Attempt to lift LTTE ban in UK fails

MANJULA FERNANDO

A fresh attempt by the LTTE remnants to remove the LTTE from the list of designated terrorist organisations in the United Kingdom was quashed last week.

The Foreign Ministry in a release stated, “The Government has been made aware that the UK Home Secretary has decided to maintain the proscription of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a terrorist organisation under the UK Terrorism Act No. 7 of 2000.” “The LTTE, therefore, remains a proscribed organisation in the UK, as in over 30 other countries, including in the EU region,” the release stated. Earlier, Britain’s Proscribed Organisations Appeal Commission, which delisted the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a proscribed terrorist organisation in 2001, asked the Home office in a judgement to review the classification.

The ruling was given after an application by the Transnational Government of Tamil Ealam (TGTE) seeking to have the ban on the LTTE lifted. The application by TGTE stated, “the LTTE is not ‘concerned in terrorism’, and that the ban interferes with the rights of the Tamil community to engage in public debate about the position of Tamils in Sri Lanka.”

In October 2020, Sri Lanka filed an appeal against the UK’s move to remove the LTTE from the Terror List maintaining that it has sufficient evidence to prove that the remnants of the LTTE and groups aligned with its terrorist ideology are active in foreign countries. It added that the remnants of the group scattered worldwide were working to incite violence and destabilise the country.

The TGTE members in June 2021 submitted to the Home Secretary, legal arguments and evidence in support of their application to have the LTTE removed from the list of organisations proscribed under the Terrorism Act in the UK. However, the Home Office has upheld the decision to continue the proscription.

“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,” the Foreign Ministry stated in the media release, adding that the Government “Appreciated the partnership with the UK, and all Governments, in the global fight against terrorism, and remains committed to working with the UK in all efforts to mitigate terrorism and violent extremism, that threaten the lives of citizens, and endanger global and regional peace and security.”

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