( November 10, 2016, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) The victory of Donald Trump is seen a blessing for Sri Lanka which could have faced renewed pressure at next year’s UN Human Rights Council over war crimes accountability and reconciliation.
The outgoing US President Barak Obama’s UN ambassador Samantha Power had been a key figure behind the 2014 resolution against Sri Lanka and calls for international investigations if Colombo failed to probe war crimes.
With Obama’s Democratic party nominee Hillary Clinton defeated at the November 8 presidential race, Sri Lankan government sources believe the rights pressure on them will be off, at least for the time-being.
Government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne told reporters Wednesday that Washington may be more pre-occupied with domestic issues and there would be “less meddling” in international affairs under a Trump presidency.
“I always thought Trump will win because there was a big nationalistic waves sweeping across the world,” the minister said. “The good thing is that there will be less interference in world affairs.”
Sri Lanka’s new government which came to power in January last year on a promise to probe allegations that up to 40,000 Tamil civilians were killed by government forces in the final months of its war with Tamil rebels.
However, the government asked the UN Human Rights Council for more time and is expected to unveil its plan to investigate atrocities when the council meets again in March in Geneva.
With no tangible progress on the accountability front, the government risked facing strictures in March, but the Trump presidency may have bought them more time.
It is also not clear if Trump will place the same emphasis on rights as the Obama administration.
( Economy Next, Colombo, Nov 9, 2016)