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EU leads in falling for empty talk on human rights

Exclusive reliance on quiet dialogue and cooperation [with abusive states] becomes a charade designed more to appease critics of complacency than to secure change. … A key offender has been the European Union.

“Defending human rights is rarely convenient. But if [Western] governments want to pursue other interests instead, they should have the courage to admit it, instead of hiding behind meaningless dialogues and fruitless quests for cooperation.”

- Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. See his op-ed in the New York Times here.

See veteran Tamil journalist J. S. Tissainayagam's views on 'quiet diplomacy' and Sri Lanka here.

I don't believe [quiet diplomacy works]. I believe that the more shaming that is done, the more pressure that is put is put publicly, the more the [Sri Lankan] government is willing to act.”

Releasing its 21st annual review of human rights around the world, Human Rights Watch said Monday that instead of standing up firmly against abusive leaders, many governments adopt policies that do not generate pressure for change.

HRW singled out the European Union, saying:

A range of countries from the global North and South are regular offenders, but the EU in particular seems eager to adopt the ideology of dialogue and cooperation.

Even when the EU issues a statement of concern on human rights, it is often not backed by a comprehensive strategy for change.”

HRW also condemned the United Nations and its "deferential attitude toward Sri Lankan wartime atrocities", as well as leading democracies of the global South, such as South Africa, India, and Brazil, for their tepid responses to repression.