Sri Lanka opposition, govt trade charges over sanctions threat

April 17, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s main opposition political party says the island is facing international isolation and economic sanctions, a charge rejected by the government. The opposition United National Party accused the government of being unable to effectively address international concerns over human rights abuses by the military.

But a government spokesman dismissed the charges as baseless, saying the opposition was trying to discredit the government for political gain.

Lakshman Kiriella, an opposition United National Party front line lawmaker, said the government was getting isolated in the international community and faces the risk of being subjected to economic sanctions for its failure to improve its human rights record.

“Already the government is in a helpless situation before the international community,” Kiriella told reporters.

“In fact the international community has issued notice to the government to improve its human rights record or face severe economic sanctions by the end of the year.”

Sri Lanka’a apparel industry is facing the risk of losing trade concessions including the GSP+ scheme which allows duty free access to European ma