South Asia

‘Govt. concerned about LTTE’s re-emergence’

The Sri Lankan government maintained a “strong military presence” in post-conflict areas and continued to voice concern about the possible re-emergence of pro-LTTE sympathisers, according to the U.S. State Department’s ‘Country Reports on Terrorism for 2014.’

In the section dealing with Sri Lanka, covered under the category of South and Central Asia, the document also refers to “significant concerns” of the Embassy in Colombo regarding use of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) by the previous Rajapaksa government to “harass and detain public actors.”

The new Sirisena government, which had pledged to “end the broad application of the PTA,” has taken steps “to reduce the military’s role in civil society and its control of land” in security zones in the north, the document said.

On the previous regime’s decision in March 2014 to ban 16 organisations and 422 individuals on charges of trying to revive the LTTE, the State Department pointed out that the Sri Lankan government did not provide information regarding criteria for its action. “A team from the U.N. Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Director’s office, which visited Sri Lanka in October 2014, expressed concerns [that] the designation process may not have met U.N. standards,” the Department said.

“Money laundering”

The document cites lack of transparent tender mechanisms in government projects as one of the reasons for the country’s vulnerability to money laundering and terrorist financing, even though Sri Lanka was “neither an important regional financial centre nor a preferred centre for money laundering.” Past experience with terrorism and tax evasion were among the other reasons, it says.

Though a rehabilitation programme was in place for former alleged LTTE combatants, “limited access” by independent bodies to known rehabilitation camps precluded reliable evaluations of the government’s efforts, the State Department added.

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 12:37:38 am |