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Tamil diaspora demands sanctions on Sri Lanka war criminals

In an open letter, several global Tamil diaspora organisations have called on their respective governments to impose targeted travel bans and asset freezes on high-ranking Sri Lankan war criminals and their family members.

The letter calls on these countries to follow the lead of the United States which has already imposed a travel ban on the head of Sri Lanka’s army Shavendra Silva due to grave concerns of human rights abuses.

In December, the US imposed further sanctions on 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, preventing them from entering the US.

A few weeks later it was suspected that Sri Lankan General Udaya Perera was also subject to a travel ban when he was prevented from making a flight from Singapore to Los Angeles.

The Sri Lankan army stands accused of grievous human rights abuses including torture, sexual violence, extrajudicial killings, and genocide.

The letter urges for a ban to be extended to the following individuals and for the perpetrators to be tried under universal jurisdiction.

“Shying away from the public ban of the Sri Lankan war criminals will allow Sri Lanka to continue its structural genocide of the Tamil people with impunity. It is the moral responsibility of the respective governments to hold Sri Lanka accountable and guarantee non-recurrence as emphasized in the resolution 46/1 adopted at the 46th sessions of the UNHRC in March 2021” the letter concludes.

The letter was signed by the Australian Tamil Congress (ATC); British Tamils Forum (BTF); Irish Tamils Forum (ITF); Maison du Tamil Eelam (France); National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT); Solidarity Group for Peace and Justice (SGPJ - South Africa); Swiss Tamil Action Group (STAG); Tamil Movement Against Genocide (Mauritius); United States Tamil Action Group (USTAG)

Read the full letter here.

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