the Council reiterated its calls to interdict piracy, and to investigate and bring to justice “those who are using Somali territory to plan, facilitate, or undertake criminal acts of piracy and armed robbery at sea.”