Mahinda Samarasinghe, Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States on Monday (29 January), met members and senior officials of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). In October 2023, Commissioners Stephen Schneck and David Curry made a visit to Sri Lanka to assess the country situation. As a follow-up to the visit, the Ambassador held a discussion on contemporary developments in Sri Lanka relating to the freedom of religion.
Ambassador Samarasinghe explained that he has been regularly engaging with interlocutors in the executive branch and legislative branch of the U.S. Government including the White House, Department of State and other U.S. Government entities as well as with the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. The engagement focuses on economic revival and key issues such as governance, democracy, the rule of law, reconciliation and human rights including the freedom of religion or belief.
The Ambassador discussed in detail matters pertaining to issues identified by the Commission and provided updates on recent measures taken by the Sri Lankan government to foster reconciliation through recognition of the multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multilingual and multicultural fabric of society. He agreed to continue engaging with the Commission on relevant issues and concerns.
The USCIRF is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze, and report on religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. The Washington D.C. based USCIRF's nine Commissioners are appointed by either the President or Congressional leaders of each political party, supported by a non-partisan professional staff.
Embassy of Sri Lanka to the United States
30 January, 2024