US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie J. Chung emphasised the need of continuous efforts for justice and accountability in the pursuit of peace and unity during her visit to Jaffna.
Ambassador Chung discussed human rights and governance issues with Tamil politicians at a meeting. Ambassador Chung also met representatives of diverse religious communities and visited sites of worship to underscore the importance of religious pluralism in Sri Lanka.
During her visit to Jaffna from 24 – 27 April, Ambassador Chung had courtesy calls with the Northern Province Governor and the Commander of Security Forces Headquarters Jaffna to discuss the political and security situation in the North during the current economic crisis. She engaged with civil society and met families of missing and disappeared persons.
“It was essential to me to visit the North early in my tenure,” Chung said. “During the visit, I explored the history of the region and heard from people first-hand about their challenges and opportunities. I gained a much better understanding of the impact of the war and the human rights concerns, as well as the current economic situation in the North.”
Ambassador Chung also spoke with representatives of Jaffna’s business community to learn about their current challenges and efforts towards economic recovery. She further noted the potential for the diaspora’s investment to develop local business.
The Ambassador also visited a US-funded demining project that makes land viable for local communities. She met the University of Jaffna faculty members to discuss their new peace building degree programme and the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation grants for the Archaeological Museum Laboratory. Ambassador Chung also visited a US-funded palm leaves manuscript conservation project at the Jaffna Library. Before she returned to Colombo, Ambassador Chung met with local youth leaders at the American Corner in Jaffna to learn about their perspectives on a path forward towards an inclusive and prosperous future for all Sri Lankans.
By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan