Time For The UK To Sanction Sri Lanka’s Army Commander, War Criminal Shavendra Silva!

Time For The UK To Sanction Sri Lanka’s Army Commander, War Criminal Shavendra Silva!

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INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR PREVENTION AND PROSECUTION OF GENOCIDE (IGPPG) started this petition to Sanctions Department Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and

UK! SANCTION SRI LANKAN WAR CRIMINALS, INCLUDING GENERAL SHAVENDRA SILVA, UNDER THE UK’S GLOBAL HUMAN RIGHTS SANCTIONS REGIME!!

We, the undersigned victims of the Genocide against the Tamils being committed in Sri Lanka by the Sri Lankan state, supporters, and human rights activists, submit this petition to call upon the UK to sanction the notorious war criminal General Shavendra Silva, who is the current Acting Chief of Defence Staff and Commander of the Sri Lankan Army. 

We understand that The International Truth and Justice Project (ITJP), a credible human rights organization has compiled a 50-page dossier which it has submitted to the Sanctions Department of the UK’s Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) on General Shavendra Silva in April 2021. The submission argues why Silva, should be designated under the United Kingdom’s Global Human Rights (GHR) Sanctions Regime established on 6 July 2020.

The ITJP submission details General Shavendra Silva’s role in the perpetration of gross human rights violations including of the right to life when he was 58 Division commanders during the final phase of the civil war in 2009 in the north of Sri Lanka. It draws on searing eyewitness testimony from Tamils who survived the government shelling and bombing of hospitals and food queues in the so called No Fire Zones, many of whom now reside in the UK as refugees. The Submission also looks at Silva’s alleged involvement in torture and sexual violence, including rape, which is a priority area of the UK Government’s foreign policy.

“We have an extensive archive of evidence on the final phase of the civil war in Sri Lanka, meticulously collected by international prosecutors and lawyers. The testimony of victims and witnesses – many now in the UK – was vital in informing this Submission, and making the linkages to Shavendra Silva and those under his command,” said the organization’s executive director, Yasmin Sooka.

As you will know, General Shavendra Silva and his family were designated by the US Government in 2020 under the Appropriations Act because of credible information of his involvement, through command responsibility, in 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”.

In August 2019, the British High Commission in Colombo issued a joint statement alongside other European partners to express concern regarding the appointment of Shavendra Silva as Commander of the Sri Lankan Army due to the allegations of grave human rights and humanitarian law violations against him. You also expressed concern at the Human Rights Council in Geneva. However, it is very disappointing that no real action was taken yet.

"Now the UK has the requisite legislation. The remit of the UK sanctions regime works is broader and includes his role in the shelling of hospitals and other protected civilian sites during the military offensive. This is important in terms of recognizing the full extent of the violations, as well as supporting the US action" commented Ms. Sooka. "UK designation would be another significant step forward in terms of accountability and would be in line with the recent UN Human Rights Council Resolution passed in Geneva for which Britain was the penholder,” she added

Accordingly, we urge the FCDO to sanction Sri Lankan alleged war criminals, including the country’s notorious General Shavendra Silva, under the UK’s Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime.

We would respectfully remind you that the UK was the penholder for the latest UN resolution 46/1 in Geneva which mandated the collection of evidence, “to develop possible strategies for future accountability processes … and to support relevant judicial and other proceedings, including in Member States, with competent jurisdiction”. These strategies should include the use of targeted sanctions against individuals like Silva.

Thank you 

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