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'Global champion of human rights'? Controversy over Power comment

Remarks made by US Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Samantha Power, calling Sri Lanka a "global champion for human rights" have come under fire.

Writing in The Diplomat, commentator Taylor Dibbert said the Obama administration's rhetoric "continues to be wildly out of step with reality".

"Sri Lanka watchers will notice that instead of the United States clearly calling for accountability for wartime abuses (a hugely controversial issue in post-war Sri Lanka), the language seems to have shifted to 'accountable democracy.' This is something to watch going forward. Is Washington still genuinely pushing for wartime accountability?" he wrote.

Highlighting the recent increase in abductions, Mr Dibbert further said,

"Global champion of human rights and accountability? That’s quite an assertion.

"Sri Lanka’s new government has ruled in a less authoritarian fashion than the administration of Mahinda Rajapaksa, though it’s unclear how or when Colombo became a “global champion” of human rights and accountability. The truth is that we’re still waiting for the government to move toward deeper reform. Besides, the recent spate of arrests and abductions across the Tamil-dominated Northern and Eastern Provinces should set alarm bells ringing in Washington. That’s the type of anti-Tamil behavior that became increasingly common during Rajapaksa’s divisive decade in power,"

Human rights activists and advocates also took to Twitter to express their displeasure at Ambassador Power's comments. See below for tweets:


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