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Sat, 01 November 2014 21:27:20
US panel votes to bar aid to Sri Lanka
22 Jul, 2011 07:11:17
WASHINGTON, July 22, 2011 (AFP) - A US congressional committee voted Thursday to ban aid to Sri Lanka unless the nation shows "accountability" over the bloodshed in the final stages of its civil war in 2009.
In a voice vote, the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved a measure that would ban all US government funding to Sri Lanka except for humanitarian aid, demining and activities to promote democracy and governance.

The measure -- sponsored by Representative Howard Berman, the top member of President Barack Obama's Democratic Party on the panel -- would only allow aid once the administration certifies progress by Sri Lanka on key concerns.

The concerns include "accountability for those involved in violations of human rights and war crimes at the end of Sri Lanka's civil war," including members of the defeated rebel Tamil Tigers.

Other criteria include an improved climate for freedom of the press, an end to emergency regulations and information from the government on the fate of people unaccounted for at the end of the civil war.

The US Agency for International Development had requested close to $13 million for Sri Lanka in the 2010 fiscal year.

While the House measure enjoyed broad support, it will not immediately take effect as it was in the form of an amendment for spending in the next fiscal year starting in October. A final package will come through lengthy negotiations between the House of Representatives and Senate.

In 2009, Sri Lanka's military killed the top leaders of the Tamil Tiger rebels, wiping out an insurgent force known for suicide bombings and recruitment of child soldiers in its decades-long separatist campaign.

The United Nations has said that up to 7,000 civilians were killed in the final months of fighting. A UN report has also spoken of abuses, alleging that the government executed rebel leaders who had worked out a surrender.

A documentary first broadcast on Britain's Channel 4 last month purportedly shows prisoner executions, sexual assaults and the aftermath of the shelling of civilian hospitals.

Sri Lanka's military has denied any civilian deaths and said that the footage on the documentary was doctored.

The country has promised that a local panel will take action if war crime allegations are proven but has rejected international calls for a UN-backed probe.

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READER COMMENT(S)
3. Sugath Jul 23
Yea! USA way to go. Cut off all ties and instruments of influence and lament that Chinese have a bigger say than you in Sri Lanka.
2. Hiran De Silva Jul 23
Very true, with a US debt default looming and debt ceilings being reached, how on earth can the provide aid anyway. Today the US is like a Golden Key - they need to keep borrowing to keep paying back! And guess who's holding a bulk of the bonds and firing warning shots - China!

High time the Americans stop trying to take the world for suckers and eat humble pie - their day of dominance is long past and we certainly don't need their filthy aid.

1. Bun Key Choon Jul 23
Osama is under pressure from the Republicans to cut their budgets drastically. This is just a cunning stunt to save face.

What about bloodshed in IRAQ, Palestine, Libya etc What about human rights in Saudi, where they throw women in jail for driving a car or talking to a man. Why are the UN puppets silent on these?

Guantanamo Bay the US symbol of freedom and democracy!

Double standards and Hypocracy