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Divided island – Tamil and Sinhala response to US travel ban

Following the United States’ announcement that the head of Sri Lanka’s army was subject to a travel ban over his involvement in mass atrocities, there have been markedly contrasting responses from Sinhala and Tamil actors on the island and beyond.

A statement released by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Shavendra Silva and his immediate family are now “are ineligible for entry into the United States… due to credible information of his involvement, through command responsibility, in gross violations of human rights”.

 

Sri Lankan response

The Sri Lankan government, opposition parliamentarians and the Sinhala Buddhist clergy have all been outraged at the sanction, with one parliamentarian calling for a boycott of the United States, whilst another accused Washington of being “the number one war criminal in the world”.

See a selection of Sri Lankan responses below.

US is ‘number one war criminal’ says Sri Lankan MP

Sinhala Buddhist monks join Sri Lankan outrage at travel ban on army chief

Sri Lanka’s embassy in Washington calls on diaspora to mobilise against sanctions

Sri Lankan opposition MP calls for ‘boycott of USA’ after travel ban

Sri Lanka denounces travel ban on army chief in meeting with US

Premadasa vows to ‘stand by’ Sri Lankan army chief barred over war crimes

US Ambassador summoned to Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry over travel ban on army chief

Sri Lankan government 'takes strong objection' to army chief's travel ban

 

Tamil response

Meanwhile Tamil groups in the North-East and around the world, including the Tamil National Alliance and the former Chief Minister of the Northern Province have welcomed the move, and called for other governments around the world to follow suit.

See a selection of Tamil responses below.

Wigneswaran applauds US travel ban on Shavendra Silva and calls on other countries to follow suit

Australian Tamil Congress commends Shavendra's US travel ban and urges Australia action

TNA hail decision to bar Sri Lankan army chief US entry

US sanctions against Sri Lankan army chief welcomed by PEARL

 

Read more on Shavendra Silva and on the US travel ban in our feature:

 

US bans Sri Lanka’s army chief from entry over war crimes