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Retailers hit by EU sanctions on Sri Lankan factories

Retailers including Next, Marks & Spencer and Tesco could soon lose access to affordable clothing manufacturing in Sri Lanka as the EU looks set to withdraw funding from the country, The Times has reported.

Clothes have been imported tax-free to the UK from Sri Lanka over the past four years in a scheme set up to aid the country’s recovery after the tsunami in December 2004. However, the benefits could soon be withdrawn as punishment for the Sri Lankan Government’s alleged human rights abuses during the recent civil war.

The move could add up to 10% to the cost of the clothing, forcing retailers to source elsewhere. Next has a factory in Sri Lanka that produces jersey pieces, Tesco reportedly produces parts of its Cherokee range in the country and Marks & Spencer manufactures parts of its lingerie and school uniform ranges there.

Conditions for workers at the factories are reported to be very good and the move could threaten the livelihoods of 250,000 workers employed in hundreds of factories across the country.

The EU has reportedly given the Sri Lankan Government until tomorrow to respond to a human rights report alleging war crimes.

Readers' comments (5)

  • It's absolutely ridiculous that the EU should punish a small country like Sri Lanka yet let China off the hook for the multiple cases of Human rights abuses over the last 25 years. Off course Sri Lanka is small and can be bullied into
    submission by the EU civil servants who seem to resemble a state within several states.
    As yet there is no "absolute " proof off any abuse.....so much about being innocent until proven gulity, why punish simple workere whom have had nothing to do with any of government military decisons, if this goes through thousands of workers will loose their jobs and slip into poverty, it's time the EU got it's priorities in order.

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  • Readers please do not think it in business terms or financial terms. Because Srilanka is the country in the world committing most number of human rights abuses, extra judicial killings, journalists being abducted or killed, sexual abuses, etc. UN says Srilanka has detained its employees in the prison like camps in war torn town. Human rights agencies, international medias and non governmental organizations doesn't have access to the camps, which is more likely to be a modern day concentration camps. 300 000 peoples are being kept in a jungle without any medication, food, sanitation, clothings.
    If the country really cares about its own people in the camps and people who working in the cloth factories, why should not it allows free access to the camps and release those internees ?
    All we ask is release the people in the camps and they will find their way out..Isn't it that easy???

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  • Channel 4 released video evidence on Sri Lanka's war crimes
    http://www.nowpublic.com/world/channel-4-released-video-evidence-sri-lankas-war-crimes
    "The man is young, naked, bound and blindfolded; a corpse lying across his legs. A soldier approaches him in what appears to be Sri Lankan army uniform and shoots him at point-blank range, apparently amused at the death. “It’s like he jumped,” he says.

    Chintaka Aluthgamage: They don't care what the West does
    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/chintaka-aluthgamage-they-dont-care-what-the-west-does-1786153.html

    Damilvany Gnanakumar witnessed Sri Lanka's bloody conflict from a Tamil hospital - then spent months detained in a camp. She tells Gethin Chamberlain her story
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/15/sri-lanka-war-on-tamil-tigers
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2009/sep/16/sri-lanka-tamil
    Atrocity Vacations in Sri Lanka
    http://humanitarianrelief.change.org/blog/view/atrocity_vacations_in_sri_lanka

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  • There are people who deny the holocaust. There are people who refuse to see what the Sri Lankan government is doing to the Tamil people. They are only interested in cheap clothing at the expense of the lives of the 300,000 Tamil people incarcerated in concentration camps surrounded by barbed wires and armed men with orders to shoot on site any escapees. The British public will not buy those garments made in Sri Lanka if they know the truth. That is why the Sri Lankan government does not allow anyone near the camps. No UN, No aid agencies, no humanitarian agencies are allowed into these camps. Ask yourselves why?

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  • The EU sanctions on Sri Lanka is a welcoming decision. In connection with the mass murders committed and about 300,000 civilians treated on no humanitarian grounds, I would say this sanction is an answer from EU. The world cannot bear and stay shut their mouths towards this kind of human rights denial and atrocities. Please lets the world's voice be clear and loud in order to avoid this happening again.

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