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Diaspora to challenge proscription

2014 Apr 07

Tamil Diaspora groups have decided to challenge through court, the Sri Lankan Government’s decision to proscribe them in Sri Lanka.

The Global Tamil Forum (GTF) said it will deploy all legal and political instruments that are at it’s disposal to send a clear message to the regime that none of these ‘terror’ tactics will work as they live in a free society where they cherish freedom of speech and democracy and democracy not as defined as in Sri Lanka but practicing democracy.

The Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC)  said it will seek the intervention of the President of the UN Human Rights Council, the Canadian government, and various international non-governmental organizations, many of whom have already voiced their indignation at the proscription.

Meanwhile the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) said it is expecting the International community to denounce the “anti-democratic” measure.

The Government recently listed 16 Tamil Diaspora groups under a UN Security Council resolution which seeks to curb finding for groups linked to terrorism.

TGTE “Prime Minister” Visvanathan Rudrakumaran told the Colombo Gazette the Government’s order designating foreign Tamil entities as terrorist organizations demonstrates its unwillingness and paranoia to engage with democratic ideals and ideas.

He noted the order is an attempt to weaken the Tamil nation by prohibiting the Tamils inside the island from communicating, sharing and working together with Eelam Tamils outside the island.

“It is also an insult and affront to the legal system of democratic countries in which most of the organizations are legally registered and functioning. The Order also demonstrates the Government’s attempt to perpetuate the prison conditions of the Tamils inside the island,” he said.

GTF spokesman Suren Surendiran said that the proscription proves that President Mahinda Rajapaksa is bankrupt of political will to even attempt to resolve the root causes of the Tamil National Question. He notes that as the UN Human Rights Commissioner acknowledged after her visit to Colombo in August 2013 and in her recent report, Mahinda Rajapaksa’s authoritarian tendency is now giving rise for him to think that he can suppress freedom of speech even overseas.

“By creating fear and by allowing ‘terror’ through white van abductions, killings and by targeting local media organisations and personnel he has successfully suppressed freedom of speech internally in the island. Now by proscribing organisations in Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa is trying to intimidate members of international organisations like the Global Tamil Forum to give into his ‘terror’ tactics. Its a proven fact through the percentage votes his party gained in the recently held elections that his popularity internally too is weakening. UNHRC has given the authority to the Office of the UN HR Commissioner to initiate an international investigation into alleged breaches of international law in Sri Lanka. Fear has set in due to these combined reasons, is the only conclusion that can be drawn for his idea of proscription of organisations that function overseas. This is a typical reaction of dictators,” he said.

David Poopalapillai, National Spokesperson of the Canadian Tamil Congress says his orgation will not allow such fear-mongering tactics to dissuade it, and we will continue to work resolutely for the human rights of all Sri Lankans, and to seek truth, justice and peace for Tamils.

“We invite interested parties to review the recent judgment of the Ontario Superior Court,ruling in favour of CTC in a libel case against Sri Lankan-born ‘terrorism expert’ Rohan Gunaratna, who had been quoted as saying, “the LTTE is operating under the name of the Canadian Tamil Congress, which is the main LTTE front organization in Canada.” In his ruling, Justice Stephen E. Firestone found, “it is unequivocal and uncontroverted that [Gunaratna’s] statements were, in fact, false and untrue,” and awarded damages to CTC in the amount of $53,000. In this light, CTC categorically rejects the Sri Lankan government’s proscription of CTC as funding or supporting terrorist activities,” he added. 

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