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‘Serious concerns remain’ in Sri Lanka says EU

The EU said that ‘several concerns remain’ regarding the human rights and good governance situation in Sri Lanka in their GSP+ assessment of the country.

The report highlights that there has been “insufficient progress on a number of issues, such as the continued use of torture and lack of accountability; the repeal of the PTA and its replacement with counter-terrorism legislation in line with international standard; the full demilitarisation of the former conflict areas; and the establishment of the truth about the fate of the missing and disappeared persons during the civil war and its aftermath.”

One issue of serious concern raised in the report is the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), “which is reported to facilitate detentions without charge, has not been repealed yet, despite Sri Lanka’s commitment to do so under GSP+ and UN Human Rights Council 30/1.”

 “The new government made it clear that the PTA will remain in place until an improved draft has a chance to be adopted by Parliament, probably after the April/May 2020 Parliamentary elections.”

Progress on reconciliation, transitional justice and accountability has also stalled in Sri Lanka. This is reflected by the appointment of Shavendra Silva as Army Commander in 2019, who is “facing credible allegations of involvement in crimes under international humanitarian law.”

Read more: US bans Sri Lanka’s army head from entry over war crimes

Other areas of concern expressed by the EU include allegations of “use of torture and lack of accountability for reported acts of torture.” The EU have urged the Sri Lankan government to “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 is essential in addressing reports of prevalent impunity in most cases of torture.”

Read the full report here.