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US: Cooperation hampered by human rights record

Below is an extract from the testimony of Robert O. Blake, Jr., Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia. The full text of his prepared speech can be found here.

Sri Lanka stands poised to be a capable and willing partner to effectively combat violent extremism, trafficking and piracy, and thereby help to ensure the maritime security of the region.

But the Government’s worrisome record on human rights, weakening of democratic institutions and practices, and the way in which it conducted the final months of its conflict against the Tamil Tigers hamper our ability to fully engage.

The Administration believes – and Congressional Appropriations language specifies – that our security cooperation, in many forms, should remain limited until progress has been made on fundamental human rights, democracy and governance issues, and the concrete steps necessary for a true and lasting national reconciliation.