Bipartisan resolution urges international cooperation to ensure justice and accountability

Today, Congresswoman Deborah Ross (NC-02) and Congressman Bill Johnson (OH-06) introduced a bipartisan House Resolution recognizing 14 years since the end of the 26-year armed conflict between the government of Sri Lanka and various armed Tamil independence organizations. Since the reinstallation of the Rajapaksa government in November 2019, Sri Lanka has abandoned its pursuit of accountability and justice for the violence committed against the Tamil people. The resolution serves to honor those killed in the conflict, advocate for justice and accountability, urge international action to hold war criminals accountable for their actions, and ensure a sustainable and peaceful future for all people in Sri Lanka.

“Those who violate human rights must be held accountable,” said Congresswoman Ross. “Accountability for past and ongoing human rights violations is necessary for Sri Lanka to move past its current struggles and ensure a sustainable future for all people on the island. I support Tamil demands for justice, and I urge the United States to advance accountability and redress for the Tamil people. I thank Congressman Johnson for his partnership on this important issue.”

“I am proud to co-lead this resolution with Rep. Deborah Ross, which is being introduced on the anniversary of the end of Sri Lanka’s decades-long civil war,” said Congressman Johnson. “It is my sincere hope that one day Sri Lanka will be a unified country, led by a government committed to democratic principles and human rights, where all its citizens receive equal treatment under the law. I commend efforts by the international community to advocate for transparency and the devolution of political authority in the Sri Lankan government, and I encourage the Wickremesinghe government to recommit on overdue promises for justice and accountability for war crimes and violations of human and civil rights.”

Representatives Wiley Nickel (NC-13), Don Davis (NC-01), Jeff Jackson (NC-14), Summer Lee (PA-12), Danny K. Davis (IL-07), and Lucy McBath (GA-07) are all original cosponsors of the House Resolution.

In 2021, Congresswoman Ross first introduced this resolution and led a bipartisan group of her colleagues in sending a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken regarding the deteriorating human rights situation in Sri Lanka and abuses against the Tamil community.

A 2021 report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights found that the Sri Lankan government had acted counter to the protection of its people’s human rights, citing a lack of political will to implement democratic reforms. The report warns that such actions set Sri Lanka on a path towards “the recurrence of the policies and practices that gave rise to grave human rights violations.’’