Sri Lanka trade deal with EU linked to human rights law

Mar 18, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka has to improve its human rights record and implement its obligations under international agreements to extend trade concessions given by the European Union, officials said in Colombo. Sri Lanka is a signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) but is yet to complete the process that will see its full effectiveness.

“The state of ratification and the state of implementation across the board matters,” Janez Premoze, an EU director for Asia and Oceania who headed a three member delegation, said at the end of a visit to the island.

The government has already referred the ICCPR to the island’s Supreme Court for advice.

Sri Lanka’s apparel export trade has been given preferential access to the EU under the GSP+ scheme which runs out at the end of this year.

“According to the rules of this scheme all countries wishing to continue benefiting from the GSP+ regime will have to re-apply by October 08,” the EU delegation said in a statement.

“The legal provisions of the GSP+ scheme also spells out the linkage between trade preferences and human rights.

“The EU confirms that the entire process which has not yet started will be govern

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