The Government has issued a Gazette Extraordinary banning the use of nuclear, chemical or biological weapons in Sri Lanka in accordance with the UN Regulations of 2017.
Regulations have been issued by Foreign Affairs Minister Tilak Marapana under the United Nations Act.
According to the regulations, anyone who “manufactures, acquires, possesses, develops, transports, transfers or uses nuclear, chemical or biological weapons” is liable to “imprisonment of a period not exceeding 20 years or a fine not exceeding Rs. 5 million or both,” after conviction by a High Court.
Any person or group that assists above mentioned activities also equates to committing the same offence according to the new regulations which is now in force and are liable to imprisonment of a period not exceeding five years or a fine not exceeding Rs.1 million or both following a conviction by the High Court.
Under the new regulation, individuals cannot make use of funds or financial assistance of any means to or for the benefit of manufacturing, acquiring, developing, transporting, transferring or use of chemical or biological weapons.
The Defence Minister is expected to appoint a Competent Authority for the implementation of the new regulations. This Competent Authority in consultation with law enforcement agencies and relevant institutions, will develop a plan for monitoring, compliance and enforcement of these regulations.
Simultaneously, the Government issued another Gazette Extraordinary on the same day imposing sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) in keeping with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions.
The regulations prohibit Sri Lankans here and abroad from providing or receiving assets, financial services, technical training, advice, services or assistance related to the provision, manufacture, production, possession, acquisition maintenance, stockpiling, storage, transportation, transfer or use of any items related to the nuclear programme to any person in North Korea. The sanctions apply until North Korea suspends all activities related to its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes and abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programmes which constitute a threat to international peace and security.
As per the regulations bunkering services, supplies, servicing, leasing or chartering of vessels or crew services of vessels to North Korea are also prohibited.
North Korean financial institutions will not be allowed to open new branches, subsidiaries or representative offices in Sri Lanka. The Competent Authority appointed to implement these regulations will have the authority to recommend to the Government the expulsion of North Korean diplomats.