ATC welcomes the travel ban imposed by the US on Commander of the Sri Lankan army, Shavendra Silva, and his family.

The Australian Tamil Congress (ATC) welcomes the travel ban imposed by the Unites States of America (USA) on Commander of the Sri Lankan army, Shavendra Silva, and his family.  

The USA cites Silva’s command responsibility for “gross violations of human rights, namely extrajudicial killings, by the 58th division of the Sri Lanka army during the final phase of Sri Lanka’s civil war in 2009” as reasons for his travel ban.  

The ATC calls on the Australian government to take similar steps in acknowledging command responsibility by Sri Lankan political and military personnel who have mounting evidence of mass atrocity crimes against them.

 Most recently, on 14 January 2020, the Australian Defence Attaché at the High Commission of Australia in Sri Lanka and Australian military personnel joined Silva at an event. With Silva’s responsibility for gross violations of human rights being acknowledged by the USA, the ATC calls on the Australian government and military to cease such close relationships with an alleged war criminal.

 The ATC notes that in 2013 media reports had claimed that Major General Jagath Dias of the Sri Lankan Army was denied a visa to Australia due to allegations of war crimes.    

The ATC believes that though the Silva’s travel ban by the USA is a small step towards acknowledging the injustices faced by Tamils, justice for victims and survivors of mass atrocity crimes, and their families can only be achieved by holding perpetrators of these crimes accountable. To that end the ATC continues to call for an international independent investigation into mass atrocity crimes in Sri Lanka.