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Canada will not enforce Lankan ban

2014 May 02

The Canadian Government says it will not enforce a ban on 16 groups by the Sri Lankan Government and those groups will have the freedom to express their views in Canada legally.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Consular Lynne Yelich said they were concerned by the Government of Sri Lanka’s listing of 16 entities and 424 individuals for purported links to terrorist activities, including some with ties to Canada.

“Sri Lanka’s action has no legal effect in Canada: it does not constrain the freedom of listed groups and individuals to lawfully express their views in Canada. However, Canadians targeted by this list could be subject to possible questioning, detention or arrest by authorities in Sri Lanka, the two Ministers said in a statement.

They noted that diaspora communities play an important role in Sri Lanka’s post-conflict reconciliation process and the action by the Sri Lankan government could further hinder progress on reconciliation. The Canadian Ministers said that while they share concerns about some of those listed, the Government of Sri Lanka must ensure that any measure taken to combat terrorism complies with its obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law.

“The Government of Canada remains committed to combatting all forms of terrorism. Under the provisions of the Criminal Code, Canada included the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on its list of terrorist entities in 2006 and added the World Tamil Movement to the list in 2008,” the statement added.

Earlier this week the Canadian opposition had raised concerns over the listing and had called on the Canadian Government to to respond strongly to the move.

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