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Tamils condemn criminalisation of Eelam Tamil aspirations

The Tamil Coordinating Committee United Kingdom (TCCUK) will today, 21 February, be holding a protest at 10 Downing Street from 4-7pm against the UK's insistence on keeping the LTTE on EU’s list of banned terrorist organisations.

TCCUK says:

"In 2001 the government of the United Kingdom listed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a terrorist organisation.

In 2006, at the height of the internationally facilitated Cease Fire Agreement (CFA)and the parallel peace process between the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) the UK successfully lobbied the European Union to place the LTTE on a similar EU-wide list. This act shifted balance of power between the parties to the peace process and emboldened Sri Lanka to unilaterally withdraw from the CFA. Analysts studying the failure of the peace process have noted the EU ban as amounting to crime against peace.

In May 2009 the LTTE announced that it was silencing its weapons. Both the GoSL and the UK government have stated that the LTTE no longer exists as a military entity. In the five years since May 2009 there has not been a single incident of violence attributed to the LTTE.

However, the terror tag has been used by GoSL to discredit and silence political activists. LTTE “terror rump”, “terrorist agents”, “terrorist media”, etc., have been used virulently against Tamil and non Tamil activists concerned about Eelam Tamils’ right to self-determination.

On 26 February the European Union Court of Justice will be hearing a case for the lifting of the LTTE from the EU’s list of banned terrorist organisations. The UK will be taking a stance against the applicants.

UK's continued insistence on keeping the LTTE on the list is a political act. It is used by Sri Lanka to prohibit activities that peacefully further Eelam Tamils’ aspirations. Both Tamils and non Tamils are victims of the UK-Sri Lanka joint effort in suppressing the peaceful expression of Eelam Tamils’ aspirations.

Tamils and their friends gathered outside the UK Prime Minister's residence on 21 February 2014 will urge the UK to urgently review its list of terrorist organisations and also contribute positively to EU wide discussions of the issue."

SACC campaigns against arbitrary powers to ban so-called "terrorist" organisations by such means as the EU's banned list and through the powers contained in Britain's Terrorism Act 2000. Pending the repeal of these powers, we urge governments, as a priority, to lift the ban on organisations like the LTTE and PKK that are primarily liberation movements and are unlikely to carry out acts of violence outside their home territories.

Banning organisations like these criminalises legitimate political aspirations and provides cover for the violation of the rights of people said to be associated with them.