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Sri Lanka expresses strong objection to travel restrictions by US on its army chief

Sri Lanka has expressed strong objection to the imposition of travel restrictions on its army chief Lt. Gen. Silva and his immediate family by the US. A statement by Sri Lankan foreign ministry last night reiterated the government’s stance that Lt. Gen. 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 statement came soon after the US Department of State designated General Shavendra making him and his family members ineligible for entry into the United States.

The Army Chief has certain war crime allegations leveled against him during the three-decades LTTE war but the Government of Sri Lanka has said such allegations are based on independently unverified information. It said the timing of the imposition of travel restriction, 6 months after Gen. Silva’s appointment, is concerning.

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

US state department has said the allegations of gross human rights violations against General Silva, documented by the United Nations and other organizations, are serious and credible. The appointment as army commander in August drew sharp criticism from the US and United Nations, which later suspended the Sri Lankan army from its peacekeeping operations.

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