EEAS Deputy MD Paola Pampaloni raises EU’s concerns on Govts. extensive use of PTA

Saturday, 29 October 2022 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • Says PTA use on protestors is of serious concern as it contradicts Govt. commitments
  • Notes PTA must not be used on protestors as it does not have necessary safeguards a counter-terror law must possess 
  • Reveals economic crisis, GSP+ and PTA were top of the agenda during meeting with President Wickremesinghe

By Maneshka Borham

European External Action Service Deputy Managing Director of Asia and Pacific Paola Pampaloni, says the European Union is concerned about the extensive use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act by the Sri Lankan Government following the Easter Sunday attacks of 2019.

Speaking to the Daily FT, Pampaloni said seeing the PTA being used against protestors this year was of serious concern to the EU as it contradicted the commitment and assurances made by the Government. 

The EEAS Deputy MD stressed that the Prevention of Terrorism Act must not be used against protestors as it does not possess the necessary safeguards a counter-terrorism legislation should provide.

“Freedom of expression and assembly must be allowed for those who want to peacefully protest against any policies or concerns. 

Any Sri Lankan who wishes to express their opinions should be allowed to do so in a peaceful manner. We very much support the freedom of expression,” she said. 

An EU delegation led by Pampaloni held several key meetings in Colombo this week. She met with President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Foreign Affairs Minister Ali Sabry, Tamil National Alliance Leader R. Sampanthan and Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith. 

Commenting on her meeting with President Wickremesinghe, Pampaloni said it was a good opportunity to take stock of different issues on top of the agenda about Sri Lanka. “We discussed the economic crisis as well as a number of issues relating to the granting of the GSP+ concession, the reforms of the Prevention of Terrorism Act and legislations relating to the anti-terror laws in Sri Lanka,” she said.