Today: Wednesday, 8 February 2023 year

Sri Lanka has protested to Canada over sanctions against ex-presidents.

Sri Lanka has protested to Canada over sanctions against ex-presidents.

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Ali Sabri summoned Canadian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Eric Walsh to protest the sanctions against former presidents Mahinda and Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

“During the meeting, Foreign Minister Ali Sabri said that the imposition of sanctions on the two former presidents of Sri Lanka is an inappropriate act at this critical juncture. He further noted that the sanctions were imposed at a time when the country is embroiled in deeply political reforms to resolve outstanding issues and achieve reconciliation,” the source said.

Sabri added that Canada’s move was futile and would polarize Sri Lankan communities.

Yesterday, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie announced that Canada had imposed sanctions on four Sri Lankan government officials, including former presidents Gotabaya and Mahinda Rajapaksa. Sanctions were imposed on ex-presidents for allegedly being responsible for gross and systematic violations of human rights during the armed conflict in Sri Lanka, which took place from 1983 to 2009.


Regulations enacted under the Special Economic Measures Act ban listed individuals from transactions, effectively freeze any assets they may hold in Canada, and bar them from entering Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.


Mahinda Rajapaksa was president of Sri Lanka in 2009 when the country’s armed forces defeated the Tamil Eelam Liberation Tigers after more than 25 years of war. His brother Gotabaya Rajapaksa was then the Minister of Defense, and later – from November 2019 to July 2022 – was the President of the country.