|00:00:00||HAS BEEN A FRIEND OF SRI LANKA AND THERE IS NO DOUBT WE HAVE STOOD WITH THEIR PEOPLE AND THE FIGHT AGAINST TERRORISM.|
|00:00:08||AS MEMBERS ARE AWARE, SRI LANKA WAGED A LONG CONFLICT AGAINST THE LIBBERATION TIGERS.|
|00:00:18||IT IS A SEPARATIST GROUP THAT HAS BEEN BEEN DESIGNATED AS A FOREIGN TERRORIST ORGANIZATION SINCE 1997.|
|00:00:27||FOR NEARLY 30 YEARS, THEY CLAIMED TO HAVE REPRESENTED THE ASPIRATIONS OF ALL THE PEOPLE OF VIRLANCHINGA AND -- VIA LANCHINGA AND PINE EERED THE BOMB JACKET.|
|00:00:42||AND THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR ASSASSINATIONS INCLUDING THE FORMER INDIAN PRIME MINISTER AS WELL AS 200 SUICIDE ATTACKS.|
|00:00:51||DURING THAT STRUGGLE, THE UNITED STATES WAS A SUPPORTER OF SRI LANKA'S EFFORTS TO STOP THE FLOW OF ARMS AND FINANCING TO THE LTTE BY PROVIDING LAW ENFORCEMENT ASSISTANCE AND PROVIDING TRAINING AND EQUIPMENT TO HELP SRI LANKA'S MILITARY DEFEND ITSELF AGAINST THE MILITARY ACTIONS OF THE LTTE.|
|00:01:13||THE WORLD WITNESSED THE SUCCESSON OF FIGHTING AND THE CONCLUSION OF ITS LONG-RUN INSURGENCY.|
|00:01:22||THIS CONFLICT COST TENS OF THOUSANDS OF LIVES, UPROOTED THOUSANDS FROM THEIR HOMES, LEFT THOUSANDS MAIMED OR WOUNDED AND BADLY DIVIDED THIS NATION.|
|00:01:34||THE UNITED STATES REMAINS DEEPLY CONCERNED FOR THE WELFARE OF THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS UPROOTED BY THE CURRENT FIGHTING.|
|00:01:45||CONGRESS RECOGNIZES THE TREMENDOUS LOSS OF LIFE AND HARDSHIPS ENDURED BY THE CIVILIANS IN NORTHERN SRI LANKA.|
|00:01:53||TO HELP ADDRESS THIS MANY AND OTHER URGENT NEEDS, THE UNITED STATES HAS PROVIDED SOME $56 MILLION IN HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE IN 2009.|
|00:02:02||MR. SPEAKER, THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE HAS EMPHASIZED THAT WHILE THE GOVERNMENT OF SRI LANKA HAS MADE PROGRESS IN EASING CAMP CONGESTION REGISTERING ETERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS AND MORE WORK REMAINS TO BE DONE TO MEET ITS COMMITMENT TO THE RETURN OF THE MAJORITY OF THE DISPLACED PERSONS BY THE END OF THE YEAR.|
|00:02:24||THIS IS THE CASE WITH MONSOON SEASON APPROACHING.|
|00:02:27||WE URGE THE GOVERNMENT TO ALLOW ACCESS TO THE DISPLACED PERSON CAM PRESIDENTS AND WORK HAND IN HAND WITH THE UNITED NATIONS' HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES, THE INTERNAL COMMITTEE FOR THE RED CROSS TO ENSURE THAT CIVILIAN I.|
|00:02:43||D.P.'S ARE ACCORDED THE RIGHTS AND CARE.|
|00:02:48||THE UNITED STATES STANDS READY TO HELP THE GOVERNMENT IN THESE EFFORTS.|
|00:02:53||SPEAKER, THE DEFEAT OF THE LTTE OFFERS A CHANCE FOR SRI LANKA TO HAVE A NEW BEGINNING AND END OF TERRORISM.|
|00:03:00||TO SEIZE THIS OPPORTUNITY, BOTTLED ACTIONS ARE NEED TODD SHARE POWER AND ASSURE ALL SRI LANKA'S COMMUNITIES OF A FUTURE OF HOPE, RESPECT AND DIGNITY.|
|00:03:09||AS A FORMER U.|
|00:03:11||S. AMBASSADOR SRI LANKA HAS NOTED THAT, SUCH ACTIONS, VIA LAMPINGA CAN EMERGE THAT IS ROOTED IN DEMOCRACY AND TOLERANCE WHERE HUMAN RIGHTS ARE RESPECTED AND MEDIA CAN OPERATE FREELY AND INDEPENDENTLY AND ALL THE PEOPLE OF VIA LAMPINGA CAN PARTICIPATE IN DIALOGUE ON THE WAY FORWARD FOR THEIR COUNTRY.|
|00:03:35||I HOPE A RECONCILIATION AND HEALING PROCESS WILL ENSURE A LASTING AND END OF TERRORISM IN VIA LAMPINGA AND OPEN THE WAY FOR A BRIGHTER FUTURE FOR THESE PEOPLE.|
|00:03:46||THE UNITED STATES LOOKS FORWARD TO WORKING WITH SRI LANKA.|
|00:03:50||I SUPPORT THE ADOPTION OF THIS RESOLUTION AND I RESERVE THE BALANCE OF MY TIME.|
|00:03:56||THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: THE GENTLEMAN RESERVES THE BALANCE OF HIS TIME.|
|00:04:00||THE GENTLEMAN FROM CALIFORNIA.|
|00:04:01||MR. BERMAN: MR.|
|00:04:02||SPEAKER, I'M PLEASED TO YIELD FOUR MINUTES TO THE THE GENTLEMAN FROM ILLINOIS, THE SPONSOR OF THIS IMPORTANT RESOLUTION, MR.|
|00:04:08||THE SPEAKER PRO TEMPORE: THE GENTLEMAN FROM ILLINOIS, IS RECOGNIZED FOR FOUR MINUTES.|
|00:04:13||DAVIS: THANK YOU VERY MUCH, MR.|
|00:04:15||AND I ASK UNANIMOUS CONSENT TO REVISE AND|
Mr. POE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
I rise in support of House Resolution 711, as amended, a measure calling attention to the plight of internally displaced Tamil civilians in northern Sri Lanka.
Mr. Speaker, the United States and Sri Lanka share a long history of cordial relations, based in large part on common democratic traditions. The United States has been a friend to Sri Lanka, and there should be no doubt that we have stood with the people of Sri Lanka in the fight against terrorism.
As Members are aware, Sri Lanka waged a long and bitter conflict against the Liberation Tigers of the Tamil Eelam, called the LTTE, also known as the Tamil Tigers, a separatist group that has been designated by the United States as a foreign terrorist organization ever since 1997.
For nearly 30 years, the LTTE claimed to represent the aspirations of all Sri Lankan Tamils for a separate homeland and became notorious in the process for pioneering the suicide bomb jacket. They are responsible for at least a dozen high-level assassinations, including former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, as well as over 200 suicide attacks.
During that struggle, the United States was a steadfast supporter of Sri Lanka's efforts to stop the flow of arms and financing to the LTTE by providing law enforcement assistance and providing training and equipment to help the Sri Lankan military defend itself against the terrorist actions of the LTTE.
After fierce fighting in late May, the world witnessed the cessation of fighting in Sri Lanka and the apparent conclusion of its long-running insurgency. This brutal conflict cost tens of thousands of Sinhalese and Tamil lives, uprooted countless Sri Lankans from their homes, left thousands maimed or wounded, and badly divided this nation.
In this regard, the United States remains deeply concerned for the welfare of the hundreds of thousands of internally displaced persons uprooted by the current fighting.
Congress joins with the executive branch in recognizing the tremendous loss of life and hardships endured by the civilians in northern Sri Lanka. To help address their many urgent needs, the United States has provided some $56 million in humanitarian assistance in 2009.
Mr. Speaker, the Department of State has emphasized that while the Government of Sri Lanka has made some progress in easing camp congestion, registering internally displaced persons, called IDPs, and expanding access by humanitarian organizations, much more work remains to be done to meet its commitment to the return of the majority of displaced persons by the end of the year. This is particularly the case with monsoon season approaching.
We urge the government to allow robust humanitarian access to the displaced person camps and to work hand-in-hand with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the nongovernment organizations to ensure that civilian IDPs are accorded the rights and care meeting the highest international standards. The United States stands ready to help the government in these efforts.
Mr. Speaker, the defeat of the LTTE offers a chance for Sri Lanka to forge a new beginning and to ensure a lasting end of terrorism. To seize this opportunity, bold actions are needed to share power and assure all of Sri Lanka's communities a future of hope, respect, and dignity.
As a former U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka has noted, ``Through such actions, a truly united Sri Lanka can emerge--a Sri Lanka that is rooted in democracy and tolerance, where human rights are respected, where media can operate freely and independently, and where all Sri Lankans can participate freely in an open dialogue on the way forward for your country.'' Mr. Speaker, I hope a successful reconciliation and healing process will emerge to help ensure a lasting end to terrorism in Sri Lanka and open a way for a brighter future for these people. The United States looks forward to working with Sri Lanka in that important endeavor. I support the adoption of this resolution.
I reserve the balance of my time.