Sri Lanka’s embassy in Washington DC has reportedly called on its Sri Lankan diaspora in the United States to mobilise and lobby against a travel ban imposed on the head of its army Shavendra Silva, over his involvement in war crimes.
Emails sent out within hours of the ban, which was announced on Friday evening, reportedly said the move was “extremely unfortunate” and that the embassy “appreciates your valuable support in expressing your concern on this disappointing decision by reaching out to Senators, Congressional members and other relevant Government officials as deemed appropriate". Several users shared screenshots of emails purportedly from the Sri Lankan embassy on social media, however, the embassy has yet to release any official response to the ban.
The US move has sparked condemnation from leading Sinhala parties on the island, including the Sri Lankan government and opposition, who have vowed to stand by Silva. Earlier today, an opposition parliamentarian called for a boycott of the USA in response.
Meanwhile Tamil groups around the world, and in the North-East, have widely welcomed the ban as a step towards accountability for the tens of thousands of Tamils killed by a Sri Lankan military offensive more than a decade ago.