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ICG, CPA criticise proscription of diaspora groups

Criticising the Sri Lankan government's proscription of 15 Tamil diaspora organisations earlier this week, the Sri Lanka project director at the International Crisis Group (ICG), Alan Keenan and the Executive Director of the Center for Policy Alternatives (CPA), Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, said it was designed to prevent the outflow of information on alleged mass atrocities through diaspora networks to the OHCHR, recently charged with conducting an investigation into Sri Lanka.

Speaking to UCA News, Mr. Keenan said,

“The ban is a very serious and negative development, effectively criminalising legitimate democratic dissent within Sri Lanka and making it harder to challenge government policies from outside the island,”

“It appears designed in part to punish those Tamils inside and outside Sri Lanka who organized in support of the UNHRC resolution."

"[The ban] may also be designed to make it more difficult for activists within Sri Lanka to gather and disseminate information about alleged war crimes and other human rights violations, since much of the information that has emerged over the past five years has come through diaspora networks,”

“According to statements by government spokesmen, simply meeting or interacting with members of the newly banned diaspora organisations would be enough for Sri Lankan citizens to be arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA),”

Dr. Saravanamuttu told UCA News that the ban was “to prevent the flow of information, internationally, regarding the human rights situation in the country at present” and “to de-legitimize the involvement of these banned organizations with the investigation that will follow pursuant to the Human Rights Council resolution”.

See full article by UCA News here.

See related articles:

Diaspora orgs proscription should not be used to stifle free speech and legitimate criticism, UK tells Sri Lanka (02 Apr 2014)

Diaspora groups reject SL ban, vow to continue struggle (02 Apr 2014)

APPGT deplores diaspora ban, calls on international community to condemn Sri Lanka's actions
(02 Apr 2014)

Diaspora ban worsens climate for journalists, NGOs and others working with Tamil groups, says Amnesty (02 Apr 2014)

Proscription of diaspora orgs is to demoralise Tamils in homeland - K. Guruparan (02 Apr 2014)

Sri Lanka aims to cut us off from the diaspora - TNA's Shivajilingham (02 Apr 2014)

The proscription of the Tamil Diaspora: War by other means (01 Apr 2014)

Proscription of diaspora orgs 'shameful' says former UK MP, GTF policy advisor (01 Apr 2014)

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