Two U.S. senators, together with two congressmen, have introduced a bicameral and bipartisan resolution expressing the United States’ support for the peaceful democratic and economic aspirations of the people of Sri Lanka.

The resolution was put forward by U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.) and Jim Risch (R-Idaho), the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, respectively, along with Representatives Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.-08) and Bill Johnson (R-Ohio-06).

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee said in a statement that the resolution urges the Sri Lankan government to listen to and respect the rights of Sri Lankan people by addressing corruption, ensuring justice and accountability for human rights abuses, and holding free and fair local and provincial elections without further delay.

The resolution recognizes that the people of Sri Lanka have faced a political, economic, and humanitarian crisis which has had devastating human impact.

It also notes that this crisis is exacerbated by government corruption, financial mismanagement, failures in the rule of law, and ‘predatory lending’ associated with the People’s Republic of China, the statement reads further.

In the resolution, the Sri Lankan government is accused of ‘not doing enough’ to address ‘endemic corruption and impunity’, and weakening Sri Lanka’s democracy by indefinitely postponing local elections.

“Many of those responsible for this crisis are also implicated in human rights abuses against Sinhalese, Tamils, and Muslims across Sri Lanka dating back to the civil war.”

Speaking in this regard, Chair of Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Ben Cardin said: “Sri Lanka’s ongoing economic, governance, and humanitarian crises – which have had crippling impacts on the Sri Lankan people – are exacerbated by the Sri Lankan government’s unwillingness to meaningfully address the devastating legacy and impacts of its civil war and provide justice to those who suffered serious human rights abuses. This resolution makes clear that the United States stands with the people of Sri Lanka in their effort to form a more inclusive, just, democratic, and economically sustainable future.”

Meanwhile, the committee’s Ranking Member Jim Risch said: Strengthening Sri Lanka’s democracy supports a more secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific. This resolution urges the government of Sri Lanka to hold free and fair local elections as soon as possible and to strengthen good governance, rule of law, corruption, justice, accountability, and human rights measures.

“The United States will continue to support the people of Sri Lanka in their pursuit of peace, prosperity, and democracy.”

Congressman Krishnamoorthi commented: “The people of Sri Lanka have experienced decades of war, economic crisis, and political suppression that have led to this moment of inflection in the nation’s history.  As a result of our resolution, the U.S. House of Representatives will express its strong support for the Sri Lankan citizenry and their ongoing efforts to bring about a peaceful, democratic society that will ensure prosperity for the nation and accountability for the tragic actions of the past.

“It would further reinforce the principle that Sri Lanka’s leaders must safeguard the political, economic, and social rights of the populace, including and especially the ethnic and religious communities who have been deliberately suppressed and targeted by previous governments.”

Congressman Johnson remarked: “I’m proud to co-lead this bipartisan, bicameral resolution with Rep. Krishnamoorthi and Senators Cardin and Risch. As a co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Ethnic and Religious Freedom in Sri Lanka, I have long advocated for increasing civil and human rights for all ethnicities and religions in Sri Lanka who are being excluded from society, the economy, and political life through discrimination, harassment, and persecution.

“I am hopeful that it encourages the Sri Lankan government to take positive, visible, and concrete actions to provide greater transparency, increased human rights, and accountability for past alleged war crimes and violations of human and civil rights.”