Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Canada sanctions Sri Lanka’s Rajapaksa brothers over rights abuses

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Canada on Tuesday sanctioned four Sri Lankan state officials, including Mahinda and Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who are former presidents and also brothers, for human rights abuses committed during the island nation’s civil war.

A statement from Global Affairs Canada, the country’s foreign ministry, said, the four individuals were “responsible for gross and systematic violations of human rights during armed conflict in Sri Lanka, which occurred from 1983 to 2009”, which targeted the country’s minority Tamil population.

Mahinda Rajapaksa was in office when a no-holds-barred military campaign wiped out the Tamil Tigers separatist movement in 2009, while Gotabaya helmed the defence ministry.

International observers estimate that up to 40,000 civilians from the ethnic Tamil minority were killed during the war’s final months in an indiscriminate bombing and clearance campaign.

Top Sri Lankan military commanders have since been sanctioned and handed travel bans by Western nations, but Canada’s decision is the first targeting the two members of the powerful political clan.

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