COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) – Sri Lanka on Sunday asked the United States to review its decision to prevent the entry of the head of the island nation’s army, who has been accused of serious human rights abuses during the civil war.
Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena convened the US ambassador Alaina B. Teplitz and formally transmitted the complaint from Sri Lanka, which considers that the measure “unnecessarily complicates the relationship” between the two countries.RELATED
Washington announced the measure on Friday against army chief Shavendra Silva saying there is “credible information about his involvement” in human rights violations during the final phase of the civil war that ended 11 years ago. The decision prevents Silva and his family from traveling to the United States.
Gunawardena reiterated on Sunday that “there were no proven accusations of human rights violations” against Silva, according to a statement from the Foreign Ministry.
In 2009, Silva was in charge of Division 58, which surrounded the last stronghold of the Tamil Tamil rebels in the last stages of the civil war where at least 100,000 people died. Human rights groups accuse the division of violating international laws, including the use of artillery to bomb a hospital and a UN facility, something Silva has denied. A United Nations investigation confirmed the stories.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement Friday that “the allegations of serious human rights violations against Shavendra Silva, documented by the United Nations and other organizations, are serious and credible.”