US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal says the US stood “very firmly” on the need for respect for human rights and the need for a process of accountability and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.Speaking during the session hosted by The Program on Peace-building and Human Rights at Columbia University’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights and the Association of War Affected Women, Biswal said Sri Lanka is making progress but a lot more still needs to be done, the Press Trust of India reported. She cited the progress made in establishing the office of missing persons and the current government has welcomed and encouraged the visit of UN special Rapporteurs to help provide technical support, expertise and best practices that can help shape the government’s views on reconciliation and accountability. She said the Sri Lankan Government that came into power in January 2015 has taken “some very encouraging steps” with respect to the efforts to return land to its rightful owners and effort to “give closure” to so many families whose loved ones are still unaccounted for and to “seek justice and accountability for the perpetrators of worst times of the conflict.”She said the reconciliation process is at its beginning and the “hardest work” is still ahead but the country is not alone in this journey and the US stands ready to support Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette) “While we are thankful that the days of the conflict our behind us, the effort to move forward on reconciliation is really truly only just beginning,” she said. read more

This first group of Board members, who will provide strategic advice to the initiative and its stakeholders, includes representatives of ten businesses, four business associations and labour groups, and four civil society organizations, with consideration of proven commitment to the Compact’s principals and support of a regional or constituency group. The business leaders tapped range from Suzanne Nora Johnson, Vice-Chairman of Goldman Sachs of the United States, to B. Muthuraman, Managing Director of India’s Tata Steel, and Mads Oevlisen, the Chairman of Lego, a Danish company. Other Board Members hail from businesses based in Brazil, Chile, China, France, South Africa and Japan. The International Federation of Chemical, Energy, Mine and General Workers is represented, along with the International Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations as well as an environmental group from the United Arab Emirates and business ethics organizations from Brazil, Canada and Ireland. According to the Global Compact Office, participants in the initiative now comprise more than 2,500 companies in over 90 countries, with 50 regional networks promoting its principles of globalization of benefit to all. read more