The formation of US policy on Sri Lanka under Obama administration -5


The Obama administration should:
1. Take a broader and more robust approach to Sri Lanka that
appreciates new political and economic realities in Sri Lanka and
U.S. geostrategic interests. Such an approach should be multidimensional
so that U.S. policy is not driven solely by short-term
humanitarian concerns but rather an integrated strategy that
leverages political, economic, and security tools for more effective
long-term reforms.

2. Continue support de-mining efforts in the North. De-mining
will be a major factor in successful resettlement of the North.

3. Engage the United Nations (World Food Programme and other
agencies) and the Sri Lankan Goverment in developing a realistic
resettlement strategy for 2010 that reassesses food and nonfood
needs to support returnees’ efforts at reestablishing their livelihoods.

4. Promote people-to-people reconciliation programs to build
bridges between the Sinhalese, Tamil, and Muslim communities. A
people-to-people approach should be linked to political reforms and
processes that support transitional justice. Funding for such programs
is available on a competitive basis under section 7065 (‘‘Reconciliation
Programs’’) of Public Law 111–8, and additional funding
will be included for such purposes in the Department of State, Foreign
Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2010.

5. Expand U.S. assistance to include all areas of the country,
particularly in the south and central areas so that Sinhalese and
other groups also benefit from U.S. assistance programs and reap
some ‘‘peace dividend.’’

6. Tighten visa restrictions and revoke U.S. citizenship for any
persons who are shown to have committed war crimes in Sri
Lanka, whether they acted on behalf of the LTTE or the
Goverment of Sri Lanka.

7. Expand the USAID/Department of Justice police program and
provide judicial advisors to the Sri Lankan Ministry of Justice in
order to support critical police reforms and implementation of current

8. Publicly commit to reinstating Peace Corps operations in Sri
Lanka as soon as the emergency regulations are removed. Peace
Corps volunteers could focus on teaching English and information
technology training.

The U.S. Congress should:

1. Authorize the U.S. military to resume training of Sri Lankan
military officials to help ensure that human rights concerns are integrated
into future operations and to help build critical relationships.

The international financial institutions should:
1. Encourage all international financial institutions to systematically
factor in the role of conflict, as the World Bank does through
its conflict filter for Sri Lanka, to ensure that IMF and development
bank financing does not inadvertently exacerbate conflict.
Specifically, World Bank staff should be commended on its development
of a conflict filter for Sri Lanka, and the World Bank should
expand its use in other countries.
2. Proactively review military spending as a component of its financial
programs with conflict countries.

The Sri Lankan Goverment should:
1. Treat all internally displaced persons in accordance with Sri
Lankan and international standards, including by guaranteeing
their freedom of movement, providing access to war-torn areas and
populations by humanitarian organizations and journalists, and accounting
for persons detained in the conflict.

2. Recognize the importance of a free and fair press, for both its
own democratic traditions and for sharing accurate information
with the international community. In showing its commitment to
freedom of the press, the Goverment should welcome back journalists
that have fled the country; pardon those such as J.S.
Tissainayagam who were indicted under emergency laws; cease
prosecuting cases against journalists based on emergency law; and
actively investigate threats, abuses and killings of journalists.

3. Take steps to repeal emergency laws that are no longer applicable
now that the war is over. This will send a strong message
that Sri Lanka is ready to transition to a post-conflict environment.

4. Share its plans for resettlement and reconstruction in the
North with Sri Lankan civil society and international donors, who
are well-positioned to support such efforts if there is greater transparency
and accountability.

5. Commence a program of reconciliation between the diverse
communities in Sri Lanka.

6. Engage in a dialogue on land tenure issues, since they affect
resettlement in the North and East.


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