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US sanctions against Sri Lankan army chief welcomed by PEARL

People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL) welcomes the travel ban imposed on Sri Lankan army chief, Shavendra Silva and his family by the US government.

"This sends an important message to those who committed war crimes with impunity, not only in Sri Lanka, but around the world, that the US will not tolerate their presence. This is a small, but significant, step. The designation crucially validates Tamil victims and survivors of atrocity crimes to continue the fight for justice,"  the organisation said in a statement.

The statement also highlighted that other senior Sri Lankan officials, including current President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Kamal Gunaratne "are implicated in war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide."

PEARL urges the US government to stand firm on accountability in its engagement with Sri Lanka and to "sanction other Sri Lankan officials suspected of having committed war crimes, to utilise and support universal jurisdiction to prosecute people, and to support international efforts and avenues towards justice for Tamils."

The US State Department has announced the head of Sri Lanka’s army Shavendra Silva has been barred from entering the USA “due to credible information of his involvement, through command responsibility, in gross violations of human rights”.

A statement released by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Silva and his immediate family are now are ineligible for entry into the United States”.

“The allegations of gross human rights violations against Shavendra Silva, documented by the United Nations and other organizations, are serious and credible, said Pompeo.

Read PEARL's full statement here