The Canadian Government says it will not recognize the Sri Lankan government’s ban on 16 Tamil diaspora groups suspected of organizations affiliated with or supporting the defunct Tamil Tiger terrorist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
Issuing a statement Wednesday, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and Consular Lynne Yelich expressed concern over the Sri Lankan government’s ban and Canadian individuals alleged of having links with the terror group and said the ban has no effect in Canada.
“We are concerned by the Government of Sri Lanka’s listing of 16 entities and 424 individuals for purported links to terrorist activities, including some with ties to Canada,” the two Ministers said.
“Sri Lanka’s action has no legal effect in Canada: it does not constrain the freedom of listed groups and individuals to lawfully express their views in Canada.”
However, the pair warned that the Canadians targeted by this list could be subject to possible questioning, detention or arrest by authorities in Sri Lanka.
The Canadian ministers noted that the diaspora communities play an important role in Sri Lanka’s post-conflict reconciliation process and the action by the Sri Lankan government could further hinder progress on reconciliation.
“While we may share concerns about some of those listed, we remind the Government of Sri Lanka that it must ensure any measure taken to combat terrorism complies with its obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law,” the statement said.
Sri Lanka last month banned the Tamil organizations with the signing of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373, which sets out strategies to combat terrorism and to control terrorist financing.
The Canadian Government said it remains committed to combatting all forms of terrorism and reminded that under the provisions of the Criminal Code, Canada included the LTTE on its list of terrorist entities in 2006 and added the World Tamil Movement to the list in 2008.
The United States in its Country Reports on Terrorism 2013 released Wednesday by the State Department said although Sri Lanka defeated the LTTE in 2009, the terrorist group’s financial network of support continued to operate throughout 2013.
“The LTTE uses its international contacts and the large Tamil diaspora in North America, Europe, and Asia to procure weapons, communications, funding, and other needed supplies. The group employed charities as fronts to collect and divert funds for their activities,” the U.S. report said.