In the light of restrictions imposed on travel to the North, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) said, since the Diaspora too falls under the category of foreigners, they would have to resort to international conventions on travel to overturn such restrictions.
The administrative decisions that the National Security Council are entitled to take, regarding perceived (where there is reason to believe) and actual threats to national security are legal and also in this case provides a blanket coverage to brand a person as a terrorist without having to justify their criterion, Chairman of the Standing Committee on Rule of Law of the BASL and Convenor for Lawyers for Democracy, Lal Wijenayake added.
“Although the first generation of the Tamil Diaspora is formed of original citizens of Sri Lanka, they are as of present seen as foreigners as they have citizenships elsewhere. Thus even if their fundamental rights are violated they cannot go to Courts in Sri Lanka and thus the only legal context is to see if their rights to travel have been violated as noted in international conventions on travel which Sri Lanka may have signed,” he noted.
Having to obtain permission to travel affects the image of the North and if people are not free to move, will businessmen invest, he queried.
The International Organization for Migration – Sri Lanka and Acting Controller General of Immigration and Emigration, M. N. Ranasinghe were not available for a comment.