Canada Sanctions Sri Lanka Leaders over Human Rights Abuses on Tamils (2)

–Part of a CarrZee series on sustainable development, which is tied to human rights

Report by Mathew Carr

Jan. 10, 2023: Canada has sanctioned leaders of Sri Lanka for “systematic violations of human rights during Sri Lanka’s civil conflict, which occurred from 1983 to 2009.”

The ruling applies to certain members of the former-ruling Rajapaksa family. See below.

Human rights group International Truth & Justice Project issue this PRESS RELEASE: 10 JANUARY 2023


Sri Lankan victim communities and human rights activists applaud Canada for sanctioning the Rajapaksa brothers – Gotabaya and Mahinda – for their involvement in serious violations of human rights over decades.

“It is a big victory for survivors seeking justice and this sanction announcement gives us hope for our future,” said a Tamil man detained and tortured in Joseph Camp in 2012 in Sri Lanka.

“Thank you, Canada for considering our plight and taking this decisive action; we as survivors urge other countries to follow suit,” said another torture survivor.

Canada isn’t the first to level sanctions against the country.

Almost three years ago, snip of the Guardian:

US imposes sanctions on Sri Lankan army chief over war crimes

  •  Shavendra Silva blacklisted for ‘gross human rights violations’
  • Up to 70,000 Tamils killed during final stages of civil war

Here is the unedited government statement (plus our earlier story, below).

2023: Sanctions imposed on Sri Lankan state officials

From: Global Affairs Canada


Canada is imposing sanctions against the following individuals who committed gross and systematic violations of human rights during Sri Lanka’s civil conflict, which occurred from 1983 to 2009.

Canadian measures

The Special Economic Measures (Sri Lanka) Regulations impose on listed persons a prohibition on any transaction (effectively, an asset freeze) by prohibiting persons in Canada and Canadians outside Canada from engaging in any activity related to any property of these listed persons or providing financial or related services to them. The individuals listed in the Schedule to the Regulations are also rendered inadmissible to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

The specific prohibitions are set out in the Regulations.

The names of the individuals added to the Schedule of the Regulations are the following:

  • Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa
  • Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa
  • Staff Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake
  • Lieutenant Commander Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi

sri lanka country flag
Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi on

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