GSP Plus EU notes Sri Lanka’s rollback on commitment

22 June 2020 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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  • A GSP+ monitoring mission which visited Sri Lanka in September 2019 focused on issues including the PTA and the implementation of the UNHRC resolution

By Easwaran Rutnam   

The European Union (EU) has noted Sri Lanka’s rollback on its decision to withdraw the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), one of key commitments made by Sri Lanka to regain the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP+) of the EU.   

This was noted in the 2019 Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy in the World, published last week just as a group of EU envoys in Colombo met President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for talks. 

 
The report marks the final phase of implementation of the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2015-2019), while the new action plan for 2020-24 is about to be adopted.   


The report notes that a significant policy decision of the new President and his interim government is the decision to retain the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and withdraw the counter-terror legislation proposed to replace it.   
The EU noted that repealing the PTA was a commitment made by Sri Lanka to the EU in the lead up to its readmission to the GSP+ as well as to the UN Human Rights Council.   


A GSP+ monitoring mission which visited Sri Lanka in September 2019 focused on issues including the PTA and the implementation of the UNHRC resolution, as did the fourth meeting of the Working Group on Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights in August 2019.   


The EU delegation jointly with Member States conducted a number of meetings with government representatives, which centred on human rights and political issues including the death penalty and minority issues. The political dialogues were sometimes followed by the issuing of joint public statements.   


The report also noted that there was limited progress in implementing the 2015 UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution 30/1 on Promoting reconciliation, accountability, and human rights, co-sponsored by the previous administration. 


The resolution was extended through Human Rights Council resolution 34/1 in March 2017 and resolution 40/1 in March 2019.   

 

  • The report also noted that there was limited progress in implementing the 2015 UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) resolution 30/1
  • The EU delegation jointly with Member States conducted a number of meetings with government representatives

 

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