Paola Pampaloni, Deputy Managing Director of Asia and Pacific at the European External Action Service, said that 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.
Pampaloni told the Daily FT that seeing the PTA used against protestors this year was important to the EU because it went against the promises and assurances made by the Government.
The EEAS Deputy Head stressed that the Prevention of Terrorism Act should 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 ensured for those who wish to peacefully protest against any policies or concerns”.
“Everyone who wants to express their opinions should be allowed to do so peacefully”. She said that they support the freedom of expression.
A delegation from the EU held several important meetings in Sri Lanka. She met with President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Foreign Affairs Minister Ali Sabry, Tamil National Alliance Leader R. Sampanthan, and Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith Cardinal of Colombo.
Pampaloni said her meeting with President Wickremesinghe was a good chance to talk about different issues, besides the ones on the agenda, about Sri Lanka. “She said that they discussed the economic crisis, PTA as well as a number of issues relating to the granting of the concession”.