EU GSP Plus assessment report finds Sri Lanka made progress

A report on Sri Lanka’s compliance with the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP plus) covering the period 2018-2019 has found that Sri Lanka has continued to make progress on human rights during that period.

The EU, however, says it is of particular importance to consolidate and preserve these achievements, notably in the new political context.

The EU said that it will continue to monitor the evolution of the situation.

In its conclusions, the report says after 2015, Sri Lanka has restored the independence of key oversight institutions. There has been a significant opening of democratic and civil society space. A process of constitutional reform, including a Bill of Rights began but stalled. Action is underway towards transitional justice and remedy for families of victims for enforced disappearances. A national human rights action plan has been prepared; women will have a larger stake in local governments; a National Plan of Action for Children has been adopted and reform of the juvenile justice system is being prepared.

The report also notes that the Government has engaged with the UN system. With the co sponsorship of UNHRC Resolution 30/1, Sri Lanka made far-reaching commitments on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights. Nevertheless, according to UN reports, relevant reforms have stalled or slowed down considerably.

Measures taken so far to fulfil Sri Lanka’s transitional justice commitments have brought insufficient progress, including on bringing 16 perpetrators of war crimes to justice and resolving longstanding emblematic cases.

The EU says it will be important that the new presidential administration remains fully committed to the full implementation of UNHRC Resolution 30/1 on promoting reconciliation, accountability, and human rights in Sri Lanka.

The Government still has to deliver on a number of important reforms that are of direct relevance for the effective implementation of the human rights conventions listed in the GSP+ Regulation.

The Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) remains in place. Legislation to replace the PTA that aims to be in line with international human rights law, including ICCPR and CAT, has been discussed at Parliament, but stands little chance to go forward.

The EU says the Government should ensure that torture allegedly committed by the police and security forces comes to an end, that perpetrators are brought to justice, and should implement its policy of zero-tolerance to the use of torture.

This, the EU says, is essential in addressing reports of prevalent impunity in most cases of torture.

The EU also said that the operationalisation of the Office on Missing Persons (OMP) is welcome and should deliver truth and accountability to the families of those that disappeared during and at the end of the armed conflict.

The OMP needs to be equipped with the necessary resources and capabilities to fully carry out its functions and mandate.

Transposing the Convention on Enforced Disappearances into national law will contribute to this process. Whilst significant progress has been made in the return of land in the former conflict areas, the Government should finalise this process. In 2019, the legislative base for the Reparations Commission has been enacted and Commissioners appointed.

The EU report also notes the Government should, in line with recommendations from the UN Treaty Bodies, actively take forward the Children (Judicial Protection) Bill, provisions on the minimum age of marriage, the amendments to the Land Development Ordinance, and other laws that discriminate against women. It also says the Government should take steps to amend laws that discriminate against Sri Lankans from the LGBTQI community. (Colombo Gazette)

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2 COMMENTS

  1. The Truth reveals reality. Reality leads a person to do justice. When a person is led by his feelings he is led astray into falsehood, untruth and disaster in his life. The choice to decide to accept the Truth or reject it is purely in the hands of the person, society or mankind at large.

    During December 2018, Dr Li Wen Liang who was working in a hospital in China said “There is a mysterious Pneumonia like virus in my patient”. Instead of delving further into the Truth, the Chinese government arrested him with a charge of “Spreading Rumour”, He made it clear and said “I don’t want to be a hero, hopefully after disaster you will learn to be righteous”. He died on 7 February 2020. of Corona Virus infection.

    China has destroyed many Churches last year and the Christians are persecuted for standing for the Truth. Dr Liang had passion and love for people. His wisdom, his sacrifice and self- denial exhibit his closeness to Christ as His follower. His saying of a disaster was a God given Prophesy, which we start to witness now.

    As citizens of SL we have a responsibility in life to seek the Truth and choose to do justice. The Truthful history of our island is an irrevocable truth and the history of the rule of the North and East of the island is as shown below;
    1. King Sangili, a Tamil King ruled Jaffna till the year 1505
    2. Portuguese rule was from 1505 – 1658
    3. Dutch rule was from 1658 – 1796
    4. British rule was from 1796 – 1948

    British troops under the command of James Steward landed in Point Pedro and captured Jaffna Fort. Later in 1796, British troops captured the coastal areas, including the East of the island from the occupying Dutch rulers. The last kingdom to fall to Britain was Kandy in 1815.

    Obviously, the island had the other areas captured by Britain. For a period of 19 years from 1796 to 1815 Britain ruled the North and East of the island, the traditional homeland of indigenous Tamils during the 19 years.

    After 1815, for administrative convenience, Britain united the traditional homeland of Tamils of the North and East of the island to the captured Kandyan Kingdom as a ”Union”.

    1. Therefore, in 1948, Britain should have, but failed to handover, to the indigenous Tamils their captured territory. It made a “Union” of captured Tamil indigenous Tamil state and handed over to the Sinhalese to rule the entire island.

    2. Unless we as people of SL accept this Truth and implement the reality, this island is likely to face disaster on top of the disasters already faced. We need to seek the help of Britain and the UNHRC to solve this problem soon, amicably..

  2. The security services should be restricted to using feather dusters. Tickling terrorists to extract information should work.

    And, some European Union clown would complain that was too harsh .

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