Sri Lanka

    The European Union said Feb. 15 it planned to withdraw preferential trade benefits to Sri Lanka within six months’ time unless its concerns about the country’s human rights record are addressed. The EU executive arm, the European Commission, said an investigation had revealed significant shortcomings in Sri Lanka’s implementation of three U.N. human rights conventions linked to preferential trade tariffs. Sri Lanka has come under pressure from Western nations over civilian deaths in the final phase of the 25-year war against Tamil Tigers last year, police violence, torture and delays in resettling Tamil refugees kept in camps after the conflict ended. The trade benefits, worth about USD136 million a year to Sri Lanka, will be withdrawn in six months’ time unless EU concerns are addressed, the Commission said. (BBC)

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