The possible punishments that may follow the Sri Lanka government’s alleged ‘inability and unwillingness’ might include greater pressure by the UN HRC on UN member States to initiate “targeted sanctions, such as asset freezes and travel bans against credibly alleged perpetrators of grave human rights violations and abuses”. Perpetrators could include a wide range of State officials, members of the Cabinet who failed to prevent human rights violations, prosecutors and judges who fail to uphold human rights obligations etc.
Going by past United States practices in this regard, targeted sanctions could extend to members of the family of the alleged perpetrators as well. Extending targeted sanctions to innocent family members need not come as a surprise to Sri Lanka, because of its own record of having arrested and detained immediate family members for months alleging connections to the Easter Sunday attacks, some of whom were discharged at the instance of the Attorney General. In one case a tea exporter was discharged after nearly three years less three months in State custody! What is to be noted is that denial of visas may prevent suspected perpetrators of grave violations of human rights in Sri Lanka and members of the families from travelling to sanctioning countries for medical, educational or other purposes.