Sri Lanka lobbying in US ahead of key rights resolution
Colombo: Sri Lanka has intensified lobbying in the US Congress ahead of a resolution that the country is expected to face in the UN rights body next month over alleged war crimes during the military campaign against LTTE rebels.
Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to President Mahinda Rajapaksa, told reporters that his lobbying mission to meet the members of the US Congress and other top officials had been a "success".
"By providing the true picture of our progress since the end of the 30-year conflict, I was able to change their opinion on Sri Lanka," Weeratunga said.
He said the task was a difficult one as the pro-LTTE lobby in the US was working round-the-clock to disseminate a wrong picture of the Rajapaksa government`s reconciliation process.
The US is set to move its third successive resolution on Sri Lanka at the UNHRC sessions in March.
The new resolution at the UNHRC will build on two others passed in 2012 and 2013. The previous resolutions, backed by India, sought commitments from Sri Lanka on reconciliation and rights accountability.
Sri Lanka fears that the new resolution may call for an independent international probe into the alleged war crimes during the final phase of the military battle with the LTTE in 2009.
"It is unfair to limit attention to the last two weeks of the conflict," Weeratunga said.
Weeratunga said the US was apprised of the government`s successful work in resettling the large numbers war displaced and reintegration of ex-LTTE cadres in to the society after rehabilitation.
Weeratunga said some 665 former LTTE members and nearly 4,000 Tamil civilians have been absorbed into the Civil Defence Force.
Commenting on the Sri Lankan reconciliation commission recommendations, Weeratunga said 30 per cent of them had been fully implemented while concrete steps are underway towards implementing the rest.
The LTTE was vanquished by the military in 2009 after nearly three decades long ethnic war.
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