US delivers demarche: Refer LLRC report to UNHRC

By Our Diplomatic Correspondent

The United States has delivered a demarche to Sri Lanka that it wants the final report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) discussed at the 19th sessions of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in March next year.

A demarche is a formal diplomatic stand of one government's official position, views and wishes on a particular subject. It was delivered by the US Embassy in Colombo to the External Affairs Ministry last month, but, Sri Lanka has not yet responded officially to the request.

An External Affairs Ministry source who spoke on grounds of anonymity said the government was most likely to reject the US request. “This is because we will be under the constant watch of the HRC if we agree to this move,” the source said, sounding a warning that a rejection may also force US to resort to other “measures against Sri Lanka”.

A resolution to cut aid to Sri Lanka, moved by members of the House Foreign Relations Committee, now awaits further discussion before becoming law. The final report of the LLRC is expected to be released in November this year.

After the Sri Lanka issue arising out of the UN Advisory Panel’s report on alleged war crimes was not raised at the 17th sessions of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva in June, there was speculation that it would be taken up in September this year.

Although it is not altogether ruled out, both Britain and the United States have said that they would give time for Sri Lanka till the end of this year to respond. In a similar move, the US is learnt to have succeeded in getting Yemen to discuss the recent violent incidents in that country leading to human rights abuses before the UNHRC sessions in September. This came after the government in Sanaa had agreed to the US request.

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