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Tuesday, February 14, 2012 - 7.27 GMT

Sri Lanka has good anti-trafficking record - US


The Government of Sri Lanka has demonstrated improved performance, most notably in the successful prosecution and conviction of traffickers under anti-trafficking legislation, and rejuvenated its interagency task force on this issue, State Department's Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Maria Otero said.

We welcome the opportunity to continue to work with the government to strengthen investigation and prosecution efforts and eradicate the scourge of trafficking in persons, she said addressing a press conference in Colombo yesterday at the end of a two-day visit to Sri Lanka with US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake.

Child labor is another area where the Sri Lankan government and NGOs are making a great deal of progress. Today less than two percent of children are engaged in the worst forms of child labor in Sri Lanka. This is a significant achievement, particularly in this region, and we are even more encouraged by the government’s plan to entirely eliminate the worst forms of child labor from the country by 2016, the Under Secretary said.

Appreciating the work of Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) she said the Commission addressed a number of crucial areas of concern to Sri Lankans, and made substantive recommendations.

"We look forward to a good domestic inquiry into the issues of accountability which will produce satisfactory results. The question of an international inquiry will only arise after such a process, "Assistant Secretary Blake said.

Under Secretary Otero said the United States will support a resolution in the UN Human Rights Council in March that provides an opportunity for the government to describe the measures it intends to take to "implement the LLRC recommendations and advance reconciliation, as well as address accountability, human rights and democracy concerns."

Otero is the most senior U.S. government official to visit Sri Lanka since Secretary of State Colin Powell in 2005.






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Last modified: February 14, 2012.

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