10 US Congressmen have asked the US Secretary of State to use all available diplomatic means to ensure that the Sri Lankan government protects the right of citizens to protest and not use violence against peaceful demonstrators and journalists.
In a letter addressed to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and USAID Administrator Samantha Power, the members of Congress urge Sri Lanka to provide meaningful assistance in times of need.
The Congressmen pointed out that President Ranil Wickremesinghe declared a state of emergency, imposed a curfew, condemned the protests and even suggested using live ammunition to quell them.
They point out that there are diplomatic mechanisms in place to ensure that violence is not used against peaceful demonstrators and journalists and that the Government of Sri Lanka protects the right of aggrieved citizens to protest peacefully.
In that letter, they call for the full inclusion of measures to support the stabilization of Sri Lanka.
These actions include advancing efforts to address long-standing issues of accountability and reconciliation and improving Sri Lanka’s democratic institutions to meet US foreign policy goals for the region.
In the letter, they have also asked USAID to take immediate steps to provide relief to the Sri Lankan people, including increased food, medical and fuel aid.
The letter further emphasizes that USAID provided $11.75 million in new humanitarian and development assistance at the end of June.