Honoring the Three year Anniversary of the end of the 26-year long Civil War in Sri Lanka
Excerpts of speech by Hon. Michael G. Grimm of New York in The House of Representatives, Friday May 18, 2012:
Mr. Speaker, today I rise to honor the three year anniversary of the end of the 26-year-long civil war in Sri Lanka.
Although this war ended three years ago, and a United Nations panel of experts found evidence of war crimes and the Government-established Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission called for an inquiry into the events surrounding February 21, 2002 to May 19, 2009, a credible plan of action has yet to be determined.
Congressman Michael Grimm (R) is the U.S. Representative for New York’s 13th congressional district
Evidence of child soldiers, the killing of captives and combatants seeking to surrender, large-scale shelling of “No Fire Zones,” and the rape and torture of civilians fleeing the conflict zone are extremely serious.
Serious crimes such as these–committed against civilians on such a large scale during war–must be investigated and those responsible held accountable. Accountability is important for the benefit of the victims and their families–for the trust necessary for reconciliation in Sri Lanka to be established and for the entire structure of the rules of war on which our soldiers and all innocent civilians depend.
A resolution recently adopted in March by the United Nations Human Rights Commission “calls upon the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the constructive recommendations made in the report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission and to take all necessary additional a steps to fulfill its relevant legal obligations and commitment to initiate credible and independent actions to ensure justice, equity, accountability and reconciliation for all Sri Lankans.”
Furthermore the UNHRC Resolution “requests the Government of Sri Lanka to present, as expeditiously as possible, a comprehensive action plan detailing the steps that the Government has taken and will take to implement the recommendations made in the Commission’s report, and also to address alleged violations of international law.”
Mr. Speaker, the government of Sri Lanka needs to take concrete action that brings accountability and reconciliation and puts forth an implementation plan if the people of Sri Lanka are to move forward.