Sri Lanka Brief
NewsResolution submitted to European Parliament against granting GSP+ to Sri Lanka.

Resolution submitted to European Parliament against granting GSP+ to Sri Lanka.

by

European United Left and Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL ) consisting 52 members (MEPs) have submitted a resolution to the European Parliament rquesting not to grant GSP+ trade consessions to Sri Lanka. Next  plenary session of the Parliament is scheduled for 26-27th April. if 376 out of 751 MEPs vote for the resolution at the upcoming  session Sri Lanka will not be eligibale to get the GSP+ trade consessions.

The GUE/NGL is a confederal group: it is composed of MEPs from national parties. Those national parties must share common political objectives with the group, as specified in the group’s constituent declaration.

The Resolution has highlighted the following factors.

The ILO Committee of Experts has identified a number of shortcomings with ILO Conventions 87 and 98, including the insufficiencies of the Industrial Disputes Amendment Act 56 of 1999, which is the only existing legislation that relates to ILO Convention 87;

The process of repealing and replacing the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) has not yet been accomplished; whereas if a new Act replaces the PTA it must not include a broad definition of ‘terrorism related’ offences, and limit the risk of forced confessions through torture;

The existing breaches of Human Rights in Sri Lanka rise concerns about the appropriateness of granting GSP+ status while there is inadequate real progress according to international bodies; whereas the Sri Lankan government is suspected of not adequately tackling the culture of impunity by rewarding military officials accused of human rights violations with government positions;

Full text of the resolution follows:

EN United in diversity EN EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT 2014 – 2017

Plenary sitting 19.04.2017 B7-000/2017

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION

Pursuant to Rule 87a (4) of the Rules of Procedure Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No …/..of 11.01.2017 establishing Annex III to Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences ( C (2016)8996;)

Lola Sánchez Caldentey, Anne-Marie Mineur, Merja Kÿllonen, Dimitris Papadimoulis, on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group

The European Parliament,

– having regard to the Commission Delegated Regulation (C (2016)8996),

– having regard to Article 290 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union,

– having regard to Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences and repealing Council Regulation (EC) No 732/20081 , – having regard to the motion for a resolution by the Committee on International Trade,

– having regard to Rule 87a (4) of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 lays down the modalities of the Union’s Generalised System of Preferences, which is meant to improve developing countries’ access to the EU market by means of granting them preferential treatment for their export products;

B. whereas the Generalised System of Preferences consists of a general arrangement and two special arrangements, including the special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance (GSP+), charging no duties on imports of over 6000 tariff lines from beneficiaries;

C. whereas GSP+ is meant to work as a credible incentive for countries that commit themselves to implementing core international conventions that are considered essential in the context of sustainable development;

D. whereas Article 9(1) of Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 defines the conditions which an applicant country needs to fulfil in order to become a GSP+ beneficiary country;

E. whereas Article 10(4) of Regulation (EU) No 978/2012 empowers the Commission to adopt delegated acts in order to establish or to amend Annex III in order to grant a requesting country the special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance by adding that country to the list of GSP+ beneficiary countries;

F. whereas in February 2010 GSP+ preferences to Sri Lanka were suspended due to serious breaches in the application of UN human rights instruments, especially the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the UN Covenant on the Rights of the Child, the UN Convention against Torture and the ILO Core Labour Conventions; 1 OJ, OJ L 303, 31.10.2012, p. 1 RR\GSP+EN.doc 3/3 PE00v#00# EN

G. whereas since January 2015, the government of Sri Lanka has taken some positive steps towards improving human rights. This includes the government’s decision to co-sponsor Human Rights Council (HRC) Resolution 30/1 in October 2015;

H. whereas on 11 January 2017 the Commission adopted a delegated act to add Sri Lanka to Annex III of Regulation (EU) No 978/2012;

I. whereas the government’s reform efforts, including those that directly relate to the GSP+ criteria, have not yet delivered in their purpose to comply with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the Convention against Torture, and the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination;

J. whereas the report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Sri Lanka A/HRC/34/20 of 10 February 2017 concluded that the measures taken by Sri Lanka since October 2015 have been “inadequate to ensure real progress”, and the fulfilment of commitments has been “worryingly slow”;

K. whereas the ILO Committee of Experts has identified a number of shortcomings with ILO Conventions 87 and 98, including the insufficiencies of the Industrial Disputes Amendment Act 56 of 1999, which is the only existing legislation that relates to ILO Convention 87;

L. whereas the process of repealing and replacing the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) has not yet been accomplished; whereas if a new Act replaces the PTA it must not include a broad definition of ‘terrorism related’ offences, and limit the risk of forced confessions through torture;

M. whereas the existing breaches of Human Rights in Sri Lanka rise concerns about the appropriateness of granting GSP+ status while there is inadequate real progress according to international bodies; whereas the Sri Lankan government is suspected of not adequately tackling the culture of impunity by rewarding military officials accused of human rights violations with government positions;

N. whereas a delegated act shall enter into force only if no objection has been expressed by either the European Parliament or the Council within two months of notification of the act; whereas it was agreed to extend that period by two months on 23 January 2017;

1. Objects to the Commission’s delegated regulation C (2016)8996;

2. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Commission and to notify it that the delegated regulation cannot enter into force;

3. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and to the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

Back to Top