Humphrey blog posts

Destiny of the pearl: How Sri Lanka's Colombo consensus trumped Beijing and Washington in the Indian Ocean

Humphrey School alum, Patrick Mendis, discusses the relationship between Washington and South Asia.

Bowing to continued pressure from the United States, the European Union and the UN, the government of Sri Lanka had established the LLRC but with members appointed by President Rajapaksa himself. As the American media publicized Sri Lankan human rights violations alongside graphic images from Afghanistan and Iraq, the Obama administration took a softer view on Sri Lanka. Commenting on Sri Lanka's civilian casualties and the humanitarian crises of May 2009, President Obama said: "I want to emphasize that these photos [of Sri Lanka] that were requested in this case are not particularly sensational, especially when compared to the painful images that we remember from Abu Ghraib, but they do represent conduct that did not conform with the Army Manual. That's precisely why they were investigated."

Yale Journal of International Affairs
September 1, 2012

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Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs