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Top US delegation due here

| by Kelum Bandara

(December 27, 2013 - Colombo - Sri Lanka Guardian) Ahead of the March UNHRC session, the United States will dispatch its newly appointed Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal to Sri Lanka next month to review the progress of implementing measures outlined in the previous resolution on Sri Lanka, the Daily Mirror learns.

Ms. Biswal, a US diplomat of Indian origin, replaced Robert O’ Blake who previously served in this position. She was sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs on October 21, 2013. Previously, Ms. Biswal served from September 2010 as Assistant Administrator for Asia at USAID, where she oversaw $1.2 billion in assistance to 22 countries from Central Asia to the Pacific Islands.

She is due here in the second week of January to hold talks with top leaders of Sri Lanka across the political divide. It is learnt that she will hold talks with External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris on the steps taken by the government in the implementation of the measures outlined in the US sponsored resolution adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in March this year.

The resolution called for the government to implement constructive recommendations by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), and to address allegations of human rights violations during the latter part of the war.

Sri Lanka’s issue is to be taken up again for review at the session scheduled for March, 2014. UN Human Rights High Commissioner Navanethem Pillay submitted her report to the UNHRC based on her fact finding mission to Sri Lanka in September this year. Meanwhile, the government will also initiate diplomatic action to brief the international community on achievements made on the ground in the implementation of the LLRC recommendations. For that purpose, Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga will head for Geneva during the latter part of January to brief the permanent representatives of different countries, ahead of the UNHRC session.