Sri Lanka may lose GSP+ if human rights are violated again: report

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka will lose duty free access to the European Union if the country goes back to violating human rights, an ambassador has said, amid a political crisis sparked by a contested appointment of a new prime minister.

Sri Lanka lost so-called GSP+ access to the European Union when Mahinda Rajapaksa was President amid allegations of widespread human rights abuses and media suppression.

"The government got GSP on the basis of certain commitments, if these commitments are not met, then we would consider withdrawal,"EU ambassador to Sri Lanka, Tung-Lai Margue, was quoted as saying to Reuters, a news agency.

The European Union is worried the return of Rajapaksa as prime minister, could derail progress made toward national reconciliation following a war with ethnic minority Tamil separatists, the report said.

“I don’t know what his policy on reconciliation would be like. I have fears it won’t be the one we agreed on,” Margue was quoted as saying.

Namal Rajapaksa, Mahinda Rajapaksa’s son had said such fears are unfounded.

"Reconciliation has, and always will be, a focal area for us," he told Reuters. "If there is concern that GSP will need to be withdrawn, these concerns are unfounded and presupposed in error."

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