The British High Commission in Sri Lanka said a new British sanctions regime was “an important new tool" for "tackling serious human rights violations and defending the rules-based international system”, as more sanctions are expected to be announced in the coming months.
The UK Global Human Rights sanctions regime, which was announced by the British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab yesterday, imposed sanctions on 49 individuals and organisations involved in notorious human rights abuses in recent years.
"The UK is committed to tackling serious human rights violations and defending the rules-based international system," said the High Commission. "The UK Global Human Rights sanctions regime, established yesterday, is an important new tool for delivering this work."
Raab told the BBC that the list is under "constant review", and the British government was "working already on the on further designations that can be made in due course”.
“It is the first time that the UK has sanctioned people or entities for human rights violations and abuses under a UK-only regime, and will allow the UK to work independently with allies such as the US, Canada, Australia and the European Union,” said a British press release.
Earlier this year, Sri Lankan army chief Shavendra Silva was barred from travel to the United States over his role in overseeing war crimes. At the time, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said there was “credible information of his involvement, through command responsibility, in gross violations of human rights”.
The British High Commission also announced that it visited Jaffna last week “to talk about elections, development and security issues”.