The European Union (EU) and Sri Lanka had discussed unmet expectations of justice in the 'emblematic cases' in the country among many other areas of concern during the 21st meeting of the EU-Sri Lanka Joint Commission held on Thursday.
In a statement, the EU Embassy in Sri Lanka said progress with regard to the enactment of the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance Act, the further release of land and the normalisation of civilian life in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka were also discussed during the meeting.
At the meeting, both sides had welcomed the formal restoration of the GSP Plus concession to Sri Lanka, providing duty free access for more than 80% of Sri Lankan exports to the European Union
Sri Lanka said that the restoration of GSP-plus had contributed to a near doubling of export growth.
The EU had re-emphasised its 'clear' and 'unwavering' expectation that urgent action would be taken by the Sri Lankan authorities to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and replace it with legislation that is in line with international standards.
“Plans to resolve as soon as possible the situation of the remaining detainees held under the PTA were also discussed. In addition, there was discussion of the need to amend the Code of Criminal Procedure to ensure fundamental legal safeguards,” the statement said.
The parties agreed on a series of follow-up actions ahead of the next Joint Commission meeting in Brussels later in the year.
The meeting was co-chaired by Paola Pampaloni, Deputy Managing Director for Asia and Pacific of the European External Action Service and Foreign Affairs Ministry Secretary Prasad Kariyawasam. (Lahiru Pothmulla)