On 5 December 2012, the European Union (EU) and UN-Habitat signed an agreement to assist 4,000 families in North and East Sri Lanka to rebuild permanent houses in their villages of origin. This commitment builds on the success of past and ongoing EU-funded housing programmes undertaken in close cooperation with the Government of Sri Lanka, Implementing Partners and other local stakeholders.
The Divisional hospital of Echchilampattu recently unveiled additional facilities upgraded with the grant support of the European Union together with German Red Cross.
Rice prices have been rising in the last months but stabilized in January while wheat flour prices, although remained stable, were very high, mainly due to import dependence.
Although food security has improved, poor groups particularly children suffer from high levels of malnutrition. Agencies are concerned over a serious food security situation.
A significant milestone was achieved on 3 rd February 2012 with the official handover of upgraded health facilities in Thoppur Rural Hospital, Mutur in Eastern Sri Lanka with funding by the European Union (EU) through the Red Cross.
3149th FOREIGN AFFAIRS Council meeting
Brussels, 27 February 2012
The Council adopted the following conclusions:
"1. Ahead of the 19th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC), the EU reaffirms its strong support to the Human Rights Council and welcomes the progress made in performing its mandate over the last year.
Brussels, 23 February 2012
6875/12 PRESSE 66
The EU believes that the end of the conflict has offered a historic opportunity to achieve a peaceful and stable future for the people of Sri Lanka. Genuine reconciliation among all groups and communities in this country is essential and this requires justice and accountability for past events. The EU notes the view of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) that the root cause of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka lay in the failure of successive Governments to address the genuine grievances of the Tamil people.
The EU SEM (European Union Support to Socio Economic Development) is a Programme aimed to support the sustainable development of Socio Economic Measures in North and East of Sri Lanka. A sum of EUR 16 million (LKR 2.4 billion) in grant funding has been allocated for this program, which was adopted in 2011 and will last throughout 2014. The EU-SEM programme targets the populations in the North and East, while majority of the activities will be concentrated in the Districts of Mullaitivu and Killinochchi where the needs are the highest.
COLOMBO, February 3, 2012 – Vulnerable communities in North East Sri Lanka are to benefit from a new school and health centre, funded by the European Union through UNICEF.
The new health centre is to play a key role in tackling malnutrition among children aged below five as well as the high levels of anaemia among women. Up to 900 students are to benefit from proper education through the newly opened school.
Significant rise in wheat and rice prices are observed due to international price hikes and damage to crops caused by recent floods. Nominal rice price may soon approach the level observed in 2008.
Food security is deteriorating due to extensive damage to crops and livelihoods. Different agencies are assisting the affected population with food and non food items distributions.
The two waves of floods in recent months have affected over 2 million people in several districts of the country and displaced some 700,000 people.
Brussels, 10 May 2011
The EU considers that the publication of the report of the UN Secretary-General Panel of Experts on accountability in Sri Lanka is an important development. It will be recalled that the EU had welcomed the appointment of the Panel by the UNSG in June 2010.
The European Parliamentary Delegation for relations with South Asia, led by Ms. Jean Lambert (Greens, European Free Alliance, UK) visited the EU funded permanent housing project for conflicted affected IDPs in Vavuniya on the 23rd February 2011. On the day, the 7 member delegation visited Menik Farm village, Vavuniya DS where 109 houses were constructed by implementing partner Arbeiter- Samariter- Bund (ASB) for over 436 beneficiaries previously living in temporary and or semi permanent accommodation.
In Colombo, rice and wheat prices shot up between September and December 2010.
The repatriation process of IDPs and refugees from outside the country is ongoing and will increase significantly in following months.
Agencies agree that the food security situation in the country is serious and that conditions were particularly made worse by recent floods.
The Government lifted price control on rice.
- Prices of rice and wheat significantly decreased in recent months however they are still much higher than pre-food crisis levels.
- The political situation has stabilized and the government in collaboration with UNHCR is supporting the return of refugees to conflict-affected areas.
- There is general consensus among agencies on a severe problem of hunger in the short and longer term.
Japan - EU cooperation in Afghanistan
8. Japan and the EU reconfirmed their intention to work together - and in active partnership with the Afghan government, the United Nations (UN) and other international partners - to promote a secure, stable and prosperous future for the people of Afghanistan. They welcomed their successful cooperation on the ground with the Provincial Reconstruction Teams.
The current retail prices of rice and wheat remain higher than the pre- food crisis levels of 2007.
Large proportions of IDPs are likely to remain in refugees camps due to obstacles to their return to their places of origins.
Different agencies agree that food insecurity remains a problem for a large sector of the population, particularly IDPs.
The government has implemented measures to support consumers.
EU Member States decided to withdraw preferential tariff benefits to Sri Lanka under a special incentive arrangement for sustainable development and good governance, known as GSP+.
Summary: 20 January 2010 - Statement by High Representative Catherine Ashton on Sri Lanka's, where pre-election violence is increasing.
"The High Representative of the European Union is deeply concerned by mounting pre-electoral violence in Sri Lanka, which has already caused deaths and numerous injured. She recalls the EU's firm conviction that a peaceful environment is an essential prerequisite to free and fair elections.
Summary: 27 October 2009, Luxembourg - At today's Council of the European Union meeting, the foreign ministers adopted a plan to strengthen EU action in Afghanistan and Pakistan and to make it more effective. In addition, the Council expressed its concern over the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka.
The Council adopted the following conclusions:
"1. The EU has continued to keep the situation in Sri Lanka under close attention and, as stated before, wishes to engage with the Government of Sri Lanka in a meaningful dialogue towards a new relationship in which both sides seek to cooperate to resolve progressively the principal issues of concern.
Parliament adopted three urgent resolutions on the need for the EU to impose sanctions further to the violent repression of a demonstration in Guinea Conakry, the abolition of the death penalty in Iran, and access for humanitarian organisations to the 250,000 civilians displaced by the civil war and held in camps in Sri Lanka.
Further to the military junta's violent repression of a demonstration for democracy, MEPs call in a resolution for the EU to impose sanctions (including an arms embargo) against this West African country.