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Tamil Diaspora groups welcome US travel ban on Sri Lankan soldiers and request other countries follow suit

Nine global Tamil Diaspora organizations welcomed the recent US decision to impose travel bans on two Sri Lankan Army officers for gross human rights violations, requesting other democratic countries follow suit.

In a statement, the group welcomed the travel ban levied on Chandana Hettiarachchi, Sunil Ratnayake and their immediate family. Hettiarachchi, a Sri Lankan naval intelligence officer, was involved in the ‘Trinco 11’ disappearances. Ratnayake, former Staff Sergeant in the Sri Lanka Army, was found guilty in the extrajudicial killings of at least eight Tamil villagers in December 2000

Read more here: US sanctions more Sri Lankan soldiers over war crimes

The groups also highlighted U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s decision to ban the head of the Sri Lankan Army, Shavendra Silva and his immediate family from entering the United States, “citing serious and credible evidence.” 

“We request all other like-minded and democratic countries to take the stand of the U.S. Targeted travel bans and asset freezes should be imposed on Gotabaya Rajapaksa and others under his command, who are alleged to have committed mass atrocity crimes as supported by credible evidence already recorded,” the groups went on to state. 

While recognizing that the imposed travel bans are “steps in the right direction to hold Sri Lanka accountable,” the Diaspora groups stressed the need for a “comprehensive effort in identifying all those responsible for the mass atrocity crimes committed against the Tamil people.”

“The request of victims for remedial justice and a permanent political solution has been kept unresolved despite seven-decades of genocide in the island of Sri Lanka,” the groups added. 

The undersigned Tamil Diaspora groups: Australian Tamil Congress (ATC), British Tamils Forum (BTF), Maison du Tamil Eelam (France), Irish Tamils Forum (ITF), 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 statement here.

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