Sunday, June 23, 2024

U.S. Legislators Introduce Bipartisan Resolution to Support Sri Lanka’s Democratic and Economic Aspirations

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined forces with Representatives Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.-08) and Bill Johnson (R-Ohio-06) to introduce a bicameral resolution expressing unwavering support for the peaceful democratic and economic aspirations of the people of Sri Lanka.

The resolution, which emphasizes the importance of respecting the rights of the Sri Lankan people, calls on the Government of Sri Lanka to address corruption, ensure justice and accountability for human rights abuses, and expedite the holding of free and fair local and provincial elections without further delay.

The legislators acknowledged the profound impact of the political, economic, and humanitarian crisis on the people of Sri Lanka. They attributed the exacerbation of this crisis to government corruption, financial mismanagement, rule of law failures, and predatory lending associated with the People’s Republic of China. The resolution contends that the Sri Lankan government’s inaction on endemic corruption and impunity, coupled with the indefinite postponement of local elections, has weakened the nation’s democracy. Moreover, those implicated in the crisis are alleged to have been involved in human rights abuses against Sinhalese, Tamils, and Muslims dating back to the civil war.

Chair Cardin emphasized, “The people of Sri Lanka deserve peace, prosperity, and justice,” underscoring the debilitating impacts of the ongoing economic, governance, and humanitarian crises. He asserted that the resolution conveys the unequivocal support of the United States for the people of Sri Lanka in their endeavor to shape a more inclusive, just, democratic, and economically sustainable future.

Ranking Member Risch echoed these sentiments: “Strengthening Sri Lanka’s democracy supports a more secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific.” He emphasized the resolution’s call for free and fair local elections and strengthening good governance, the rule of law, corruption, justice, accountability, and human rights measures.

Congressman Krishnamoorthi highlighted the historical challenges faced by the people of Sri Lanka. He expressed confidence that the resolution signals the U.S. House of Representatives’ strong support for their ongoing efforts. He stressed the need for a peaceful, democratic society that ensures prosperity and accountability for past tragic actions.

Congressman Johnson, co-leading the bipartisan resolution, expressed pride in advocating for increased civil and human rights in Sri Lanka. As a co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Ethnic and Religious Freedom in Sri Lanka, he expressed hope that the resolution encourages the Sri Lankan government to take concrete actions, providing transparency, increased human rights, and accountability for alleged war crimes and violations of human and civil rights.

The resolution reflects a unified commitment by U.S. legislators to actively support the people of Sri Lanka in their pursuit of peace, prosperity, and democracy, emphasizing the importance of safeguarding political, economic, and social rights, particularly for ethnic and religious communities historically marginalized and targeted by previous governments.

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