COLOMBO (EconomyNext) – Sri Lanka’s foreign minister Wednesday sought parliamentary approval to strengthen laws against terrorist financing and said a local inquiry into alleged human rights abuses would help create better conditions for foreign investment.
Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said the amendments, giving effect to United Nations regulations on terrorist financing, were in line with the country’s international obligations.
The amendments include widened coverage of freezing orders, expanded provisions for handling foreign requests, reporting of attempted transactions and redress for persons
“The amendments are aimed at strengthening Sri Lanka’s domestic legislative framework to comply with UN Security Council Resolutions on terrorist financing and money laundering,” Samaraweera said.
“The amendments will strengthen the capacity of the law enforcement and judicial authorities responsible for investigating money laundering and terrorist financing.”
Samaraweera also said government action to probe allegations of human rights abuses in its war against Tamil separatists would strengthen its international credibility and create better conditions for foreign investment.
“Sovereignty carries with it great responsibility which involves duties towards one’s own citizens.
“When a government fails to discharge such duties, external intervention of an unwelcome nature is difficult to prevent,” he said, referring to a UN human rights probe launched during the ousted Rajapaksa regime.
The new government managed to get the UN Human Rights Council report on the allegations, to have been presented in March, deferred till September after promising a domestic inquiry more robust than one Rajapaksa had done.
Samaraweera said Rajapaksa had “alienated communities within the country as well as Sri Lanka’s international partners” by refusing to address issues of concern locally.
“Taking action locally as a responsible nation that is accountable to all sections of our population, upholding the rule of law, good governance and democracy while working in cooperation with the international community is the only way to project ourselves as a country that is at peace with itself.
“This is the only way to enable a secure atmosphere that is essential for foreign investment that is required for the long-term economic development of our nation,” Samaraweera said.
“It is our objective to ensure that the international recognition of our armed forces personnel is further strengthened by taking action against any misdemeanours that some individuals may have committed and tarnished the image of our forces.”