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Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
October 30, 2007


Under Secretaries Burns and Dobriansky Meet With Human Rights Defenders

Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs R. Nicholas Burns and Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs Paula Dobriansky each met yesterday with Hollman Morris of Colombia and Sunila Abeysekera of Sri Lanka, to congratulate them personally on receiving the prestigious Human Rights Defender Award given annually by the nongovernmental organization Human Rights Watch. They expressed great admiration for the courageous work of Morris, an investigative journalist, and Abeysekera, a long-time human rights activist, both of whom repeatedly risked their lives to expose human rights violations by all sides of civil conflict in their respective countries.

In their meetings, Under Secretary Burns and Under Secretary Dobriansky expressed great concern about the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, observing that the Sri Lankan Government needed to work far more intensively to end such grave human rights violations as extrajudicial killings, forced disappearances, and torture, as well as on-going media censorship by government security forces.

The Under Secretaries welcomed the steps taken by the Colombian Government to address that country’s human rights concerns, and the significant progress made in recent years. They noted that the United States continued to monitor closely the human rights situation in Colombia, while working with the Colombian government to strengthen mechanisms for protecting human rights and restoring security there.

2007/946


Released on October 30, 2007

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