Sri Lanka says no EU rights probe; state help for exporters to improve productivity

Oct 20, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has rejected a European Union demand to conduct a probe on human rights and child soldiers, but will give exporters state help to tide over a shock from loss of trade concessions, a senior minister said. The European Union has asked that Sri Lanka comply with international conventions on civil and political rights and had on September 23 proposed to conduct a probe.

“Sri Lanka will not submit to an investigation by a foreign government or a group of governments,” international trade minister G L Pieris told reporters.

“This does not mean there will not be a dialogue. Issues will continue to be discussed. But an investigation is out of the question.”

Pieris said Sri Lanka had submitted an application to the EU to extend the generalized system of preferences plus (GSP+) concessions on October 10, and had submitted information to show that the island was in compliance with European rules.

Pieris said Sri Lanka had been an independent state from 1948, and was a functioning democracy where there was rule of law, and it was beneath the dignity of an independent state to submit to such an investigation.

Reporters pointed out to Pieris that the government of Sri Lanka should also have a