By Susitha Fernando
Colombo, Sep 3 | Sri Lanka has commended the UK’s move to maintain the proscription of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a terrorist organisation.
In a statement on Thursday, the Foreign Ministry in Colombo said that that the government has been made aware that the UK Home Secretary has decided to maintain the proscription of the LTTE under the UK Terrorism Act No. 7 of 2000 following the judgement of the Proscribed Organisations Appeals Commission (POAC).
The Commission has rejected the application of a LTTE front organisation to de-proscribe the group in the UK.
“The LTTE, therefore, remains a proscribed organisation in the UK, as in over 30 other countries worldwide, including in the EU region,” the Ministry noted.
“The LTTE was initially proscribed in these countries due to the group’s brutality and atrocities targeting civilians and democratically elected leaders, involvement in organised crime and other criminal activities that impacted global and regional security.
“The continued retention of the LTTE’s proscription worldwide, is a recognition of the continued threat posed by the remnants of the group working through its international network, which continue to finance terrorist activities, radicalise youth towards violent extremism and cause ethnic disharmony and disrupt cohesive living in every country in which they are active,” it added.
The UK listed the Tamil rebel group which fought for a separate territory from the Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka, as a terrorist outfit in early 2000.
However the POAC in October 2020 decided to delist the LTTE as a proscribed organisation following an appeal filed in May 2019 by the front organisation challenging the decision.
The Commission held that the UK Home Office’s decision to keep the LTTE proscribed as a terrorist organisation was “flawed and unlawful”.
However Sri Lanka, which militarily crushed the LTTE in May 2009 after the 30-year-long war, appealed against the Commission’s decision stating that there are “sufficient evidence to prove that the remnants of the LTTE and groups aligned with its terrorist ideology are active in foreign countries, working to incite violence and destabilise” the island nation.
India banned the LTTE after the rebel group was accused of assassinating former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991.
The ban had been periodically renewed and in May 2019 the Central government extended the ban for five more years under sub-sections (1) and (3) of Section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (37 of 1967).