At the outset of the 51st session of the Human Rights Council, that is scheduled to take place in September, the Ambassadors of the European Union met President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday (11) and held a constructive meeting related to human rights, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the GSP plus facilities for Sri Lankan exports to the EU countries.
The EU- Sri Lanka tweeted that the EU is a partner in challenging times and for the EU its protection of civil and human rights and above all freedom of expression and right to dissent is of utmost importance. “We agree to bring back on track the required joint and inclusive action,” the EU Envoys told the President.
On foreign affairs, the EU said they encouraged the President to devote special attention to three key processes such as the GSP plus for Sri Lankan imports, the acquisition of the IMF bailout package for Sri Lanka and also to concentrate on the Human Rights Council. “The EU hopes that concrete steps will be taken by the government to make these processes a success,” the ambassadors said. The EU is Sri Lanka’s second-largest trading partner after China and its second main export destination, absorbing 22.4% of Sri Lankan exports in 2020.
Also, the Council of the EU adopted, on 19 November 2020, the EU’s third EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy (2020-2024) which provides for a renewed political roadmap that sets the priorities for positioning the EU as a credible global actor seeking to defend EU values and interests.
On August 4, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the EU Commission Josep Borrell Fontelles, who met Foreign Minister Ali Sabry, said that they focused on recent developments in Sri Lanka, mainly on the bilateral relations and cooperation. The EU will continue to support Sri Lanka to work on political, economic and financial stability, he added.
Justice Minister Wijayadasa Rajapakshe said they are already preparing to face the upcoming United Nations Human Rights Council meeting in September and the report was being readied. The report will be ready on the human rights, reconciliation process and the progress of the work done by the institutions such as the Ministry of Judicial, Prison Affairs and Constitutional Reform were discussed.
BY Sulochana Ramiah Mohan