Canada imposes sanctions on four Sri Lankan officials including former presidents Mahinda and Gotabaya

(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) – Canada has imposed targeted sanctions on four Sri Lankan state officials including two former Presidents for human rights violations.

Accordingly former Presidents Mahinda Rajapaksa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Staff Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake and Lieutenant Commander Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi face sanctions imposed by the Commonwealth member.

A statement issued by the Global Affairs Canada said Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced that Canada imposes targeted sanctions under regulations pursuant to the Special Economic Measures Act against the four Sri Lankan state officials responsible for gross and systematic violations of human rights during armed conflict in Sri Lanka, which occurred from 1983 to 2009.

The regulations pursuant to the Special Economic Measures Act impose on listed persons a dealings prohibition, which would effectively freeze any assets they may hold in Canada and render them inadmissible to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

“Despite continued calls from Canada and the international community to address accountability, the Government of Sri Lanka has taken limited meaningful and concrete action to uphold its human rights obligations. This jeopardizes progress on justice for affected populations, and prospects for peace and reconciliation,” the statement said.

The statement said victims and survivors of gross human rights violations deserve justice. “That is why Canada continues to call on Sri Lanka to fulfill its commitment to establish a meaningful accountability process.”

“These sanctions send a clear message that Canada will not accept continued impunity for those that have committed gross human rights violations in Sri Lanka,” it added.

According to the Foreign Ministry, Canada will continue to collaborate alongside international partners, including through relevant multilateral bodies to advocate for human rights and accountability in Sri Lanka, which is an important step toward securing a safe, peaceful and inclusive future for the country.

Canada, as part of the Core Group on Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council will continue to advocate for the full implementation of resolution 51/1 and support efforts towards attaining accountability and peace on the island.

Canada said it supports efforts towards urgent political and economic reforms to alleviate the hardships faced by the people in Sri Lanka. We strongly encourage the Sri Lankan government to promote democracy, human rights and maintain the rule of law as it works to address this crisis.

In addition to today’s announcement, and in response to the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka, Canada announced $3 million to the appeals launched by the United Nations and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to address immediate needs, including food security and livelihoods, shelter and non-food items, as well as nutritional assistance and primary healthcare services for vulnerable children and women.

Canada has also readjusted ongoing international assistance projects to address pressing needs, providing support, for instance, to the World Health Organization for the procurement of essential medical equipment and supplies.


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