Sri Lanka briefs EU on steps taken to revise anti-terrorism law and progress towards reconciliation

Colombo, Jul 2 (PTI) Sri Lanka briefed the EU on the progress of the reconciliation process and ongoing efforts to revise a controversial anti-terrorism law that gives police extensive powers to arrest suspects without trial.

The move came after the 27-member bloc threatened to withdraw trade concessions for Sri Lanka’s exports, fearing it would violate human rights.

The government of Sri Lanka has briefed the European Union (EU) on progress made in specific areas of reconciliation, as part of its regular engagement and dialogue with the organization, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. .

In a resolution adopted on June 10, the European Parliament called for the repeal of Sri Lanka’s Terrorism Prevention Act (PTA) and to consider temporarily withdrawing its access to GSP +.

The EU’s SPG + trade concession allows Sri Lankan exports to Europe tax-free. This has been a big boost for Sri Lanka’s clothing and fishing industries.

The facility was restored in 2017 after being suspended in 2010 due to the then government’s failure to respect human and labor rights.

The resolution noted that Sri Lanka’s GSP + categorization was conditional on the implementation of the rules of international human rights treaties, in the aftermath of the 30-year civil war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. (LTTE) in the island nation. .

In response, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed the EU on June 25 of ongoing steps to review the provisions of the Commercial Fisheries Agreement with the study of existing legislation, past practices and best practices. international, according to the report.

The EU has been informed of the Cabinet decision on June 21 to appoint a Cabinet sub-committee and a committee of officials to assist the Cabinet sub-committee, review the trade partnership agreement and report to the Cabinet. Cabinet within three months, the statement said.

The EU was also informed of the pardon granted by the President to 16 former LTTE cadres convicted and serving sentences under the PTA.

To mark a Buddhist holiday on June 24, the government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa pardoned 94 prisoners, including 16 people convicted under the PTA. The law allows authorities to arbitrarily detain individuals for up to 18 months without charge or trial.

The organization was also informed of the process that has been put in place to release detainees who have been placed in judicial detention for an extended period, under the PTA.

Regarding the progress of the ongoing reconciliation mechanisms, the government informed the EU of the release of Rs 79 million to the Reparations Office in June to settle 1,230 processed reparations claims.

The main Tamil party, TNA, has lobbied with rights groups to demand the release of Tamil political prisoners, who have been held without charge for more than 10 to 20 years.

TNA sources said nearly 100 Tamil political prisoners are being held without charge.

The LTTE waged a military campaign for a separate Tamil homeland in the island nation’s northern and eastern provinces for nearly 30 years before it collapsed in 2009 after the Sri Lankan military killed its supreme leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.

The Sri Lankan government has rejected the allegation that the PTA has been systematically used for arbitrary arrests and detention of members of the Tamil and Muslim minorities. PTI NSA NSA

Warning :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI

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