EDA Criticizes Lack Of Rule Of Law In Proceedings Against Local Employees Of The Swiss Embassy In Sri Lanka

December 17, 2019

An employee of the Swiss embassy in Colombo has been taken into custody today for alleged false statements. The FDFA is concerned about this decision. It demands that the Sri Lankan judicial authorities ensure that the personal rights of its employees are better protected and that national law and international standards are complied with in the further proceedings. The FDFA and the Swiss embassy in Colombo will continue to fulfill their responsibilities as employers and will support employees to the extent possible.

The local employee of the Swiss embassy was reportedly held in Colombo on November 25, 2019, against her will, in order to receive internal information. During the proceedings, the victim and the Swiss embassy cooperated fully with the Sri Lankan authorities. The FDFA has repeatedly requested compliance with the rule of law. In particular, the FDFA criticized the 30-hour survey over three days despite the poor health of the embassy staff and the public questioning of their descriptions by senior Sri Lankan officials before the end of the investigation.

After arresting its employees, the FDFA expects the Sri Lankan judiciary to comply with its own legal requirements, to comply with international standards for proper procedures and to protect personal rights better than before. As an employer, the FDFA requires the Sri Lankan authorities to perform their duties in accordance with applicable law and to take into account the unstable health of employees. Switzerland emphasizes that in this exemplary case, Sri Lanka's reputation as a constitutional state is at stake. The FDFA and the Swiss embassy in Colombo will continue to support their employees wherever possible.

The FDFA has repeatedly told the Sri Lankan authorities that it is looking for a common and constructive way to resolve the security incident. On December 16, 2019, the Swiss ambassador to Colombo also underlined this in a direct conversation with Sri Lanka's President Gotabaya Rajapakse.

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