Sri Lanka denounces US blacklisting of governor for human rights violations


In response to the United States’ decision to blacklist the Governor of North Western Province in Sri Lanka, Wasantha Karannagoda, the Sri Lankan government has expressed its grave concerns. Foreign Affairs Minister Ali Sabry has denounced the unilateral move by the US, stating that it is counter-productive to the holistic approach that the island nation has taken to address national unity and reconciliation.

Karannagoda and his family have been banned from entering the US on allegations of gross human rights violations during his tenure as Naval Commander. The US State Department has designated Karannagoda pursuant to Section 7031(c) of the US Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act 2023. The Sri Lankan government has noted that the US decision to blacklist Karannagoda is when the government has been making tangible progress in strengthening the country’s democratic governance and reconciliation structures.

The US State Department has stated that the allegations against Karannagoda committing a gross violation of human rights are serious and credible, and have been documented by NGOs and independent investigations. The move to blacklist Karannagoda reaffirms the US commitment to upholding human rights, ending impunity for human rights violators, acknowledging the suffering of victims and survivors, and promoting accountability for perpetrators in Sri Lanka.

State Secretary Antony Blinken has tweeted that the United States continues to seek truth and justice for the Sri Lankan civil war victims. The bilateral relationship between the United States and the Government of Sri Lanka, based on 75 years of shared history, values, and a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific, is focused on working towards justice, accountability, and reconciliation while promoting security reform that maintains human rights at the forefront. Despite the challenges, the Sri Lankan government has vowed to continue its ongoing efforts to achieve reconciliation, economic recovery, and socio-economic development.

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