Joint Press Release following the 20th meeting of the European Union – Sri Lanka Joint Commission
The Joint Commission, which oversees the 1995 EU-Sri Lanka Cooperation Agreement on Partnership and Development, deals with a broad range of bilateral and multilateral issues of mutual interest. Its tasks are to: ensure the proper functioning and implementation of the Agreement; set priorities; and make recommendations.
All three Working Groups established under the terms of the Joint Commission reported back from their respective meetings held in January (the Working Group on Governance, Rule of Law and Human Rights) and in May (the Working Group on Trade and Economic Cooperation Issues, and the Working Group on Development Cooperation).
The meeting was held in an open and constructive spirit. The EU extended condolences to the many victims ofthe damaging floods and landslides in Sri Lanka in May and their bereaved families. The Sri Lankan side expressed their appreciation for the EU’s swift response to this disaster. The EU gave €700,000 (LKR 114.5 million) to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to the worst affected communities.
The parties welcomed the recent lifting of the EU ban on export of fish from Sri Lanka. This was achieved due to the extensive improvements made by the Government of Sri Lanka in fisheries management and control, consistent with its international obligations. It was agreed that the close relationship established on fisheries between the two parties will continue.
The meeting provided an opportunity to exchange views on the state of implementation of the UN Human Rights Council resolution of 1 October 2015, which was co-sponsored by a number of UN Member States and Sri Lanka. The parties noted the progress made and indicated that further measures would be pursued and progress would continue for the implementation of the resolution. Progress with regard to the release of land and the normalisation of the life in the North and East of the country, the repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and the release or prosecution of detainees held under the PTA, and the establishment of the transitional mechanisms for truth, reconciliation, justice and reparations were also discussed. Sri Lanka provided updates on the process of drawing up the new Constitution.