Royce urges Sri Lanka to speed up reforms

Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA)

Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA)

WASHINGTON DC: Tamil Americans have welcomed a move by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), the Chairman of the powerful House Foreign Affairs Committee, pitching for an increased diplomatic engagement with Sri Lanka asking for speeding much promised reforms by Sri Lankan government to heal ethnic rift.

In a letter sent recently to Secretary of State John Kerry, Rep Royce made a special reference about the Sri Lankan government’s promise to move forward on constitutional and security sector reforms, as well as accountability and reconciliation aimed at healing ethnic and religious wounds after many decades of conflict.

Chairman Royce urged the Secretary, “to press the Government of Sri Lanka to take immediate steps to release political prisoners, repeal the war-time ‘Prevention of Terrorism Act’, and return land seized during the conflict. These actions, which the government has already committed to take, would help build confidence in Sri Lanka’s ability to undertake even larger reforms.”

Chairman Royce noted that this is a “unique opportunity” to play a constructive role in Sri Lanka’s efforts to strengthen their democracy and deliver the dividends of peace to all people on the island.

He asked Secretary Kerry to “Clearly outline the steps that the US government will take to support reform, including efforts to implement recommendations from the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and ensure that development and security assistance are in line with reform efforts.”

Neela Pandya