June 23, Colombo: Politically mobilized pro-LTTE diaspora sustain hatred and prevent reconciliation in Sri Lanka and with groups having such a pre-disposition meaningful engagement was not possible, Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha has said.
Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the UN in Geneva releasing a statement said the Ambassador Aryasinha has noted that the transnational political opportunity structures prevalent in host states help shape and sustain such diaspora activism and countries which continue to condone with the hostility and disruptive tendencies shown by such pro-LTTE elements are giving a wrong signal.
Ambassador Aryasinha has made these remarks when he addressed the International Dialogue on Migration 2013 - Diaspora Ministerial Conference, on the theme 'Diasporas and Development: Bridging between Societies and States' organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and held in Geneva, 18 -19 June 2013.
Ambassador Aryasinha has noted that about 3 million Sri Lankans are estimated to be living as diaspora and out of them Sri Lankan Tamils number over 1 million. A bulk of Tamils living outside are refugee claimants and constitute sizeable vote banks with considerable leverage within those political systems.
In his speech, Ambassador Aryasinha has detailed the steps taken by Sri Lanka to reach out to the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora particularly since the ending of the terrorist conflict, with a view to harness their talents and resources for the benefit of the country.
The government is engaged in a structured dialogue with the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora to enable them not only to see for themselves the significant socio-economic, political and cultural renewal taking place in the former conflict affected areas, but also to discuss with them proposals for further political empowerment of the people and economic development of these areas, Aryasinha noted.
According to the Ambassador, a programme is being formulated to harness the untapped potential of the expatriate community through Sri Lankan overseas Missions.
To increase engagement with the diaspora, a process has been initiated to hold 'Diaspora Investor Forums' to guide those working abroad on investment opportunities in Sri Lanka, he said adding that programs are also in place as part of a 'Brain Gain' initiative to attract the professionals who left earlier back to the country.
Among other measures taken by the government to enhance the relationship with the diaspora, the government has facilitated visits to the home towns of Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora members and assisted in resolving their long standing citizenship and land issues.