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Decision based on GoSL assurance given in Geneva last June

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Dr. Gunadasa Amarasekera said yesterday (14) that the government of President Ranil Wickremesinghe should explain the reason for delisting several groups and individuals from the Tamil Diaspora.

“The timing of the government announcement really worries us,” Dr Amarasekera said on behalf of the Federation of National Organizations (FNO). He said such measures could not be justified simply on the basis of the upcoming sessions of the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council. The next HRC sessions are scheduled for September.

Recalling that he too strongly supported the position taken by President Wickremesinghe regarding the opposition of US Ambassador Julie Chung to the measures adopted by the government to counter the violent demonstrations, Dr Amarasekera stressed that national security could not be compromised by politically motivated decisions. The Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs were to explain to the public the procedure adopted to deregister certain groups and individuals from the Tamil diaspora.

The UK-based Global Tamil Forum (GTF), the British Tamil Forum (BTF) and the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) had been among those delisted, through an extraordinary gazette issued by the ministry. of the defense. National Freedom Front (NFF) spokesman Mohammed Muzammil, MP, also echoed Dr Amarasekera’s concerns. Addressing a hastily organized press conference at the NFF’s Pita Kotte party office, lawmaker Muzammil asked if the government had received a commitment from these debarred groups and individuals, whether they would abandon the separatist agenda. . Lawmaker Muzammil said President Wickremesinghe, who holds the defense portfolio, should address the concerns of those who felt betrayed by the contested delisting of those who spread separatist ideology despite the armed forces eradicating the LTTE in 2009.

Both Dr Amarasekera and MP Muzammil pointed out that Tamil leader Makkal Theshiya Kutani, CV Vignewaran, following a recent meeting with President Wickremesinghe, said he had received assurance regarding several of their demands. They asked if the deregistration of these organizations and individuals was part of the agreement between the Tamil political parties and President Wickremesinghe.

The Island

asked the opinion of Suren Surendiran of the GTF, who is among those delisted. The UK-based GTF spokesperson alleged that the whole process of naming groups and individuals was arbitrary, irrational and an outright abuse of the UN Rules – aimed at suppressing freedom of expression and dissent, not only in Sri Lanka but also across the world. borders.

“GTF and I were listed in 2014, delisted in 2015, relisted in 2021 and delisted in 2022,” Surendiran said, saying they remain committed to their ideals of origin intended to realize the justifiable aspirations of the Tamil-speaking people, and implementation of the 2015 resolution on accountability.

Surendiran sent us the following response: “Whenever a resolution is passed at the HRC calling for accountability and reconciliation, the Rajapaksas, be it Mahinda or Gotabaya, will outlaw us as an angry reaction and realize that no other government or international institution, including progressive Sri Lankans of all communities, and the media at large, recognize these bans and just before another session of the HRC, the government of the day will unban us. cases since 2014.”

“GTF is grateful that the international community and many Sri Lankan stakeholders (including the media) ignored this list for what it really was.

“We have made an estimate of the loss of foreign currency flow to Sri Lanka directly related to these bans in 2014 and 2021, at least per year the loss has been $300 million to half a billion dollars.

Former Presidents Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Defense Secretary Kamal Gunaratne, former Foreign Minister GL Peiris and famous so-called “terrorism expert” Rohan Gunaratna must explain these losses to the people of Sri Lanka and held accountable for their arbitrary decisions and explain what benefits these bans achieved.

Authoritative sources indicated that contrary to the concerns expressed by various parties regarding the delisting of organizations and certain individuals, the decision to do so was announced by the former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor GL Peiris, in mid- June of this year during the 50th sessions in Geneva. The Foreign Office quoted Professor Peiris as saying: “The list of individuals, groups and entities designated under UN Regulation No 1 of 2012 is under review. To date, 318 individuals and 04 rights holders are proposed for deregistration. It is a continuous exercise.

Sources said it would not be fair to demand an explanation from the incumbent government for a decision made by the previous administration.

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