May 25, Colombo: Sri Lanka's major Tamil party, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has asked the Sri Lankan government to review its decision to designate diaspora organizations and individuals as having links to the defeated Tamil Tiger terrorist organization.
The party asked the government to review its decision to proscribe 16 Tamil organizations and over 400 individuals under the Prevention of Terrorism Act and remove from that list organizations and individuals against whom there is no evidence of engaging in or supporting any 'terrorist acts' under the Act.
Issuing a statement to media Saturday, the leader of TNA, R. Sampanthan "unequivocally" condemned the government's measure to designate several Tamil diaspora organizations and individuals as having links to the terrorist group Liberations Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
The government on April 01 has banned the LTTE and 15 other Tamil diaspora groups that are alleged of having terror links and involved in reviving the terrorist movement in the country.
Sampanthan noted that the government's measure was taken in the wake of the passage of UN Resolution on Sri Lanka that called the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to conduct a comprehensive international investigation into the alleged war crimes.
The TNA noted that according to UN regulations, the Competent Authority must notify the UN, in writing, of the designation of such organizations and individuals and the written notice should contain information relating to the reasons for such designation.
"We note that the reasons for designating any organization or individual must disclose 'reasonable grounds' for belief that such organization or individual has committed or attempted to commit, or participated in or facilitated the commission of 'terrorist acts'."
However, Sampanthan said, two months has passed since the gazette notification of the ban, but the government is yet to present any reasons for the designation of the organizations and individuals.
"While acknowledging the right of any government to take appropriate steps to counter violent threats to national security-provided those steps comply with domestic and international human rights and humanitarian law-we note with serious concern that this regressive step taken by the government is consistent with many other measures that it continues to take in the North and the East that are against the spirit of reconciliation," he said.
"We therefore call on the Government of Sri Lanka to review the decision to designate all of the said organizations and individuals and remove from that list organizations and individuals against whom there is no evidence of engaging in or supporting any 'terrorist acts' as defined by the 2005 Act," the TNA leader added.
According to the government, the ban was based on the recommendation by the Secretary, Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, as the Competent Authority regarding the identification of persons, groups and entities, believed on reasonable grounds to be committing, attempting to commit, facilitating or participating, in the commission of acts of terrorism.