US puts conditions on Sri Lanka aid

2011-07-22 12:00
Washington - A US congressional committee voted on Thursday to ban aid to Sri Lanka unless the nation shows "accountability" over the bloodshed in the final stages of its civil war in 2009.

In a voice vote, the House Foreign Affairs Committee approved a measure that would ban all US government funding to Sri Lanka except for humanitarian aid, demining and activities to promote democracy and governance.

The measure - sponsored by Representative Howard Berman, the top member of President Barack Obama's Democratic Party on the panel - would only allow aid once the administration certifies progress by Sri Lanka on key concerns.

The concerns include "accountability for those involved in violations of human rights and war crimes at the end of Sri Lanka's civil war," including members of the defeated rebel Tamil Tigers.

Other criteria include an improved climate for freedom of the press, an end to emergency regulations and information from the government on the fate of people unaccounted for at the end of the civil war.

The US Agency for International Development had requested close to $13m for Sri Lanka in the 2010 fiscal year.

While the House measure enjoyed broad support, it will not immediately take effect as it was in the form of an amendment for spending in the next fiscal year starting in October. A final package will come through lengthy negotiations between the House of Representatives and Senate.

Civilian deaths

In 2009, Sri Lanka's military killed the top leaders of the Tamil Tiger rebels, wiping out an insurgent force known for suicide bombings and recruitment of child soldiers in its decades-long separatist campaign.

The United Nations has said that up to 7 000 civilians were killed in the final months of fighting. A UN report has also spoken of abuses, alleging that the government executed rebel leaders who had worked out a surrender.

A documentary first broadcasted on Britain's Channel 4 last month purportedly shows prisoner executions, sexual assaults and the aftermath of the shelling of civilian hospitals.

Sri Lanka's military has denied any civilian deaths and said that the footage on the documentary was doctored.

The country has promised that a local panel will take action if war crime allegations are proven but has rejected international calls for a UN-backed probe.

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    sri lanka  |  us  |  aid publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Boks won't be tired, assures Louw
Mumm wary of depleted Welsh
Lack of experience costs England dear
Jean rejoins Springbok camp
Traffic Alerts

Relationships and significant connections may play an important role in your day today. Let the warmth of the Leo moon inspire more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.