Sri Lanka’s pro-trade body urges swift action against hatemongers

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s National Chamber of Exporters says it’s concerned the recent communal unrest would be a setback to the island’s efforts to improve cross-border trade and investments, urging the government to quickly provide compensation to Muslim victims and punish hatemongers firmly and swiftly.

"It’s disconcerting that this civil unrest, although short lived, occurred at a time the country was embarking on trade negotiations to establish several trade and economic partnership agreements and improve cross border facilitation with Sri Lanka’s trading partners," the export body said in a statement Wednesday.

"The success of these trade deals depends upon other things like foreign Investments to the country, which in turn depends on peace, economic, and political stability.

"International trade and related Investments, is the lifeblood of our country and critical to achieving economic development objectives, for the future prosperity of all citizens," the chamber said. 

Sri Lanka has suffered enough from a protracted 30-year civil conflict which ended in 2009. "Citizens wish to live in harmony and secure their futures," the chamber said.

The export body said it was deeply concerned about the civil unrest.

"The Chamber is strongly of the view that the actions of certain elements which led to the recent civil unrest would have been backed by groups with extremist political ideologies who have as their objective disruption of economic activities, and the wellbeing of the ordinary citizens of our country, to achieve their parochial and selfish aims, without any regard to the future of our country.

"In this context  the Chamber urges that the Government acts decisively to give a strong message to all, and especially to the trade partners of the country overseas, that there will be no room in the future for such civil unrest.  For this purpose the Chamber calls upon the Government to act without any delay on the following, to restore the confidence and goodwill of all concerned.

"Dispense quick and firm punishment to all those who were directly or indirectly responsible for the unrest, to deter any such actions in the future.

"Provide full compensation to all those who were affected to rebuild their businesses and lives, to enable integration back to society in a meaningful manner without hard feelings". (COLOMBO, March 14, 2018)





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