Apr 24, 2017

'Can't cater to EU’s dictates with regard to GSP+' Featured

The Sri Lankan government cannot work, or do politics, according to the dictates of the European Union, says government media spokesman Rajitha Senaratne.

He has told BBC Sandeshaya that requirements of the people of the country should be considered in doing all that, and not the way the EU wants it to be.

His comment comes in the wake of a resolution table by an European Parliamentary group against granting the GSP plus tariff concession to Sri Lanka.

It will be debated by EU parliament on April 26 and 27.

PM is silent

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PM Ranil Wickremesinghe with EU council chairman Donald Tusk (file photo)

Earlier, a group of EU MPs wrote to prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, urging him to replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act with global standard counter-terrorism legislation in order for Sri Lanka to regain the GSP+.

Sri Lanka must address issues related to shortcomings in the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, and children’s rights as well, according to their letter dated April 07.

The PM is yet to respond to that letter.

Promise to replace PTA

When asked about a government promise previously to replace the PTA, Senaratne said that the country should have some law, in the absence of emergency laws, to deal with any terrorist act.

He said he could not say for certain if the EU deadline could be met in implementing the proposals.

Asked if that will cause the country to lose the opportunity to regain GSP+, Senaratne said the country had been doing without it for many years now.

He went onto say that amendments were being introduced to the penal code.

Attempts by racists

Asked about the absence of a missing persons office despite the relevant act being passed, he said the government could not act quickly due to attempts by racists to gain political mileage.

He also said the loopholes in the prevailing system are delaying legal action against wrongdoers and against tortures still reportedly taking place.

Prohibition on homosexuality

Referring to the EU call to remove the clause in the penal code that prohibits homosexuality, Senaratne said what the Europe says cannot be done here, as Sri Lanka’s culture is different from Europe.

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