Thursday, October 29, 2009

EU tells Sri Lanka it wants action and not just words

By Easwaran Rutnam - The European Union (EU) has continued to put pressure on the Sri Lankan government to address several concerns being raised over alleged human rights allegations including media suppression and has insisted that Sri Lanka must respond through actions and not words.

In an email to Daily Mirror online, Mrs Jean Lambert, Chair of the European Parliament (EP) Delegation for Relations with South Asia said that a European Parliament Resolution adopted last week shows beyond any doubt that the apprehensions of the European Parliament on Sri Lanka is widely shared.

The EP Resolution last week follows on from the hearing in the EP Human Rights sub-committee. It is the European Parliament's view on the humanitarian situation, and is there to advise Commission and Council policy decisions and offer proposals to the Sri Lankan Government, Mrs Jean Lambert said.

While noting that the European Parliament will not directly interfere on the GSP plus procedure which is in the hands of the European Commission, Mrs Jean Lambert said that the resolution by the European Parliament last week will be taken into account in the overall analysis of the situation.

“The fact that the views of the EP, expressed on 23 October, were largely echoed by the Council's conclusions which, on Tuesday, stressed that "indiscriminate detention of IDPs is a clear violation of international law", shows beyond any doubt that the apprehensions of the House are widely shared. Impunity, as well as severe harassment of journalists, must come to an end,” Mrs Jean Lambert told Daily Mirror online.

She reiterated that what counts now is whether the Government of Sri Lanka will at last take concrete steps --actions, not words-- in order to remedy the situation and demonstrate its willingness to engage into a meaningful dialogue with the EU institutions and relevant statutory bodies.

The Resolution adopted by the European Parliament last week expressed concerns over the continued detention of internally displaced people, media suppression and other issues but also noted the need for continued EU support for Sri Lanka’s economy and dialogue with the Sri Lankan government.

© Daily Mirror

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