US aid to Sri Lanka to continue amid HR pressure

Feb 28, 2013 (LBO) – The United States aid programs to Sri Lanka would continue as a separate process from calls to address allegations of human rights abuses, a senior US foreign aid official said. In another program, people in Vavuniya, also in northern Sri Lanka were being helped to build rainwater harvesting systems through a civil society organization.

Rollins said USAID preferred to work directly with civil society organizations and private sector entities on the ground.

The US was also planning a 4.5 million US dollar program to fund a government program which will train judges and court administration, which will improve access to justice as part of a 13 million dollar program for the year.

Rollins said the USAID was facing budget cuts amid economic troubles. The US had given nearly 2.0 billion dollars in aid since 1956.

Though the US is Sri Lanka’s largest buyer of exported products and the US based investors are among the top buyers of government debt, USAID has been eclipsed by other countries such as China which are giving large volumes of loans for projects.

“Our program is 100 percent grant,” Rollins said. “And we are investing in people in a particularly coun