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* Sri Lanka strongly objects to U.S. banning entry for Army Chief and his immediate family
Sat, Feb 15, 2020, 12:27 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 14, Colombo: Responding to the United States State Department decision to ban Sri Lanka Army Chief and his immediate family from entering the U.S. over war crime allegations, the government of Sri Lanka said it strongly objects the U.S. action, based on independently unverified information.

The Government reiterated 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.

The Government requested the United States to verify the authenticity of the sources of information and to review its decision.

Full statement by Ministry of Foreign Relations Sri Lanka

It was announced a short while ago that the US Department of State has designated Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, current Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and Acting Chief of Defense Staff and his immediate family members. The public designation makes them ineligible for entry into the United States.

The Government of Sri Lanka takes strong objection to the imposition of travel restrictions on Lt. Gen. Silva and his immediate family members by the Government of the United States, based on independently unverified information.

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 as the Acting Chief of Defense Staff by the current Head of State President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, was on account of his being the senior most serving military officer.

While the timing of the imposition of this travel restriction 6 months after Lt. Gen. Silva’s appointment as Army Commander is concerning, 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.

The Government of Sri Lanka requests the United States to verify the authenticity of the sources of information and to review its decision.

 

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