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Canada bans LTTE

The government argues that the banning of the LTTE will contribute to the peace process in Sri Lanka.

india Updated: Apr 11, 2006 11:20 IST

Canada has banned the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) with effect from April 8, according to a government announcement in Ottawa on Monday.

But the announcement added that Canadians could continue to make financial contributions to the LTTE's front organisations.

This is a major concession to the LTTE given the fact that the militant outfit, described as "terrorist" by the Canadian government, collects funds mainly through its front organisations.

"The decision to list the LTTE is long over due and something the previous government did not take seriously enough to act upon," Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day said.

"Our government is clearly determined to take decisive steps to ensure the safety of Canadians against terrorism," he added.

The measure would meet the "stringent legal test outlined in the Criminal Code."

Canada was acting to prevent terrorists from using the banking system to further their terrorist activities, the government statement said.

"This organisation (LTTE) is known for its commitment to using indiscriminate terror tactics and suicide bombings. Since the commencement of conflict more than 20 years ago, over 64,000 deaths have occurred," Day said.

The March 2006 report of Human Rights Watch had said that Canadian citizens of Tamil descent were being coerced into contributing to the LTTE's war chest, the government noted.

They were threatened with reprisals if they did not contribute.

"The listing (among terrorist groups) is meant to support the Tamil community in Canada who are law-abiding and hard working people who have left their country of origin to build a better life for themselves and their families in Canada - where the rule of law and human rights are respected, " Minister Day said.

As per the Criminal Code, no supporter of the LTTE will be welcome in Canada.

However, Canadians may contribute to the LTTE's front organisations.

"Only donations to the LTTE are affected by the listing," the government announcement clarified.

The Canadian government argues that the banning of the LTTE will contribute to the peace process in Sri Lanka, by encouraging both parties to the conflict, namely, the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government, to renounce violence and focus their energies on political negotiations leading to a permanent settlement.

Monday's listing takes the total of terrorist organisations banned in Canada to 39.

The LTTE has already been banned in the US and India.