Proposed SOFA deal with US draws fire from Sri Lanka’s JVP

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s leftist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna says a proposed Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) agreement contains clauses which undermines domestic rule of law and tax and there was no reciprocity.

Bimal Ratnayake, from the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna told parliament the US had requested that US military personnel be subject to US law when they were in Sri Lanka.

"There is also a request to exempt US military personnel from taxes in Sri Lanka," Ratnayake said.

"Sri Lanka’s customs cannot inspect them or their baggage. When Sri Lanka’s President goes to the US, is he exempt from US customs?" he said.

US military personnel were also allowed to export goods bought from Sri Lanka without questions being asked, he said.

Giving an excuse that other countries had also signed similar agreements was not an answer, he said.

Ratnayake said it was not correct for the US to ask for its military personnel to be under US law in Sri Lanka while asking Sri Lanka to be subject to international law. 

He said once an agreement has been signed it will be impossible to change laws.  (Colombo/Mar26/2019-SB)

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