Ottawa: Canada has imposed sanctions against four Sri Lankan state officials including former Presidents Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Mahinda Rajapaksa for "gross and systematic violations of human rights" during the armed conflict in the island nation, which occurred from 1983 to 2009, an official release of the Government of Canada said.

Along with the Rajapaksa brothers, Staff Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake and Lt Commander Chandana P Hettiarachchithe were also being put under sanctions.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, Melanie Joly, announced on Tuesday that the country has imposed targeted sanctions under regulations pursuant to the Special Economic Measures Act against four Sri Lankan state officials responsible for gross and systematic violations of human rights during the armed conflict in Sri Lanka, which occurred from 1983 to 2009.

"The regulations pursuant to the Special Economic Measures Act impose on listed persons a dealings prohibition, which would effectively freeze any assets they may hold in Canada and render them inadmissible to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act," the official release of Global Affairs Canada, a department of the Government of Canada read.

Despite continued calls from Canada and the international community to address accountability, the Government of Sri Lanka has taken limited meaningful and concrete action to uphold its human rights obligations which jeopardizes progress on justice for affected populations and prospects for peace and reconciliation, the release added.

Justice must be served to the victims and survivors of flagrant human rights crimes. For this reason, Canada keeps urging Sri Lanka to follow through on its promise to create an effective accountability system, which is why these sanctions send a clear message that Canada will not accept continued impunity for those that have committed gross human rights violations in Sri Lanka.

According to the official news release, Canada will continue to collaborate alongside international partners, including through relevant multilateral bodies to advocate for human rights and accountability in Sri Lanka, which is an important step toward securing a safe, peaceful and inclusive future for the country.

Canada, as part of the Core Group on Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council, will continue to advocate for the full implementation of resolution 51/1 and support efforts toward attaining accountability and peace on the island.

Moreover, Canada supports efforts toward urgent political and economic reforms to alleviate the hardships faced by the people in Sri Lanka.

"Over the past four decades, the people of Sri Lanka have suffered a great deal due to the armed conflict, economic and political instability, and gross violations of human rights. Canada is steadfast in its support to attain peace, reconciliation, justice and accountability on the island. Canada has taken decisive action today to end international impunity against violators of international law. Canada stands ready to support Sri Lanka's path to peace, inclusion and prosperity through the advancement of accountability, reconciliation, and human rights, including international assistance to address the domestic crisis," Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, Melanie Joly said.

Canada announced USD 3 million to the appeals launched by the United Nations and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to address immediate needs in Sri Lanka as the country is under a severe humanitarian crisis.

The funds will be allocated to address issues like food security and livelihoods, shelter and non-food items, as well as nutritional assistance and primary healthcare services for vulnerable children and women.

Canada has also readjusted ongoing international assistance projects to address pressing needs, providing support, for instance, to the World Health Organization for the procurement of essential medical equipment and supplies, the official release added.