Ban on Tamil diaspora units lifted

  •  6 tamil organisations and 316 individuals de-proscribed
  • Proscription took place in March 2021

The Defence Ministry has lifted the ban on six diasporic Tamil organisations and 316 individuals that were proscribed in March 2021 under the List of Designated Persons under Regulation 4 (7) of the United Nations (UN) Regulations No. 1 of 2012.

No reasons have been specified for the de-proscription by the Defence Ministry, which was effected through an extraordinary gazette notification issued on 1 August.

Accordingly, the Defence Ministry has lifted the ban on the Global Tamil Forum (GTF), the Canadian Tamil Congress, the Australian Tamil Congress (ATC), the Tamil Eelam People’s Federation, the Tamil Youth Organisation, and the World Tamil Co-ordinating Committee.

The bans on 316 individuals, including GTF Spokesperson Suren Surendiran, have also been lifted.

In late 2021 when then-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa met with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in New York, he invited the Tamil diaspora to meaningfully engage with the administration to find an internal mechanism as a solution for the issues faced by the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka.

At the time, the GTF said that due to this ban, the potential loss of foreign currency income for Sri Lanka is over $ 300 million per year.

“The President wanting to engage with the Tamil diaspora is certainly a progressive move and we welcome it. However, when requests are made by democratically elected representatives of Tamil people in Sri Lanka to meet with the President, they are deferred with flimsy excuses. Now from New York, he has declared that he wants to engage with us, the Tamil diaspora. We wonder why this sudden change of mind has occurred, when only six months ago, in March 2021, his Government proscribed organisations like the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) and individuals like myself as ‘terrorists’,” said Surendiran at the time.