Concerns in European Parliament over Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act

Concerns have been raised in the European Parliament on Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) with a commissioner alleging that the law did not conform to conventions that the island nation had committed to implementing under the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP+) granted to it

Jun 11, 2021
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Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act

Concerns have been raised in the European Parliament on Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) with a commissioner alleging that the law did not conform to conventions that the island nation had committed to implementing under the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP+) granted to it.

Addressing the European Parliament, Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for Equality, said ahead of its readmission to the Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP+) in 2017, Sri Lanka had committed to amending the PTA to bring it in line with international standards.

Dalli, who was speaking at the EP plenary session debates on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law, said the Sri Lankan government has done hardly any follow-up on its commitment. Rather, it broadened the PTA’s scope in March by extending the detention period under the Act to two years, reported ColomboPage.

“We see the removal of constitutional safeguards, we see lack of accountability, we see discourse to exclude people, we see civil society being excluded and we see the use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act to detain activists, writers and more.”

“The EU must defend universal rights unambiguously. Anyone who is detained under this terrorism act should be judged fairly. If they haven’t been accused they should immediately be freed,” the Commissioner said.

She said the EU needs to look at the GSP+ system and evaluate it as it could be a way to ensure Sri Lanka fulfills its obligations on human rights.

“The issue will remain at the heart of our engagement with Sri Lanka in the framework of the GSP+ monitoring,” the Commissioner said.

(SAM)

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