Sri Lanka, EU to monitor compliance on human rights to regain GSP+

COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka and the European Union are to set up a new working group to monitor the island’s compliance with international human rights conventions before regaining duty free access to the EU market.

The move came after the latest round of talks at the Sri Lanka – European Union Joint Commission held in Colombo this week.

Ugo Astuto, Acting Managing Director of the EU’s diplomatic service, External Action Service – Asia Division, said the EU believes the new Sri Lankan government is ready to comply with international laws that are required to regain the GSP + trade deal.

"We now see a new readiness from Sri Lanka to engage and fulfil the criteria to regain GSP Plus," he told a news conference after talks with the government.

"We feel it is essential for Sri Lanka to deliver on its promises and set up a credible domestic accountability mechanism," he said, referring to Sri Lanka’s assurances it will probe war crimes allegations. 

Astuto said the Sri Lanka – European Union Joint Commission agreed to set up a new working group on governance, rule of law and human rights to enable talks on these issues.

The EU withdraw the GSP Plus scheme from Sri Lanka in 2010 owing to human rights concerns, saying the country was not complying with its obligations under international human rights conventions and good governance norms.

Astuto also said the EU was ready to lift its ban on fish exports from Sri Lanka under EU regulations on illegal fishing if the island addressed remaining shortcomings.

Sri Lanka is to submit a progress report on compliance with EU import rules in May.






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