Image: Karannagoda is a trusted family friend of Rajapaksas.
The United States of America has imposed a ban on former Navy Commander and governor of the North Western Province of Sri Lanka. Wasantha Karannagoda and his wife, Srimathi Ashoka Karannagoda to entry into the United States. the statement bu the US State Department says that “the allegation that Wasantha Karannagoda committed a gross human rights violation, documented by NGOs and independent investigations, is serious and credible. “
The statement in full:
The United States is designating Wasantha Karannagoda, Governor of North Western Province in Sri Lanka, pursuant to Section 7031(c) of the 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 a Naval Commander. As a result of today’s action, Karannagoda and his wife, Srimathi Ashoka Karannagoda, are ineligible for entry into the United States.
The allegation that Wasantha Karannagoda committed a gross human rights violation, documented by NGOs and independent investigations, is serious and credible. By designating Wasantha Karannagoda, the United States reaffirms its 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.
Mean while issuing statement Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that
“Sri Lanka rejects designation by the U.S. of Admiral of the Fleet Wasantha Karannagoda”
Sri Lanka regrets the decision by the U.S. to designate Admiral of the Fleet Wasantha Karannagoda, the present Governor of the North Western Province, on 26 April 2023.
Foreign Minister Ali Sabry expressed Sri Lanka’s grave concerns associated with this decision to the U.S. Ambassador Julie Chung on 27 April 2023.
As a longstanding bilateral partner of Sri Lanka, such unilateral action by the U.S. without following due process is counter-productive to the holistic approach that Sri Lanka 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.
Despite these challenges, Sri Lanka will continue in its ongoing efforts to achieve reconciliation, economic recovery and socio-economic development.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
27 April 2023