Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Petition against the granting of GSP+ by the European Union to Sri Lanka. Please click to sigh the petition

We, the undersigned, write to you to petition against the granting of GSP+ by the European Union to the Government of Sri Lanka.

Due to non-compliance of Sri Lanka on 18th October 2008 the European Commission adopted a decision providing for the initiation of an investigation on the GSP+ concession arrangement.

Government of Sri Lanka does not satisfy the three core qualifying conditions for GSP+ as detailed below;

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights - Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court ruled in 2006 that ‘the rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) are not rights under the Constitution of Sri Lanka.
Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment – In light of the recent broadcasting of footage by Channel 4 showing Tamils being executed by the Sri Lankan armed forces and other emerging post war evidences clearly demonstrate that Sri Lanka is in violation of this condition

Widespread police torture, abductions of journalists, politicised courts and uninvestigated disappearances have all played a part in creating a state of ‘complete or virtually complete impunity in Sri Lanka’. – The Economist, 3 Sept 09

“Just three months after the Sri Lankan government declared the country liberated from the Tamil Tigers, video footage has emerged apparently showing government troops summarily executing Tamils.” – Channel 4, 25 Aug 09

Convention on the Rights of the Child – Thousands of children are being held in the interment camps in Sri Lanka with appalling conditions where there is no access to clean water, health care and educational facilities.

“The displaced people, including at least 50,000 children, are being accommodated in 41 camps spread over four districts” – Amnesty International, 7 Aug 2009

As evidenced by the disproportional defence budget allocated to the Sri Lankan armed forces from 2007 - 2009 and the confirmation of the end of the conflict, Sri Lanka cannot currently be classified as “vulnerable” under the qualifying criteria for the GSP+.
The quitting of the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons (IIGEP) – the international panel set up to monitor a Sri Lankan probe into human rights abuses, the persistent refusal to accept an independent monitoring body on human rights and the ongoing restricted access to aid agencies stand witness to the level of respect for human rights.
“Any government has a clear obligation to have a very thorough investigation in response to an allegation of this type,” - Philip Alston, UN special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Reuters, 1 Sept 09
“One day I was inside the [operating] theatre and the next room was bombed. We had a lot of the treated people left in the room for the doctors to go and monitor and they all died in that shell bomb.” - Damilvany Gnanakumar, British Tamil medic witness to the conflict, The Guardian, 15 Sept 09
We, the undersigned, strongly feel that Sri Lanka has fallen far short of meeting any of the criteria and conditions stipulated by the EU Commission and we urge you to raise the case for the withdrawal of GSP+ to Sri Lanka. Unless a clear message is sent for being in breach of qualifying conditions, like the decision taken by the Council on Belarus, Sri Lanka and other States that enjoy such privileges will continue with human rights violations, lack of systems and governance and maintain status quo.


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  2. Human trafficking at the Sri Lankan internment camps is shocking. The Government started to look at IDPs as the ducks laying golden eggs.

    Up to 20,000 IDPs have been ransomed by desperate relatives who are able and willing to pay thousands of rupees to secure their release, and have left the camps

    Many, many reports have now emerged that money is being demanded in Sri Lanka for IDPs to be released and the soldiers are in the thick and thin of it.

    This exposes so-called ‘screening’ of IDPs for what it is: a cover for a lucrative flesh trade, carried out with the collusion of elements in the government and armed forces that get a cut out of it.

    It also explains why the camp authorities refused to release a one-year-old child to leave with its grandmother: since an infant could hardly be suspected of being a dreaded LTTE terrorist or suicide bomber, the reason was surely that a payoff had not been paid.

    In my opinion, that since a one year child cannot pay such money, then it has to be helplessly and hopelessly consigned to the concentration camps.

    High morals in Sri Lanka it seems!? That is the last thing ever present there

  3. US State dept report on Sri Lanka Army war crimes will be given to Congress on Oct 23rd.

  4. Retd Maj-Gen Patrick Cammaert of Netherlands will visit Sri Lanka in November as UN special envoy on children and armed conflict

  5. The general comic relief that the Rupavahini news generates in Sri Lanka

    Last night I nearly died,
    I nearly died of laughter,
    I’ll never, ever watch the news,
    On Rupavahini here after!

    I’ll tell those morons in charge,
    How ‘Rupavahini News’ nearly caused my death!
    There should be a ‘Surgeon Generals WARNING!’
    “Rupavahini News may be harmful to your health!”