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Nobel Laureate Knocked by Human Rights Groups

6:08 PM, Oct 9, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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Eli Lake reports:

Human rights groups are beginning to question President Obama's commitment to their issue as the administration engages authoritarian regimes, retains the option of sending terrorist suspects abroad to places where they might be tortured and puts off a presidential meeting with [fellow Nobel laureate and actual deity incarnate --.ed] the Dalai Lama....

Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director for Human Rights Watch, said he favors the engagement policy but also has concerns. "The president's larger emphasis on engagement - that you should be talking to even those regimes that you hate the most - tends to empower those in the diplomatic corps whose core approach is making nice and handing out gold stars," he said....

Whoever could Mr. Malinowski be talking about? Among the president's other critics quoted in the piece are the president of the Save Darfur Coaltion, the executive director of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (which the administration just defunded), the executive director of Freedom House, and the head of the ACLU. But this president rejects the false choice between appeasing human rights abusers and supporting human rights. A senior administration official dismisses any "notion that there is some kind of trade-off between acting in a coldly interest-based way versus working in an idealistic [way]." And let's be clear: Barack Obama won a Nobel Peace Prize. We may not know precisely what he's done to deserve it, but as one man on the street tells the Associated Press, obviously there was some "behind the scenes" work that the Nobel committee was aware of...