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US Congressmen urge increased US efforts in Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 03 July 2007, 11:28 GMT]
Fifty Congressmen and women in a letter to US President, urged him "to increase U.S. diplomatic engagement and high-level political contact in Sri Lanka to work toward achieving a lasting peace." They also urged the President to "increase U.S. efforts to promote strong human rights protections for civilians, urge the Government of Sri Lanka to take active measures to end extrajudicial killings and disappearances in government-controlled areas, [and] enhance Treasury Department efforts to disrupt LTTE financing."

The initiative was led by Rep. David Price and Rep. Rush Holt.

Full text of the letter follows:

The Honorable George W. Bush
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20500

Dear Mr. President;

We are writing to once again urge you to increase U.S. efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution to the current conflict in Sri Lanka.

PDF IconCongressmen's Letter with signatures (411kb)
Since December 2005, as you know, renewed hostilities between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have caused monumental suffering for Sri Lankan civilians, including widespread human rights abuses by both sides, over one thousand civilian deaths and disappearances, and displacement of an estimated 290,000 civilians. We condemn actions on both sides that have endangered and imperiled civilian populations.

PDF IconICG: Sri Lanka's Human Rights Crisis (717kb)
There is a pressing need for a more concerted effort by the international community to bring both sides back to the negotiating table. While the international community has attempted to mediate the conflict in the past, a recent report by the International Crisis Group has described the international response to Sri Lanka’s human rights problems as “disjointed, lackluster and tardy.” The report, a copy of which is attached, recommends a series of actions the international community should take to help resolve the conflict and stop the widespread abuse of human rights. The United States has the opportunity to serve as a leader of such a renewed international effort.

Several of us previously have urged you to increase U.S. diplomatic engagement and high-level political contact in Sri Lanka to work toward achieving a lasting peace. We continue to believe that such a step is imperative. We also urge you to increase U.S. efforts to promote strong human rights protections for civilians, urge the Government of Sri Lanka to take active measures to end extrajudicial killings and disappearances in government-controlled areas, enhance Treasury Department efforts to disrupt LTTE financing, and work toward a strengthened mandate for the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to engage in human rights field monitoring.

We appreciate your attention to this urgent matter and look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

Congressman DAVID PRICE
Congressman RUSH HOLT
Congressman GARY ACKERMAN
Congresswoman TAMMY BALDWIN
Congresswoman MADELEINE BORDALLO
Congressman G. K. BUTTERFIELD
Congressman LOIS CAPPS
Congressman MICHAEL CAPUANO
Congressman JOE COURTNEY
Congressman JOSEPH CROWLEY
Congressman ELIJAH CUMMINGS
Congressman DANNY K. DAVIS
Congresswoman ROSA DELAURO
Congressman BOB ETHERIDGE
Congressman CHAKA FATTAH
Congressman BARNEY FRANK
Congressman SCOTT GARRETT
Congressman CHARLES GONZALEZ
Congressman AL GREEN
Congressman RAÚL GRIJALVA
Congressman ALCEE HASTINGS
Congressman BRIAN HIGGINS
Congressman MAURICE HINCHEY
Congressman MICHAEL HONDA
Congressman DALE KILDEE
Congressman TOM LANTOS
Congresswoman BARBARA LEE
Congressman ZOE LOFGREN
Congresswoman NITA LOWEY
Congressman EDWARD MARKEY
Congresswoman BETTY MCCOLLUM
Congressman BRAD MILLER
Congresswoman GWEN MOORE
Congressman JAMES MORAN
Congressman FRANK PALLONE
Congressman DONALD PAYNE
Congressman JOSEPH PITTS
Congressman DAVID REICHERT
Congressman STEVEN ROTHMAN
Congressman DUTCH RUPPERSBERGER
Congresswoman JANICE SCHAKOWSKY
Congressman CHRISTOPHER SHAYS
Congressman BRAD SHERMAN
Congressman PORTNEY PETE STARK
Congresswoman BETTY SUTTON
Congressman PATRICK TIBERI
Congressman MELVIN WATT
Congressman JERRY WELLER
Congressman ROBERT WEXLER
Congressman DAVID WU

 

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