Sri Lanka finds a champion on Capitol Hill amid human rights accusations

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"I was just wondering about the unevenness of our policy," he told The Hill after the hearing. He blamed the Tamil diaspora's strong presence in the United States.

Faleomavaega denounced the resolution and said the United States was applying a double standard while ignoring human rights violations elsewhere. He made similar comments during last week's trip.

“Why is the United States taking the lead in bullying a small country like Sri Lanka; when Sri Lanka has gone through a terrible conflict?”  Faleomavaega said in comments posted on the Sri Lankan embassy's web site. “Should we be looking at other countries when our own situation is yet to be cleared, for example even with Vietnam.”

Panel chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) said there was another side to the story.

Attempts at reconciliation “have been disappointing in many respects,” he said. “Sri Lankan leaders for example are talking about repealing the 13th Amendment, which guarantees certain basic rights to provincial councils.”

Robert Blake, the assistant secretary of State for South and Central Asia, confirmed that the Obama administration was pursuing a resolution at the UN council.

“I must say, progress thus far on implementing the … action plan [for reconciliation and accountability]  has been slow.”

The unexpected focus of the hearing caught other members off guard.

“I want to get away from Sri Lanka is I could,” said Rep. Scott Perry (R-Penn.) before switching to a much broader question about the impact of pending sequestration cuts on U.S. diplomatic effects in the region.