Decline in US Aid
U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry has proposed a 20 per cent cut in American aid to Sri Lanka, a move reflecting discomfort in their ties over human rights issues and over Sri Lanka’s reconstruction and political integration. It is believed to be the highest cut in U.S. aid for any South Asian country in Kerry’s budgetary proposals. The $11 million in aid to Sri Lanka reflects the U.S. challenges in allocating its monetary support to the country.
Actual U.S. development assistance to Sri Lanka in 2012 was $8 million; Kerry had proposed nearly $6 million for 2014. According to the officials at the U.S. State Department, the U.S. did render its support in Sri Lanka’s conflict zones in the north, to help the internally displaced people and to support reconstruction efforts. It seems that the involvement of Sri Lanka’s military in U.S.-led programs led to the decline in aid cut. The U.S. also took the decision as Sri Lanka has resources of its own.
Sri Lanka is not the only country that is experiencing a decline in U.S. aid as Kerry proposed a similar amount of development assistance to Bangladesh whereby the aid fell from $81.6 in 2012 to $80.9 million for 2014. It is expected that majority of U.S. funds will run key projects such as reforming Sri Lanka’s judiciary and assisting the Maldives in counterterrorism efforts.
The U.S. has also expressed its discontent in Sri Lanka’s lack of progress toward reconciliation and accountability following the civil war which came to an end in 2009. Moreover, the U.S. is compelling the Sri Lankan government to conduct a reliable independent investigation into the allegations of human rights violations during the war.