De­cline in US Aid

Southasia - - Briefing -

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.

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