Rights group opposes GSP+ benefits to Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Monday, 26 October 2009, 12:12 GMT]
Edward Mortimer, chair of the Advisory Council for Sri Lanka Peace and Justice Campaign, a rights group, in a letter to Financial Times responding to an earlier article on GSP+ says: "[G]overnment has until now held more than 250,000 civilians in insanitary internment camps, currently threatened with monsoon flooding, while an unknown number of alleged combatants are held elsewhere, out of sight of the media, Red Cross and other humanitarian agencies. Wartime promises that Tamil grievances would be peacefully redressed once hostilities were ended have not been fulfilled. Instead an atmosphere of racist triumphalism has been encouraged."

Noam Chomsky, Bianca Jagger, and several other intellectuals and prominent persons are members of the group, Sri Lanka Peace and Justice Campaign.

Full text of the letter to Financial Times follows:

Your argument for extending Sri Lanka’s “GSP+” access to the European Union market is plausible but specious (“Tigers and trade”, editorial October 21). There might be a good case for extending this concession to all developing-country imports, but no one is suggesting that. As things stand, Sri Lanka is one of only 15 countries in the world to receive this treatment, and the only one in Asia. This discriminates unfairly against imports from other Asian countries.

GSP+ was accorded to Sri Lanka in 2005 on a wave of international sympathy after the tsunami. It was, as you say, conditional on ratification and implementation of 27 international agreements. The EU now has to decide whether to extend the deal, in the face of a damning independent report, commissioned by the EU itself, which shows that Sri Lanka has flagrantly ignored many of these conditions, including notably those that cover basic human rights.

Nor is it only, as you suggest, a matter of “human rights abuses committed ... in the course of the conflict with the Tamil Tiger rebels”. That conflict ended five months ago, with a total victory for the government. Yet so far from being magnanimous in victory, the government has until now held more than 250,000 civilians in insanitary internment camps, currently threatened with monsoon flooding, while an unknown number of alleged combatants are held elsewhere, out of sight of the media, Red Cross and other humanitarian agencies. Wartime promises that Tamil grievances would be peacefully redressed once hostilities were ended have not been fulfilled. Instead an atmosphere of racist triumphalism has been encouraged.

“Sri Lanka is not Burma”, you write. Perhaps not, but it seems some of its leaders would like it to be. Burma was the first foreign country visited by President Mahendra Rajapaksa after his victory over the Tigers last May, and his own government website reported that one of his aims was to advise the Burmese generals on how to defeat their own ethnic insurgents, learning from Sri Lanka’s methods.

If the EU does not resist this repressive contagion, who will?

Edward Mortimer,
Chair, Advisory Council,
Sri Lanka Peace and Justice Campaign


Chronology:


External Links:
PJC: Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice
FT: Tigers and Trade
FT: Sri Lanka has flagrantly ignored international agreements

 

Latest 15 Reports
24.06.18 22:32  
Sand mining, backed by Colombo's authority and monk, destroys ecology of verukal river
23.06.18 23:46  
Continuing military excavations in Vanni imply existence of secret detention of ex-LTTE members
22.06.18 13:20   Photo
Colombo's TID wants to interrogate Tamil journalist from Batticaloa
21.06.18 16:24   Photo
Jaffna Tamil fishers mobilise against southern poaching, expose conduct of SL police
20.06.18 11:52  
Wigneswaran's secretary accuses SL Presidential Secretariat of dodging land release in North
19.06.18 18:33   Photo
SL military stationed in 6,275 acres of public and private lands in Vaakarai, Batticaloa
18.06.18 23:05  
Occupying SL Police in Jaffna again blamed for dodging action on criminal policemen
17.06.18 23:51   Photo
SL policemen fire to kill Tamil man at Church premises in Mallaakam, Jaffna
16.06.18 20:31  
US naval, seismic partnerships with genocidal Sri Lanka bring miseries to Eezham Tamils in Trincomalee
15.06.18 21:07   Photo
Swiss ruling, a precedent-setting victory for Right of Self-Determination oriented freedom fighters
14.06.18 20:03  
Only an international investigation would establish truth on enforced disappeared
13.06.18 22:37   Photo
Colombo schemes Sinhala military-led industrialisation of KKS exploiting geopolitics
12.06.18 19:49   Photo
Mannaar mass grave could be from early 1990s, shocking details emerge
11.06.18 14:38  
Sirisena yet to revoke Gazette notification of Colombo's seizure of Champoor lands
10.06.18 19:14  
Tamil families caught in dilemma of transferring lands in Seruvila, Trincomalee
 
Find this article at:
http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=30515