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EU urges Government to comply with GSP+ commitments

6 months ago

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By Aazam Ameen The Council of the European Union (EU) has urged Sri Lanka’s new interim Government to uphold the freedom of opinion and expression and the individual rights of the citizens. The remarks came after a large military contingent, along with the Police, launched a pre-dawn raid on Friday (22) near the Presidential Secretariat and the protest site set up at Galle Face to clear the area of protesters.  Several arrests were made and there were also reports of assaults on civilians, journalists, and lawyers by the troops. The Council, condemning the “unwarranted use of force” and “unnecessary violence” against peaceful demonstrators, underlined the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association. A statement issued by the Council noted that a structural plan of reforms needed to be swiftly established and implemented in order to bring Sri Lanka’s economy back onto a sustainable path. To this end, safeguarding human rights and the rule of law while fostering good and inclusive governance and promoting reconciliation efforts is indispensable, the Council remarked. Recalling the more than Euro 1 billion in assistance provided by the EU and its member states to the Sri Lankan people and re-introduction in 2017 of preferential access to the European Single Market under the GSP+ scheme, the Council said it expected the new Government to work in full compliance with its GSP+ commitments.  

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