Sri Lanka told by US to practice what it preaches

May 25, 2008 (LBO) – The United States has said Sri Lanka’s government must do more to stop abductions and “disappearances” and that having laws alone is not enough without ensuring actual protection of human rights. “Sri Lanka has the necessary institutional framework in place, but it needs to empower its institutions to carry out their work effectively,” said Erica Barks-Ruggles, US Deputy Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

“Human rights protection needs to be applied in fact, not just in law.”

Barks-Ruggles visited Colombo during May 22-24 as part of the US government’s regular, ongoing consultations with the Sri Lankan government, a US embassy statement said.

During her visit, she met with several senior government officials, including Attorney General C R De Silva, Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona, Justice Secretary Suhada Gamalath and Secretary of Disaster Management and Human Rights P D Amarasinghe.

She also met with political and civil society leaders.

The embassy statement said Barks-Ruggles commended recent government efforts to address some concerns of the US and others on human rights.

In particular, Barks-Ruggles welcomed recent releases of fo