Sri Lanka’s promise to stem bloodshed broken: US

COLOMBO, May 10, 2007 (AFP) – The United States Thursday accused Sri Lanka of going back on promises to protect human rights and said the situation in the embattled island had “deteriorated” in the past year. Visiting US diplomat Richard Boucher said there was more bloodshed and that the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse had failed to honour pledges to reduce violence since he took office in November 2005.

“People are more fearful and face more difficulties. Overall there has been a deterioration in Sri Lanka’s human rights record,” Boucher said when asked how he assessed the situation in Colombo since his last visit in October.

Boucher, the US Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian affairs, told reporters here that he wanted to see Colombo deliver on the promises made to the international community to reduce violence stemming from a bitter ethnic conflict with Tamil rebels.

“We are very concerned,” he said after his closed-door meeting with Rajapakse at his tightly-guarded Temple Trees residence.

Boucher said he raised concerns with Rajapakse about the collapse of a truce with the rebels, attacks on media and the escalation of extra-judicial killings that have left more th