The Sri Lanka government said Friday that it strongly objects to the imposition of travel restrictions on Lt. Gen. Silva and his immediate family by the US.
The US Department of State announced it is barring Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, current Commander of the Sri Lanka Army and Acting Chief of Defense Staff and his immediate family members, from entering the United States as a result of human rights accusations in 2009 related to the country’s civil war.
“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 Sri Lanka government said in a statement.
“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 Defence Staff by the current Head of State President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, was on account of his being the senior most serving military officer,” the statement continued.
The Sri Lanka government said that 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 is requesting the United States to verify the authenticity of the sources of information and to review its decision.