The Sri Lankan government has denounced the United States’ move to blacklist the Governor of North Western Province in Sri Lanka, Wasantha Karannagoda.

Foreign Affairs Minister Ali Sabry has expressed grave concerns associated with the decision to US Ambassador Julie Chung today (April 27).

The Sri Lankan government says such unilateral move by the United States without following the due process is “counter-productive” to the “holistic approach” that the island nation has taken on addressing national unity and reconciliation.

“It is also unfortunate that the announcement emanates against the backdrop of tangible progress made by the Government in strengthening the country’s democratic governance and reconciliation structures.”

The Sri Lankan government notes that, despite these challenges, it will continue its ongoing efforts to achieve reconciliation, economic recovery and socio-economic development.

The United States, on Thursday (April 27), banned Karannagoda and his family from entering the country over alleged gross violation of human rights.

Karannagoda was designated pursuant to Section 7031(c) of the US Department of State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs Appropriations Act 2023, “due to his involvement in a gross violation of human rights during his tenure as Naval Commander.”

As a result of the move, “Karannagoda and his wife, Srimathi Ashoka Karannagoda, are ineligible for entry into the United States,” the statement read further.

According to the US State Department, the allegation that Karannagoda committed a gross violation of human rights, documented by NGOs and independent investigations, is “serious and credible”.

It says the move to designate Karannagoda reaffirms the United States’ 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.

“The bilateral relationship between the United States and the Government of Sri Lanka is based on 75 years of shared history, values, and a commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.  As we continue to build our bilateral relationship, we are committed to working with the Sri Lankan government on advancing justice, accountability, and reconciliation, including promoting security reform that maintains human rights at the forefront while ensuring Sri Lanka has the resources and training to properly address emerging security concerns,” the statement concluded.

Meanwhile, State Secretary Antony Blinken tweeted that the United States continues to seek truth and justice for the victims of the Sri Lankan civil war.

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