Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa today requested the Government to lift a travel ban on Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, current Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and Acting Chief of Defense Staff.
Speaking in Parliament today, Premadasa said that the request must be put to US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo during his visit to Sri Lanka next week.
He requested Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena to raise the matter during face to face talks with Pompeo next week.
In February the US Department of State had 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.
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 also designated his immediate family members. (Colombo Gazette)