The appointment of a three- member panel to advise the Secretary General of the United Nations (UN) Ban Ki Moon on alleged war crimes and human rights violations during the final stages of the protracted war in Sri Lanka came at a time when the Colombo administration was heavily emphasizing on the need for economic advancement and was lobbying for the GSP + trade concessions from the European Union (EU).

The EU has spelt out 15 conditions for the renewal of GSP+ trade concessions that dealt a strong blow to the administration’s hopes to secure trade concessions given Sri Lanka’s heavy dependence on European export markets.

As the country celebrated the first anniversary of the military defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) on June 18, questions have been raised yet again over the slow progress in the area of human rights in Sri Lanka.

The general reading of the commitment level of the administration does not inspire much confidence given that besides the amendments to the emergency regulations and the appointment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission tangible steps have not been taken in policy or in practice to improve Sri Lanka’s human rights record.

With the non appointment of the Constitutional Council (CC) that rendered the independent commissions appointed by the CC ineffective, the public redress mechanisms have been weakened further.

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