The United States (US) says it will continue to engage with diaspora groups from Sri Lanka.
The move comes after Sri Lanka banned a number of Tamil diaspora groups, including some influential organizations.
“Diaspora communities are our valued partners in helping us stay connected to the region. We continue to engage with various South Asian diaspora groups, including members from Sri Lanka, and welcome an ongoing conversation on issues of mutual interest,” the US State Department said.
The Global Tamil Forum (GTF), British Tamil Forum (BTF), Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC), Australian Tamil Congress (ATC), National Council of Canadian Tamil, Tamil Youth Organisation and the World Tamil Coordinating Committee were proscribed by the Ministry of Defence in March.
The were banned under Regulation 4(7) of the United Nations Regulations No. 1 of 2012.
A gazette notice signed by Defence Secretary Kamal Gunaratne was issued to ban the organizations.
The Government had also banned a number of individuals based in the UK, Germany, Italy, Malaysia and several other countries.
Among those banned are GTF spokesman Suren Surendiran, who had been engaged in talks with then Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera and the Tamil National Alliance after the former Government lifted the ban on some of the diaspora groups.
The former Government had de-listed most groups considered as being moderate in their views, in an attempt to seek their support for the reconciliation process and development of the North.
However, the current administration considers these groups as still being linked to terrorism and a threat to national security.
The latest ban had been enforced just before the UN Human Rights Council began to meet in Geneva.
The Tamil diaspora have been critical of the current administration on the human rights issue and had been lobbying for support for the resolution against Sri Lanka in Geneva. (Colombo Gazette)