Posted on September 15, 2009, by & filed under News.

A move by the EU to halt trade benefits for cheap clothing imports from Sri Lanka, as a sanction against its government for human rights violations during the recent Tamil crisis, appears to highlight an inconsistency compared to its treatment of Israel.

ICAHD UK Patron Clare Short, MP, with the European Campaign to End the Siege of Gaza, has launched a legal action to require the European Union to uphold the human rights conditions entrenched in the EU-Israel Association Agreement. The action was launched in a 15 page letter sent to President Barroso and Javier Solana, the High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, spelling out the way in which the Treaty conditions are being breached and the way in which international law applies.

Meanwhile, the EU looks set to withdraw trade benefits called GSP Plus from Sri Lanka, to punish its governments alleged human rights abuses during its recent actions against Tamil Tigers in that long-lasting civil war. The benefits were introduced after the tsunami, to help the Sri Lankan economy. Coined “garments without guilt”, the scheme allowed the tax-free import to the EU of good quality, cheap clothing. Conditions in Sri Lankais factories are beyond reproach. But GSP Plus status, from which 15 countries benefit currently, is conditional on 27 human rights conventions being upheld by any country which benefits.

Businessmen in Sri Lanka are predicting the loss of 250,000 jobs in its clothing industry if the GSP Plus scheme is withdrawn. Read Times Online report.

Read more about Clare Short’s legal action against EU

ICAHD UK urges all supporters to write to their MEPs to highlight the inconsistency in EU policy and voice their support for the legal action – Find your MEPs and write to them here