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EU calls on Sri Lanka to ensure 'zero-tolerance' policy to torture

The European Union discussed the implementation of the cosponsored UN Human Rights Council resolution with Sri Lanka, meeting in Colombo for the 21st meeting of the EU-Sri Lanka Joint Commission today. 

The ongoing use of torture, the lack of accountability and justice, as well as the failure to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act were highlighted in a joint statement issued following the meeting. 

"The parties welcomed Sri Lanka’s recent accession to the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, but there was agreement that the Government of Sri Lanka must ensure that the policy of zero-tolerance for the use of torture is implemented and that perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice. The EU re-emphasised its clear and unwavering expectation that urgent action would be taken by the Sri Lankan authorities to repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and replace it with legislation that is in line with international standards. Plans to resolve as soon as possible the situation of the remaining detainees held under the PTA were discussed.  In addition, there was discussion of the need to amend the Code of Criminal Procedure to ensure fundamental legal safeguards."

"The meeting also provided an opportunity to exchange views on the implementation of the UN Human Rights Council Resolutions of 1 October 2015 and 23 March 2017. The parties noted the progress made with respect to the establishment of the Office on Missing Persons. They also noted Sri Lanka’s reaffirmed commitment to establishing the remaining mechanisms aimed at truth seeking, reconciliation, reparation, and justice, on which the EU urged for prompt action. Progress with regard to the enactment of the International Convention on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance Act, unmet expectations of justice in the 'emblematic cases', the further release of land, and the normalisation of civilian life in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka, were discussed during the meeting. Sri Lanka also provided updates on the ongoing constitutional reform process, and measures to combat corruption."

Read full statement here