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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Sri Lanka has promised EU to amend the PTA within the next six months

Image: The European Union delegation to review the GSP plus trade concession having talks with Justice Minister Ali Sabry.

The EU GSP+ trade concessions monitoring mission last week also met with Minister of Justice Ali Sabry.

In a statement, Sabry said that key areas of co-operation and the current judicial reforms programme were discussed.

The PTA would be amended within the next six months, Justice Ministry Secretary M.M.P.K. Mayadunne had told The Morning.

This assurance was given to the visiting EU mission.

“We assured the delegation that the PTA will face some necessary amendments within the next six months. The Cabinet Subcommittee appointed to make recommendations with regard to this is done with almost 95% of its work. The delegation seemed happy with the discussion,” Mayadunne had said.

According to him, the wider discussion also focused on the extensive justice reforms programme, which is currently being conducted by the Justice Ministry, with a special emphasis on the digitisation and digitalisation of the justice system.

It is in this backdrop that the Government reiterated its commitment to reviewing the PTA and to bring it in line with international norms within a time-bound process by the next meeting of the EU-Sri Lanka Joint Commission in early 2022.

This assurance was given during the fifth meeting with the Working Group on Governance, Rule of Law, and Human Rights in Colombo on Wednesday (29 September).

The Working Group meeting took place in the context of regular bilateral exchanges between the EU and Sri Lanka.

During the discussion, the EU reiterated the importance of fostering social, economic, and political inclusion through justice, reconciliation, and accountability.

The two sides had discussed the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, independence of the Judiciary, separation of powers, and the ongoing work of independent institutions. Both sides had reiterated the importance of the effective functioning of independent institutions.

Sri Lanka had updated the EU on the extensive legal reform programme undertaken by the Justice Ministry, through consultative processes that brought together officials, sector experts, and members of the official and unofficial Bars. The EU had encouraged Sri Lanka to consider a broad consultation process in this undertaking.

Both the EU and Sri Lanka had agreed on the importance of engaging civil society and giving it the necessary space to function in all its diversity.

The discussion had also underlined the need to uphold international norms and standards of human rights while countering terrorism and violent extremism.

Both sides had discussed co-operation with the Human Rights Council, including treaty bodies, special procedures, and universal periodic reviews.

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