Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, David Holly extended “goodwill and appreciation” towards the role of Sri Lankan armed forces against COVID-19, by gifting personal protection equipment (PPE) to accused war criminal, Shavendra Silva, reports army.lk.
Sri Lankan army commander, Shavendra Silva, is the head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCO) which was created to prevent the spread of the disease.
@AusHCSriLanka, HE David Holly called on the CDS & Commander of the @Sri_Lanka_Army Gen @SilvaShavendra today (03) @ the AHQ and gifted a large quantity of PPE to the army & frontline health workers.@SLinSydney @SLinAustralia @DailyNews_lk @DailyNews_lk @MFA_SriLanka pic.twitter.com/6G1C1FhGKW
— Sri Lanka Army (@Sri_Lanka_Army) June 3, 2021
Holly met with Silva to voice support for the Sri Lankan army and its contributions in managing the pandemic despite many human rights advocates voicing concern over the militarised response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Earlier this week, a COVID-19 treatment centre that was set up by the army in Vavuniya faced severe difficulties in coping with patient needs amidst bad weather. Families in the Vavuniya district are also close to starvation due to the military imposed travel ban and many have stated they have no access to electricity, drinking water or sanitation facilities.
The militarised COVID-19 response has seen increased incidents of intimidation, surveillance and harassment of Tamils across the North-East.
The Tamil Refugee Council has repeatedly criticised the Australian government for overlooking the “warnings that the political situation in Sri Lanka is deteriorating” and its silence on alleged human rights abuses may “aid its ongoing oppression and persecution of Tamils”.