Skip to main content

Reps. Deborah Ross, Bill Johnson Introduce Resolution Recognizing 12 Years Since End of Conflict in Sri Lanka

May 18, 2021

Bipartisan resolution urges international cooperation to ensure justice and accountability

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Deborah Ross (NC-02) introduced a bipartisan House Resolution recognizing 12 years since the end of the 26-year armed conflict between the Government of Sri Lanka and various armed Tamil independence organizations, including the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Since the reinstallation of the Rajapaksa government in November 2019, Sri Lanka has abandoned many of its efforts towards reform and reconciliation.

Congresswoman Ross’ resolution serves to honor the lives lost in the conflict; expresses support for justice, accountability, and reform in Sri Lanka to ensure a lasting peaceful political solution; and urges the establishment of an effective international mechanism to hold those accountable for committing international crimes.

“Perpetrators of human rights violations must be held accountable,” said Congresswoman Ross. “The Sri Lankan government has obstructed justice, impeded institutional reform, and committed human rights abuses against dissidents and minority communities—including Tamils.  I commend the UN Human Rights Council for its leadership and applaud the many brave human rights advocates who have persevered on behalf of justice. The United States must be part of this effort. I am grateful to my colleagues, Representatives Bill Johnson, Danny Davis, and Brad Sherman, and Kathy Manning for joining me in this effort.”

“I am proud to co-lead this resolution with Rep. Deborah Ross which is being introduced on the 12th 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, where all its citizens receive equal treatment under the law. I commend efforts by the international community to establish an international mechanism to hold the Sri Lankan government accountable, and I encourage the Rajapaksa government to follow through on overdue promises for justice and accountability for war crimes and violations of human and civil rights.”

In March, Congresswoman Ross 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 United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights found that the Sri Lankan government has, over the past year, 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.’’ In March, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution, cosponsored by the United States, that responds to troubling trends that have emerged in Sri Lanka over the past year.

###