South Asians for Human Rights

Promoting Democracy, Upholding Human Rights

The European Union has welcomed Sri Lanka’s restoration of democracy and reconciliation efforts but said more needed to be done to ensure lasting peace, tackle corruption and promote economic growth.

The EU’s Foreign Affairs Council, in their first discussions on Sri Lanka in more than six years, welcomed the “significant advances” made by Sri Lanka to restore democratic governance, start national reconciliation and re-engage with the international community.

A statement said the Council concluded that there are new opportunities for the EU to engage with the Sri Lankan government in making further progress in several areas.

These include reconciliation, strengthening good governance and tackling corruption, promoting respect for human rights and the rule of law, and fostering inclusive economic growth and sustainable development.

The EU Foreign Ministers commended steps taken by Sri Lanka to comply with EU rules to tackle illegal fishing, the statement said.

“They encouraged shortcomings to be addressed, so that the ban on fish exports could be lifted as soon as possible,” it said.

The Council noted that Sri Lanka has made recent progress in implementing international human rights, labour and environmental conventions.

The statement said it “encouraged Sri Lanka to undertake the remaining necessary preparatory work to enable an application at the appropriate time for GSP+” trade deal under which the island can export duty free to the EU.

The Council also welcomed the resolution adopted at the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

But it noted that “continued political leadership would be needed from all sides to address the underlying causes of the conflict and to deal with the past in a way that established a lasting foundation for a peaceful future.”

Updated On: Nov 17, 2015