Govt. takes strong objection | Sunday Observer
US travel restrictions on Gen. Shavendra Silva

Govt. takes strong objection

The Government has taken strong objection to the United States imposing travel restrictions on the Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and Acting Chief of Defence Staff Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva and his immediate family members over allegations of ‘gross violations of human rights’.

In an official statement issued on Friday (14) night, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs called upon the United States to verify the accuracy of its ‘sources of information’ and review its decision.

It is believed that the President had met the US Ambassador at his residence yesterday but the details of their discussion was not made public.

The United States imposed a ban on Lt. Gen. Silva and his immediate family from entering the States based on allegations documented by the United Nations and other organisations.

“The Government reiterates that Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva was appointed as the Commander of the Army by the then Head of State, taking into account his seniority and that there were no substantiated or proven allegations of human rights violations against him.

His elevation to the post of Acting Chief of Defence Staff by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, was on account of his being the senior most serving military officer,” according to Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry statement.

It added, “While the timing of the imposition of this travel restriction six months after Lt. Gen. Silva’s appointment as Army Commander it is disappointing that a foreign government should question the prerogative of the democratically elected President to call upon persons with proven expertise to hold key positions on national security related matters”.

United States Secretary of State Micheal R. Pompeo in a tweet on Friday said, “I am designating Shavendra Silva making him ineligible for entry into the U.S. due to his involvement in extrajudicial killings during Sri Lanka’s civil war. The U.S. will not waver in its pursuit of accountability for those who commit war crimes and violate human rights.”