Diaspora urges Commonwealth

Father EmmanuelCall on SL to desist from proscribing NGOs
BY SULOCHANA RAMIAH MOHAN

The Tamil Diaspora urged the UK Commonwealth Office to urgently call upon the Sri Lankan authorities to withdraw the proscribed prominent Diaspora organizations and individuals as ‘foreign terrorist entities’.

In a letter to Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs
Foreign and Commonwealth Office MP Philip Hammond dated 1 October, 2014, the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) President Rev. Dr. S. J. Emmanuel said that while all the assistance the United Kingdom Government and Foreign and Commonwealth Office has given to the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) and the Tamil community in their efforts to bring peace to the people in Sri Lanka, unfortunately, the Government of Sri Lanka do not view them as favourably and have proscribed GTF and a number of other prominent Diaspora organizations and individuals as ‘foreign terrorist entities’.

In the letter he thanked Hugo Swire MP, who expressed his concerns on this matter saying that “this development is not conducive to a successful reconciliation process.”
“I welcome, also, the definitive joint statement from the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Baird MP, and his deputy, Ms Lynne Yelich MP, which said, “Sri Lanka’s action has no legal effect in Canada.”
In the United States, representative from designated organizations met the Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia, Nisha Biswal, and conveyed their concerns.

In his recent oral update on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, stated that “on 21 March 2014, the government also announced the proscription of 16 Tamil organizations and 424 individuals pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1373. These included not only the LTTE, but many mainstream Tamil Diaspora organizations which have been actively engaged with the Human Rights Council and international human rights mechanisms.

He noted that the Sri Lanka Gazette published a list of designated persons, groups and entities whom they claim the competent authority has reasonable grounds to believe commit, or attempt to commit, participate in or facilitate the Commission of, terrorist acts within the meaning of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373 (2001) (hereafter UNSCR 1373).