Key Outcomes at the UN Human Rights Council 22nd Session

Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council, spoke at the Human Rights Council March 21 to introduce the resolution on Sri Lanka sponsored by the United States and 40 other countries, Geneva, Switzerland, March 21, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe serves as the U.S. Representative to the Human Rights Council.

The Human Rights Council 22nd Session, which ended on March 22, was one of the most significant in the Council’s short history. The packed agenda and vast portfolio of country situations and human rights issues addressed over the past four weeks are clear evidence of the Council’s ability to serve as the lead entity in the UN for promoting and protecting human rights.

In addition to the Council’s official agenda, nearly 150 different parallel events sponsored by civil society and governments took place, a clear signal that human rights defenders consider the Council a crucial venue for their work. When Shin Dong Hyuk, a young man who escaped from the brutal North Korean labor camp in which he had been born and grew up, gave compelling testimony at an event organized by a leading NGO, it was clear that the Council can and does bring the reality of human rights issues… more »

Ongoing Concerns on Rule of Law in Sri Lanka

Press Statement
Mark C. Toner
Deputy Spokesperson
Office of the Spokesperson
Washington, DC
December 7, 2012


The United States remains deeply concerned about actions surrounding the ongoing impeachment trial of Sri Lankan Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake. As Embassy Colombo’s statement noted earlier today, we urge the Government of Sri Lanka to guarantee due process, and to ensure that all investigations are conducted transparently and in accordance with the rule of law.

These latest developments are part of a disturbing deterioration of democratic norms in Sri Lanka, including infringement on the independence of the judiciary. The United States, along with our partners in the international community, continues to urge Sri Lanka to uphold the rule of law and democratic governance and to continue to address outstanding accountability and reconciliation issues.

Investing in Security: Program Develops New Generation of Humanitarian Demining Leaders

Major General Walter D. Givhan recognizes participants at the 2012 Senior Managers Course in Explosive Remnants of War and Mine Action at the James Madison University, June 2012. This year, the 17 participants represented 13 different countries, including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Uganda, and Vietnam. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Major General Walter D. “Waldo” Givhan, United States Air Force, currently serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Plans, Programs and Operations in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs.

I recently had the privilege of visiting James Madison University to attend the closing ceremony for the 2012 Senior Managers’ Course in Explosive Remnants of War and Mine Action, where I met a select group of individuals serving on the front lines of humanitarian crises and post-conflict environments around the world.

This year, the 17 participants represented 13 different countries, including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Iraq, Laos, Lebanon, Libya, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Uganda, and Vietnam. These “Senior Managers” are each leaders in their respective national mine action and ERW programs. This diversity the students bring in terms of background and experience is one of the main reasons… more »

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivers remarks with Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Gamini Lakshman Peiris at the Department of State in Washington, D.C. on May 18, 2012. [Go to http://video.state.gov for more video and text transcript.]

Statement by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on the UN Human Rights Council Vote on Sri Lanka Reconciliation

Today’s action by the UN Human Rights Council encourages the Government of Sri Lanka to continue on the path toward reconciliation following 27 years of civil war. The United States, together with the international community, sent a strong signal that Sri Lanka will only achieve lasting peace through real reconciliation and accountability, and the international community stands ready to help. The next steps are clear. We look to the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the constructive recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and take the necessary measures to address accountability.

We are committed to working with the Sri Lankan Government to help realize this goal, and I look forward to discussing future actions with Foreign Minister Peiris soon. We will continue the productive working relationship we have with the Sri Lankan Government based on shared values, respect and constructive dialogue. Most important, we seek to strengthen our partnership with all the people of Sri Lanka.

U.S. Department of State Daily Press Briefing by Spokesperson Victoria Nuland, August 25, 2011.