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21 Jun 2018

Justice for victims of Lanka civil war remains elusive: US-lawmaker

'Justice for victims of Lanka civil-war remains elusive'

Justice for most of the victims of brutal civil war in Sri Lanka remains elusive, said US lawmaker Chris Smith.

He accused President Maithripala Sirisena of doing little to mend ties between the majority Sinhalese and minority Tamils.

"Although observers hoped that Sirisena's government would increase access to justice, focus on human-rights, his administration has been criticized for having an inadequate response."

In context

'Justice for victims of Lanka civil-war remains elusive'

Smith chaired conference titled 'Human Rights Concerns in Sri Lanka'

The comments by Republican Smith, who chaired a meeting on 'Human Rights Concerns in Sri Lanka', came during a hearing of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations.

What was the Sri Lankan civil war?


What was the Sri Lankan civil war?

Nearly 100,00 people were killed in the Sri Lankan civil war and hundreds of thousands displaced.

The 'Sri Lankan Armed Forces' and rebel 'Tamil Tigers' have been credibly accused of war crimes, Smith said.

According to UN figures, around 40,000 civilians were killed by security forces, that brought an end to the three-decade-long civil war with the defeat of the LTTE in 2009.

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Newly formed party gain 45% of vote in Sri Lanka

Smith said that in February, a newly formed Buddhist nationalist party gained 45% of the vote, beating the government coalition combined.

In March, Sinhalese mobs engaged in an anti-Muslim pogrom after a local-dispute, forcing the President to declare emergency.

Noting that Lanka's stability is of critical importance to US interests, Smith said that this island-nation has seen a spike in activity by China recently.

US will oppose China's malign influence in Sri Lanka: Smith


US will oppose China's malign influence in Sri Lanka: Smith

"China's strategy globally is one of indebting countries and binding them in servitude so it can extract resources, so it is safe to say that Beijing's initiatives will not emphasize ethnic reconciliation and/or human rights," Smith said.

"This presents the United States with an opportunity to stand up for justice and the rule of law and to oppose China's malign influence," he added.

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