US imposes sanctions on Sri Lankan Army Chief over human rights violations during civil war

Washington D.C [US], Feb 15 (ANI): The US on Friday (local time) said it has imposed sanctions on Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, current Commander of the Sri Lanka Army for his involvement in gross violations of human rights during the final phase of Sri Lanka's civil war in 2009.

"The Department of State has designated Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, current Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and Acting Chief of Defense Staff, as required under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, due to credible information of his involvement, through command responsibility, in gross violations of human rights, namely extrajudicial killings, by the 58th Division of the Sri Lanka Army during the final phase of Sri Lanka's Civil War in 2009," US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

In addition to the public designation of Shavendra Silva, the Department is also designating his immediate family members, the US Secretary of State said.

The designation makes Silva and his immediate family ineligible for entry to the United States.

Pompeo said the allegations of gross human rights violations against Shavendra Silva, documented by the United Nations and other organizations, are "serious and credible."

"His designation underscores the importance we place on human rights in Sri Lanka and globally, our concern over impunity for human rights violations and abuses, as well as our support for promoting accountability for those who engage in such acts," the top US diplomat said.

He also urged the Sri Lankan government to promote human rights, hold accountable individuals responsible for war crimes and human rights violations, advance security sector reform, and uphold its other commitments to pursue justice and reconciliation.

Stressing that his country deeply values its partnership with the Sri Lankan government, Pompeo said the United States remains committed to strengthening the bilateral relationship with Sri Lanka and helping reshape its security forces to tackle current and emerging threats.

"Security cooperation will continue to emphasize respect for human rights as a fundamental component of our training, assistance, and engagements," he said. (ANI)