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PEARL welcomes US sanctions on Sri Lankan soldiers and encourages the sanctioning of other high ranking officials

People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL) welcomed the US sanctions on two Sri Lankan military officials for human rights violations and encouraged "the sanctioning of further high ranking officials" who are accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

Last week, the US barred both Chandana Hettiarachchi, a Sri Lankan naval intelligence officer, involved in the ‘Trinco 11’ disappearances and Sunil Ratnayake, a soldier guilty of murdering at least 8 Tamils, from entering the US. 

In a statement, PEARL welcomed the "renewed focus" on Sri Lanka from the US but stated that "it is imperative that lessons are learned from past failures."

"The Sri Lankan state regularly makes promises and commitments regarding accountability to ease international pressure, without truly addressing its crimes," the US based advocacy organisation said. 

In 2015, under the Sirisena govenmenrt, Sri Lanka co-sponsored United Nations resolution 30/1 and promised to establish a hybrid court and a truth commission, among other transitional justice mechanisms. This move was hailed by the international community, including the US. However, Sri Lanka reneged on their promises and transitional mechanisms such as the Office of Missing Persons were flawed.

PEARL also called on the US to support "internationalised justice mechanisms and the exercise of universal jurisdiction" to hold perpetrators of human rights violations accountable.

"Any mechanisms that are put in place must be effective, closely reported and monitored, and have sufficient safeguards in place to ensure durability, non-rescission and continuous pressure on the government," they added. 

Read PEARL's full statement here

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