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UN human rights experts call for renewed UN scrutiny on SL



UN human rights experts yesterday expressed their deep concern about the reversal of what they called important democratic gains achieved since 2015 and roll back on limited progress made on accountability, reconciliation in Sri Lanka since the Government withdrew its support from the resolution Human Rights Council resolution 30/1 in February 2020.

“In the spirit of cooperation, we, the mandate holders who visited Sri Lanka since 2015, find it timely and opportune to recall some key recommendations as the developments over the past year have had profound negative impact on human rights in Sri Lanka and have fundamentally altered the context in which these recommendations could be effectively implemented, issues also raised in the High Commissioner’s report on Sri Lanka” the experts said.

They claimed that since Sri Lanka issued standing invitation to the Special Procedures mandate holders in 2015, 10 special procedures mandates conducted country visits. The former Special Rapporteur on truth, justice, reparations, and non-recurrence conducted four additional technical visits. Through these country visits, special procedures have identified root causes, patterns and complexities relating to a history of conflict, human rights violations and abuses and impunity in Sri Lanka and made more than 400 recommendations to Sri Lanka on a range of human rights issues. All recommendations contained in their country visits’ reports to the Human Rights Council can be searched on the Universal Human Rights Index.


The vast majority of these recommendations made by the special procedures mandates to Sri Lanka are intrinsically linked to the 25 key undertakings/commitments set out in the Human Rights Council resolution 30/1, which was unanimously adopted by the Council in 2015, they said in a press release.


Given below are excerpts: “Therefore, we are of the view that there are eight areas in particular that should be in focus when the UN Human Rights Council reviews the implementation of the resolution 30/1 in March 2021: i) threats to independent institutions and the rule of law; ii) increasing militarization; iii) restrictions on freedoms of peaceful assembly, association and expression; iv) discrimination against vulnerable groups, incitement to hatred and violence against minorities; v) legal safeguards, conditions of detention and prohibition of torture; vi) enforced disappearances; vii) impunity and viii) lack of progress in the transitional justice process.


For each of these areas, the main recommendations made as well as the main concerns in the current context are detailed below. We call on the Government of Sri Lanka to implement the recommendations made in our country visits’ reports. We call on the Human Rights Council and the international community to keep the human rights situation in Sri Lanka under continuous scrutiny and to explore all possible options for advancing accountability in the country.


In order to do this, options available to the Human Rights Council and Member States include but need not be limited to the possibility to:


1. Request OHCHR to enhance its monitoring and analysis of the human rights situation in Sri Lanka;


2. Establish an impartial and independent international accountability mechanism which would seek to build upon the work conducted by different UN mechanisms by investigating, compiling, and analysing information collected from an international criminal law perspective;

3. Request the appointment of a Special procedures country mandate;

4. Member States and UN agencies in their engagement with Sri Lanka to specifically demand that Sri Lanka fulfils its human rights obligations, including with respect to the issues identified in this statement and the recommendations made by Special Rapporteurs during their visits conducted since 2015 and with respect to cooperating with Special Procedures in relation to country visits and communications.”

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Heat Index at Caution level in Northern, North-Central, North-western and Eastern provinces and Monaragala and Hambanthota districts




Heat index Advisory Issued by the Natural Hazards Early Warning Centre At 07.30 a.m. 28 May 2023, valid for 28 May 2023

Heat index, the temperature felt on the human body is expected to increase up to ‘Caution’ level at some places in Northern, North-Central, North-western and Eastern provinces and Monaragala and Hambanthota districts.

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GCE Ordinary Level examination commences on Monday (29)




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472,553 candidates have applied to to sit this years examination which will be held at 3568 examination centers

The examination will conclude on 8th June 2023

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Personal income tax shock dims economic activities



ECONOMYNEXTSri Lanka’s personal income tax hikes have hit economic activity in the first quarter though despite currency stability helped businesses cut prices, Hemas Holdings, a top consumer goods group has said.As the currency stabilized, as central bank ended contradictory money and exchange policy conflicts, businesses had cut prices. Mainstream economists generally claim that price falls lead to delayed transactions and try to generate positive inflation through money printing, though businesses believe otherwise.

“The market witnessed price reductions and promotional trade schemes to stimulate consumption,” Hemas Holding told shareholders in the March quarterly statement.

“However, changes made to the personal income tax structure severely impacted modern trade sales volumes as consumers rationalised their purchases under reduced disposable income levels.”

Sri Lanka hiked personal income tax rates in 2023. Value added taxes were raised to 15 percent from 8 percent last year. Another 2.5 percent cascading tax was imposed on top of VAT, the effect of which was estimated to be around 4.5 or more through the cascading effect.

While value added tax allows the government to get tax revenues after citizens make transactions and getting the economy to work, based on best decisions needed to drive the economy to satisfy real needs, income tax kills economic decisions and transfers money to state actors, analysts say.

Net gains on income tax therefore comes at a cost of lost value added tax as well as killed real economic activities which would otherwise have been based on decisions of those who earned the money.

UK also almost doubled VAT in 1979, also to 15 percent, cut the base income tax rate and widened thresholds above inflation to give choice to individuals, amid criticism from Keynesian style or mainstream economists to recover the economy, after two back-to-back IMF programs failed to deliver concrete results, analysts point out.At Hemas Holdings, group revenues went up 52.6 percent to 32 billion rupees in the March 2023 quarter from year earlier amid price inflation as the rupee fell, and cost of sales went up 45.1 percent to 22.2 billion rupees, allowing the group to boost gross profits 72 percent to 9.8 billion rupees, interim accounts showed.

However, administration costs went up 54 percent, selling and distribution costs went up 36 percent, and finance costs went up to 1.3 billion rupees. Profit after tax was flat at 1.06 billion rupees.Sri Lanka’s central bank stabilized the rupee in the second half of 2022 after the rupee collapsed from 200 to 360 to from two years of money printing and also removed a surrender rule in March allowing the exchange rate appreciate.

The US Fed also tightened policy from March 2022 helping bring down global commodity prices after triggering inflation not seen for 40 years through Coronavirus linked money printing or accommodating a real shock through monetary expansion.

“While the modern trade channels witnessed a slow down due to the adverse impact of the tax reforms and high cost of credit on the middle-class urban population, the general trade channels experienced significant growth and increased foot fall,” Hemas told shareholders.

“The decline in global commodity prices in the second half of the year, enabled the business to make price reductions across the portfolio.

“However, the benefit of appreciation of the Sri Lankan Rupee in March 2023 was not seen during the quarter due to the lag effect but is expected to realise in the quarters to come, provided the current economic conditions prevail.”

Hemas is also has operations in Bangladesh where the central bank is also buying up government securities with tenors as long at 20 years to mis-target the interest rate, triggering forex shortages and depreciating the Taka, according to analysts who study the country.

Inflation had hit 9.3 percent in Bangladesh by March.

“In the face of numerous challenges including slowdown in the global economy, depreciation in Taka, heightened inflation and depleting foreign currency reserves, the country entered an IMF programme in January 2023,” the firm said.

“The value-added hair oil market witnessed a degrowth, as consumers curbed consumption in many non-essential items and switched to value-for-money alternatives.”

Mainstream economists mis-target rates to boost growth known as either monetary stimulus or bridging an output gap, though the effort result in instability and economic contractions.

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