Colombo, April 27: The United States State Department said that it is designating Wasantha Karannagoda, Governor of North Western Province in Sri Lanka, and his wife, Srimathi Ashoka Karannagoda, as ineligible for entry into the United States.
The statement said that this decision was pursuant to Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2023.
It further said that the declaration was 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 state department said 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.
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, the Foreign Minister Ali Sabry told American Ambassador Julie Chung.
He expressed “grave concerns associated with this decision.”
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, the Foreign Minister said.
“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,” a Foreign Ministry press release said.