Sri Lanka on Sunday said it has lifted a ban imposed on eight Tamil diaspora groups for their links with the LTTE as part of efforts to reconcile with the ethnic minority community while asking the remaining ones to renounce separatism and violence.
“We hope that other groups and individuals make similar public commitments condemning violence and renouncing separatism in addition to other necessary measures,” the Foreign Ministry said on Sunday.
“Then they too can be considered for de-proscription and join other formerly proscribed organisations, both in the North and South, who have successfully entered the democratic mainstream and are now working for the betterment of Sri Lanka,” it added.
“The initial proscription process was conducted in haste and was not subject to a rigorous process of assessment and verification. Many of the listed groups had never condoned violence or terrorism. Some of the proscribed individuals were even dead at the time of proscription including one who died eight years prior to the proscription,” the ministry said.
It also said that over the last six months, law enforcement and intelligence agencies have conducted a comprehensive and careful review of the proscribed organisations and individuals.
“The review process concluded that there was no intelligence or evidence justifying the listing of eight organisations and 267 persons. As a result of this review, our law enforcement and intelligence services are now able to target their resources more efficiently and focus their energy on genuine threats improving the security of all Sri Lankans.
“Furthermore, since the new Government came to power with a mandate for democracy, good governance, rule of law, accountability and reconciliation many listed groups made public statements expressing their commitment to a united, undivided Sri Lanka in global forums,” it said.
The statement also said that as per its legal obligations, the Government will annually review and update the list of proscribed persons.
According to a gazette notification on November 20 over the instructions of President Maithripala Sirisena, eight such groups were de-listed but the ban was retained on Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which was defeated by Lankan forces in 2009 after a bloody three-decade civil war.
As per the notification, the government has lifted ban on British Tamil Forum, Canadian Tamil Congress, Australian Tamil Congress, Global Tamil Forum, National Council of Canadian Tamils, Tamil National Council, Tamil Youth Organisation and World Tamil Coordinating Committee.