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British MP calls on UK government to apply sanctions on alleged war criminal Shavendra Silva

Stephen Timms, MP for Eastham, called for Sri Lanka’s Army Commander Shavendra Silva to be sanctioned under the UK Global Sanctions Regime, for his involvement in the gross violation of human rights at the end of the armed conflict. 

“We should use it to sanction those guilty of war crimes in Sri Lanka. The US rightly designated army commander Shavendra Silva,” Timms stated.  

“He led the ground assault on the beaches of Mullivaikkal at the end of the war, attacking civilians, hospitals, medical staff and No Fire Zones. We should sanction him too.” 

Silva was the head of Sri Lanka’s notorious 58 Division, an army unit that committed grave violations of international law, when the state’s forces launched a military offensive that killed tens of thousands of Tamils. 

The 58 Division stands accused of the most egregious of crimes, including the repeated bombing of hospitals, widespread sexual violence, torture and the execution of surrendering Tamils. 

See more on Shavendra Silva here: US bans Sri Lanka's army chief from entry over war crimes. 

Despite the credible accusations, Silva was promoted to head Sri Lanka’s army in August 2019. 

Following his appointment, the US announced that Silva was “ineligible” for entry into the US “due to credible information on his involvement, through command responsibility, in gross violations of human rights.” 

Tamil activists and organisations have been calling on the British Foreign Office to impose Magnitsky Sanctions against Silva for his role in mass atrocities. 


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