Submitted by Anonymous on Sun, 02/03/2013 - 22:58
By Gibson Bateman, 03 February 2013 - So it looks like the US will bring another resolution on Sri Lanka at the next session of the UN’s Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva this March. Quite frankly – I am shocked. US foreign policy as it relates to Sri Lanka has been confusing and is replete with complications and contradictions. One can’t help but wonder: Where is all of this heading? Is this a road to nowhere? I’m really tired of reading about how the United States government is concerned about developments in Sri Lanka. If Washington really is concerned, Obama should prove it by making diplomatic isolation a reality for the regime in Colombo. To put it more bluntly, when it comes to human rights in Sri Lanka, Washington should “go big or go home.” Things are bad here and getting worse. Sri Lankans who are not happy with recent governance trends have a right to know who their friends really are.
Submitted by Anonymous on Sat, 12/29/2012 - 02:11
By Gibson Bateman, International Policy Digest, December 28, 2012 - At this point it’s hard to know if Obama would want to set Sri Lankan policy himself or whether he’d be willing to hand that off to Kerry and his staffers. Sri Lanka will never be America’s foremost concern in South Asia, but that doesn’t mean diplomatic relations with Washington are not important. They are important; it’s just not clear how important President Obama perceives that relationship to be.
Submitted by Anonymous on Sun, 12/16/2012 - 00:48
By Gibson Bateman, FPIF, December 14, 2012 - Like other rising powers, it seems clear that India would like to play a larger role on the global stage. If that is indeed the case, there is no better place to start than in neighboring Sri Lanka. In the past, Indian foreign policy vis-à-vis Sri Lanka has been rife with mistakes. Nonetheless, a couple things are clear: First, if India makes a more determined effort to push for meaningful change in Sri Lanka over the next several months, it would reassure Colombo that its poor human rights record and refusal to devolve power and genuinely address the calls for a political solution will not be tolerated. Second (and perhaps more importantly), pressure from India also has the potential to convince other members of the international community, including those in the Global South, that when it comes to human rights and national reconciliation, the current situation in Sri Lanka is simply unacceptable.
Submitted by Anonymous on Mon, 10/01/2012 - 00:09
By Gibson Bateman, New York, September 28th, 2012 - East Asia Forum - The US Department of Defense would love to strengthen ties (which are already quite good) with the Sri Lankan military because the island nation is one piece of a bigger geostrategic puzzle that will become more important in the coming years. Accordingly, people should prepare themselves for the possibility that the US will, in the medium-term, ease diplomatic pressure on the Sri Lankan regime for its human rights record and its apathy toward national reconciliation.
Submitted by Anonymous on Fri, 06/29/2012 - 02:20
By Gibson Bateman, International Policy Digest, June 28, 2012 - Were the Rajapaksa administration to dismiss the HRC resolution, it is difficult to predict what the backlash would be. At this point, it is hard to imagine that there would be much of an appetite for another, tougher resolution against Sri Lanka. And it is hard to imagine that the US would lead the way again; getting the watered-down resolution passed at the 19th session was difficult enough. It is even harder to imagine that the US would push for greater action at the HRC (on any issue) if Mitt Romney were to be elected president in November.
Submitted by Anonymous on Sun, 04/01/2012 - 03:50
By Gibson Bateman, International Policy Digest, March 31, 2012 - If the government is right about the HRC, President Rajapaksa will have played his hand brilliantly and would further consolidate his power. Yet, if he is wrong, Sri Lanka will again be embarrassed at a United Nations multilateral forum and may face consequences (like another (tougher) resolution or perhaps economic sanctions) at that time. And, most distressingly for the Rajapaksa administration, that dreaded “A” word, accountability, will be the elephant in the room. The continued deterioration of the rule of law, the lack of respect for minority rights and, most importantly, the government’s refusal to act upon the recommendations outlined in its own presidentially-appointed commission are what (hopefully) give the words “independent investigation” meaning nearly three years after the end of the civil war.
Submitted by Anonymous on Tue, 03/20/2012 - 03:07
by Gibson Bateman, Foreign Policy Journal, March 19, 2012 - As an absolute minimum, Sri Lanka must be on the formal agenda for the 20th session of the Human Rights Council this June. If that does not happen, the US will emerge as the “biggest” loser. Right now, the Council’s 19th session looks like another example of the US government ineffectively using “human rights” as a foreign policy tool. Given all of the diplomatic resources it dumped into this initiative, the US looks rather weak right now. In order for that to change, a lot needs to happen between now and March 21st.
Submitted by Anonymous on Wed, 02/29/2012 - 01:15
By Gibson Bateman, Foreign Policy Journal, February 28, 2012 - U.S. Representative Jack Kingston (R-GA) recently submitted a bipartisan letter to President Barack Obama. Cosigned by eleven other members of Congress, it effusively praises the Sri Lankan government for all of its accomplishments since end of the country’s twenty-six-year civil war. The short note is heavy on rhetoric and light on reality. ... It is irresponsible, unwise and pathetic for US Congressmen to support a rising autocrat like Mr. Rajapaksa.
Submitted by Anonymous on Wed, 01/18/2012 - 02:33
By Gibson Bateman, JOFR, January 16, 2012 - Giving Rajapaksa’s government a free pass on human rights empowers aspiring autocrats everywhere. It sends a clear signal to semi-authoritarian governments: Go ahead, do whatever you want; you will face no consequences for your actions.
Submitted by Anonymous on Mon, 12/19/2011 - 01:27
By Gibson Bateman, Journal of Foreign Relations, December 17, 2011 - It is hard to imagine that a reasonable person (who has been following events in Sri Lanka closely) could buy “the story” that is the LLRC. But if other countries are placated by this biased, inaccurate and disappointing report loaded with lacunae, it will be incumbent upon Sri Lankan citizens and civil society leaders to demand more transparency and better governance from their politicians. The publication of the LLRC report is one more sign that Rajapaksa’s regime thinks it can do whatever it wants and face no consequences for its actions. Unfortunately, the regime is probably right.