Sri Lanka Lifts Ban On GTF, BTF, TYO And Individuals

COLOMBO: By a gazette extraordinary issued on Friday, the Sri Lankan government lifted the ban on several outfits and individuals previously thought to have been working for the LTTE.

On March 21, 2014, 16 organizations and 424 individuals were proscribed under the UN Act No: 45 of 1968.

But the latest gazette notification bans only eight organizations and 155 individuals. 

In a NEW gazette notification dated 20th November 2015, the government amended the list it initially published in 21st of March 2014.

The DE-LISTED organizations are:

  • Global Tamil Forum (GTF);
  • British Tamil Forum (BTF);
  • National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT);
  • Tamil Youth Organization (TYO);
  • World Tamil Coordinating Committee (WTCC);
  • Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC);
  • Australian Tamil Congress (ATC);
  • Tamil National Council (TNC).

Organizations which are STILL BANNED are: the

  1. Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE);
  2. Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO);
  3. Tamil Coordinating Committee (TCC);
  4. World Tamil Movement (WTM);
  5. Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE);
  6. Tamil Eelam Peoples’ Assembly (TEPA);
  7. World Tamils’ Relief Fund (WTRF) and
  8. Headquarters Group (HQG).

Rationale for De-listing     

Enunciating the Srisena government’s policy on proscriptions, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera had said in parliament on March 18: “Reviewing this list of individuals and entities is an important exercise at this juncture when the government of President Sirisena is seriously committed to expediting the reconciliation process.”.

The initial proscription by the Rajapaksa government was done in haste, and was not subject to a rigorous process of assessment and verification, the Minister pointed out.

“It was done to build up hysteria about LTTE regrouping. There was hardly any tangible evidence to link them to the LTTE. Some of those sought had died,” he said.

The present government’ calculation is that Lankan law enforcement and intelligence agencies will now be able to target their resources more accurately and purposefully. The government is legally committed to reviewing the list annually and the expectation is that organizations and individuals who publicly abjure separatism and violence will be de-listed.

Sanctuaries

Canada accounts for the single largest number of wanted persons.

  • 22 of the wanted are in Canada.
  • Denmark comes second with 17;
  • Sri Lanka 14;
  • UK 12;
  • Netherlands 12;
  • France 11;
  • Germany 8;
  • India 7;
  • Italy 4;
  • Malaysia 3;
  • Norway 2;
  • US, 1 and
  • Thailand 1.

The wanted man in the US is Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, head of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TNGTE). Interpol Red Notices stand against 26.

The two Sinhalese among the wanted are Gunaratna Bandula Gajaweera of Akkaraipattu and A.Chaminda Darshana of Trincomalee. The latter is believed to be in India.

In India

Apart from Gajaweera, others believed to be hiding in India are: Sivaganasundaram Sivakaran; Aganila alias Gemini; Amuthan; Suresh alias Kapil Msater; Rajendran Murthy; Velupillai Revathan; Vigneswaran Parameswari.

Timing of Gazette 

It is significant that the Gazette notification de-listing half of the proscribed organizations and 63 percent of the proscribed individuals, was issued a day ahead of the visit to Colombo of Samantha Power, the US Permanent Representative in the UN in New York, an expert on genocide and an advisor to President Barack Obama.