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7TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE END OF THE WAR IN SRI LANKA

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to commemorate the 7th anniversary of the end of the war in Sri Lanka. The Government of Sri Lanka won the war to keep the Sinhalese and Tamil communities within one country, but has not yet won the peace. A new president and a new government in 2015 have led to hopes that a different path will be trod towards a plural state in which all religions and ethnicities may live with dignity and security. The leaders of the new government have made many ambitious promises to advance toward the goal of a stable and prosperous future for all. Now is the time to turn those promises into concrete action. The US, must assist and support in any way we can, but we must also keep incentives in place such as conditions on military and other aid until the government has accomplished real reform. The government of Sri Lanka has made commitments on transitional justice and accountability, a political settlement of the ethnic problem, security sector reform, the return of land, the release of Tamil political prisoners, actions to end human rights violations and other ambitious reforms. Unfortunately, not enough improvement has yet been seen by the Tamils, Christians and Muslims who feel marginalized and discriminated against. Courageous leadership is needed to gain trust if reconciliation is the goal, not just promises. Now is the time for real action. 

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    2813-15 W. Fifth Avenue
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