The European Union (EU) has re-affirmed its commitment to support Sri Lanka’s efforts to successfully overcome the current unprecedented economic crisis.
It has also assured to assist with the necessary reforms and social protection measures, which would mitigate the adverse impact of the crisis and lead the country towards sustainable growth and prosperity, according to the EU.
During the meeting of the Sixth Working Group on Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights held in Colombo on October 28, which took place in the context of regular bilateral interactions between Sri Lanka and the EU, they have reiterated the importance of social, economic and political inclusion through justice and reconciliation in the advancement of human rights.
The two parties have further discussed the recent developments in Sri Lanka and the EU, and the implementation of relevant action and legislative initiatives regarding the promotion and protection of human rights. Sri Lanka has briefed the EU on its progress in reconciliation.
Sri Lanka has apprised the EU of the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, which is aimed at strengthening democratic governance and independent oversight of key institutions, public scrutiny, as well as anti-corruption measures, with the re-establishment of the Constitutional Council and Independent Commissions.
The EU acknowledged the steps taken by Sri Lanka in March 2022 to reform the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and pointed to the need for further action in line with its commitments.
The EU has further expressed concern on the recent use of the PTA. Sri Lanka has assured that the PTA has been invoked only in instances of extreme necessity.
The EU has noted Sri Lanka’s update on the release of detainees under the PTA in 2021-2022 and encouraged the release of long-term detainees under the PTA who have not been charged.
Sri Lanka has expressed its strong commitment to preparing a comprehensive legislative proposal to replace the PTA in accordance with the Constitution, and in line with international norms and best practices, with a view to its finalisation in 2023.
The Working Group was co-chaired by Ms. Varuni Muthukumarana, the Director General of Europe, Central Asia, EU and Commonwealth, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka and Ms. Rensje Teerink, Deputy Director and Head of South Asia Division, European External Action Service.