US Congress places Rights barriers on Sri Lanka IMF loan
[TamilNet, Friday, 17 July 2009, 01:41 GMT]
The language inserted in the Department of State Appropriations bill S.1434 soon to be passed in the United States Senate, has virtually blocked U.S. Treasury Secretary from authorizing the projected $1.9B IMF loan to Sri Lanka, unless Secretary of State Hilary Clinton certifies that Sri Lanka "is treating internally displaced persons in accordance with international standards, including by guaranteeing their freedom of movement, providing access to conflict-affected areas and populations by humanitarian organizations and journalists, and accounting for persons detained in the conflict," and Sri Lanka is promoting "reconciliation and justice including devolution of power to provincial councils in the north and east as provided for in the Constitution of Sri Lanka."
The bill makes appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, and for other purposes.
Senator Patrick Leahy, current chairman of the Judiciary Committee
Vermont Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee on State and Foreign Operations, reported the original bill which was read twice and placed on the calendar.
Congressional staffers told TamilNet the strong language in the bill inserted by Senator Leahy greatly diminishes the prospects for the IMF to release the long delayed loan to Sri Lanka any time soon.
TamilNet also learnt that the Leahy committee has asked US State Department to submit a report on possible war crimes committed in Sri Lanka between January and May this year.
The text of the portion of the bill related to Sri Lanka follows:
SEC. 7091. (a) None of the funds appropriated by this Act under the heading ‘‘Foreign Military Financing Program’’ may be made available for assistance for Sri Lanka, no defense export license may be issued, and no
military equipment or technology shall be sold or transferred to Sri Lanka pursuant to the authorities contained in this Act or any other Act, until the Secretary of State certifies to the Committee on Appropriations that the Government of Sri Lanka—
- is suspending and bringing to justice members of the military who have been credibly alleged to have violated internationally recognized human rights or international humanitarian law; and
- has agreed to the establishment of a field presence of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Sri Lanka with
sufficient staff and mandate to conduct full and unimpeded monitoring throughout the country and to publicize its findings;
- is treating internally displaced persons in accordance with international standards, including by guaranteeing their freedom of movement, providing access to conflict-affected areas and populations by humanitarian organizations and journalists, and accounting for persons detained in the conflict; and
- is implementing policies to promote reconciliation and justice including devolution of power to provincial councils in the north and east as provided for in the Constitution of Sri Lanka.
(b) Subsection (a) shall not apply to technology or equipment made available for the limited purposes of maritime and aerial surveillance.
(c) The Secretary of the Treasury shall instruct the United States Executive Directors of the international financial institutions (as defined in section 1701(c)(2) of the International Financial Institutions Act (22 U.S.C.
262r(c)(2))) to vote against any loan, agreement, or other financial support for Sri Lanka except to meet basic human needs, unless the Secretary of State certifies to the Committees on Appropriations that the Government of Sri Lanka is meeting the requirements in subsections (a)(3) and (4).
The model indictment document produced by Washington Attorney Bruce Fein, and the submittals to the District of Columbia District Court on Tamils Against Genocide (TAG's) legal action against IMF loan have also been forwarded to the Leahy committee, according to TAG officials.