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Human rights groups are challenging Ben Bradshaw, the gay British secretary of state for culture, media, and sport, for his decision to take a Christmas holiday in Sri Lanka, which the British government has condemned for its human rights record.
"Despite this, Mr Bradshaw, wearing a straw hat, checked shirt and jeans, arrived at Colombo airport on Friday morning for a Christmas break in the country," reports The Independent.
The Sri Lankan government recently won its brutal, on-again, off-again civil war of 25 years with Tamil separatists, but the victory involved a crackdown that left hundreds of thousands of people displaced across the country.
According to The Independent, "Human rights campaigners questioned why Mr Bradshaw, whose ministerial responsibilities include tourism, was supporting Sri Lanka's travel industry by holidaying there. Human Rights Watch called on him to make a public statement disapproving of President Mahinda Rajapaksa's clampdown on Tamils. A spokesman for the organization said that, while the cabinet minister is free to travel around Sri Lanka, tens of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) still face restrictions on their movement -- despite some relaxation in the rules this month."