Sri Lanka summons Canadian ambassador over sanctions of high-ranking officials

OTTAWA — Sri Lanka has summoned Canada's envoy over Ottawa's decision to sanction four high-ranking officials for alleged human-rights breaches.

Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Ali Sabry issued a statement accusing Canada of caving to Tamil diaspora politics in sanctioning two former presidents and two military officers.

Ottawa announced Monday it was barring two former presidents from entry to Canada — Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who resigned last July, and his older brother Mahinda Rajapaksa.

They were in power when Sri Lanka's army defeated Tamil separatists who had waged a bloody, 26-year civil war with the country's majority Sinhalese population.

Canada is also sanctioning two military officers accused of aiding in a massacre and abductions during that conflict.

Sabry is urging Ottawa to "review the decision," saying sanctions were based on "unsubstantiated allegations" and "domestic political compulsions" and could hinder post-war reconciliation within the country.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 11, 2023.

The Canadian Press