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EU tells Sri Lanka to replace PTA before GSP+ decision

Members of the European Parliament have told Sri Lanka it must deliver on its human rights commitments, and that the Prevention of Terrorism Act should be replaced before a decision on granting the trade concession, GSP plus, can be made.

Writing to the Sri Lankan prime minister, the group of parliamentarians working on the GSP plus issue said the International Trade Committee have “continuously underlined the need for applicants and beneficiaries to honour commitments taken when applying for GSP Plus membership. These commitments must be translated into continuous action towards the effective implementation of the GSP Plus conventions so as to reassure that Sri Lanka is seriously addressing shortcomings.”

“It is with this aim in mind that we wish to express our concerns over the pace of reforms in Sri Lanka. As noted in the recent report by High Commissioner Zeid, while there is recognition of progress and of the Government's will to pursue reforms, efforts to address a number of important shortcomings have slowed down or have been stalling. We are concerned that, initiatives on introducing new counter-terrorism legislation and amending the Code of Criminal Procedure Act (CCPA) bringing them in line with international standards, launching a fully operational Office of Missing Persons, addressing torture and impunity, as well as decriminalising sexual orientation have unfortunately not yet come to fruition. Further action on sexual and gender-based violence should also be pursued.”

“While we understand the complexity of the issues involved and the need to enter into wide consultations on the more sensitive aspects, it is critical that Sri Lanka delivers on its commitments within clearly established timelines. More specifically, we expect the Government to table legislation to replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act and amend the CCPA, ensuring their full compliance with international standards, prior to the decision on GSP Plus foreseen for mid-May.”

Read the full letter here.

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