Apply Global Human Rights sanctions regime on Sri Lanka

Apply Global Human Rights sanctions regime on Sri Lanka

The British Tamils Forum today welcomes the United Kingdom for imposing a Global Human Rights sanctions regime targeting those involved in some of the most serious human rights violations around the world.  BTF declared, “This new legal authority will help prevent human rights violations and will preclude those who have committed grave human rights violations from traveling freely and parking ill-gotten gains in this country.  We believe that those who committed mass atrocities against the Tamils in Sri Lanka during and after the war which ended in 2009 deserve to be similarly sanctioned.  We give below the names of some suspected perpetrators mentioned in the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Investigation on Sri Lanka report (OISL) said to have engaged in atrocity crimes.  Following on the initiative of former British Prime Minister David Cameron towards bringing about international independent investigation, and as recommended by former High Commissioner for Human Rights Council Zaid to apply universal jurisdiction, it will be considered appropriate for the present government to follow suit and apply sanctions on those listed below as an initial step.

  1. Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva

  2. Major General Sathyapriya Liyanage

  3. Major General Kamal Gunaratne

  4. Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe

  5. Major General Nanda Mallawarchcha

  6. Colonel G.V. Ravipriya

  7. Brigadier Prasanna Silva

  8. Major General Jagath Dias

  9. Gotabaya Rajapaksa

  10. Mahinda Rajapaksa

  11. Admiral Wasantha Kumar Jayadewa Karannagoda

  12. Admiral Thisara S. G. Samarasinghe

  13. Admiral Dissanayake Wijesinghe Arachchilage Somatilake Dissanayake

  14. Major General Jagath Jayasuriya

  15. Brigadier Nandana Udawatta

  16. Brigadier Chagie Gallage

  17. C.N.Wakishta

  18. General Sarath Fonseka


Out of the above in the list, it was against Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva and his family, the United States imposed sanctions on 14 February 2020 for gross violations of human rights crimes committed at final stages of the conflict in 2009, when more than 70,000 Tamil civilians were killed:

During the war, most of the above were under the command of Gotabaya Rajapaksa (9) who was then the defence secretary and is currently the President of Sri Lanka. Mahinda Rajapaksa (10) presided over the war as the President and currently the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.  A majority of all those named above are in executive positions in the present Government. Retrospectively viewed, the truth that comes to light paints a clear picture that everybody in the present Government today have Tamils’ blood on their hands. Sri Lanka had not only honoured its own commitment to the international community but had the blind audacity to withdraw from those obligations embedded in UNHRC resolution 30/1. It is British Tamils Forum’s expectation that the State itself be the target of British sanctions.

We will be working with the UK Government to add these human rights abusers to the list and will urge the full use of its authority for travel bans, asset freezes and restrictions on finance and trade.”

The sanctions are the first the UK has imposed independent of the European Union where the equivalent was called Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Act 2018.

The sanctions are parallel to a US law called the 2016 Global Magnitsky Act, strengthened by President Trump’s 2017 Executive Order 13818, which allows the imposition of sanctions on those who have committed grave violations within the past 5 years.  In 2017 Canada passed its own version of Magnitsky law known as the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act.

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