The Government today urged other groups and individuals banned in Sri Lanka over terrorism links to renounce separatism in addition to taking other necessary measures so they can be considered for de-proscription.
The appeal came in a statement formally announcing the de-listing of eight organisations and 267 persons.
The Foreign Ministry said that as per Sri Lanka’s legal obligations, the Government will annually review and update the list of proscribed persons.
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.
The Foreign Ministry says this indicates that the government’s counter-terrorism strategy of combating terrorism through better intelligence, specialised training, tighter legislation and closer counter-terrorism partnerships, combined with measures addressing the root causes of violence, is beginning to work
“We hope that other groups and individuals make similar public commitments condemning violence and renouncing separatism in addition to other necessary measures. 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,” the Foreign Ministry said.
Sri Lanka proscribed 16 organisations and 424 individuals under Gazette Extraordinary No. 1854/41 on 21 March 2014 using powers under the United Nations Act No. 45 of 1968. The proscription was announced eight days before Western and Southern Provincial Council elections, which were held on 29 March 2014.
The Foreign Ministry says the initial proscription process was conducted in haste and was not subject to a rigorous process of assessment and verification and many of the listed organisations had never condoned violence or terrorism. Some of the proscribed individuals were even dead at the time of proscription – including one individual who died 8 years prior to the proscription.
United Nations Regulation No. 1, approved by Parliament in 2012, obliges the Government to review and update its list of proscribed organisations at least once a year. The new government, resolute in combatting terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, undertook a systematic review process in order to update the list of organisations.
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. Groups that continue to espouse separatism, including eight organizations and 157 individuals, remain proscribed, the Foreign Ministry added.
As a result of this review, the Foreign Ministry says Sri Lanka’s 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. (Colombo Gazette)