The US 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 Michael R. Pompeo said.
Section 7031(c) provides that, in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that foreign officials have been involved in a gross violation of human rights or significant corruption, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States.
The law also requires the Secretary of State to publicly or privately designate such officials and their immediate family members. In addition to the public designation of Shavendra Silva, the Department is also designating his immediate family members.
The allegations of gross human rights violations against Shavendra Silva, documented by the United Nations and other organizations, are serious and credible, Pompeo said.
“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. We urge 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,” Pompeo said.
Pompeo said that the US deeply value its partnership with the Sri Lankan Government and the long-standing democratic tradition they share with the Sri Lankan people and 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,” Pompeo said.
The United States says it will continue to use all available tools and authorities, as appropriate, to address human rights violations and abuses around the world no matter when they occurred or who perpetrated them.
Pompeo said today’s actions underscore US commitment to support human rights, promote accountability for perpetrators, and encourage reconciliation in support of a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette)