Sri Lanka's Ambassador to the UN in Geneva, Ravinatha Aryasinha, has urged that more action be taken against “terrorist” activities in the diaspora, carried out under guises, such as religious, sport and youth organisations.
Aryasinhe was addressing the International Counter-Terrorism Focal Points Conference on 'Addressing Conditions Conducive to the Spread of Terrorism and Promoting Regional Cooperation' and said that front organisations increase the legitimacy of certain causes, where the “parent group” may already be discredited.
“Since the military defeat of the LTTE in Sri Lanka in May 2009, besides the radicalised activism of LTTE front organisations in several European capitals, and the arrest of 32 LTTE activists in Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland and the conviction of a further 28 in France, the Netherlands and Belgium, its known activists continue to advocate mono-ethnic separatism in Sri Lanka while espousing the ideology of the LTTE, using its money and being manipulated by its surviving military leaders, who are primarily domiciled in Europe” Aryasinhe said.
The ambassador then outlined 3 areas which needed addressing in the global fight against terrorism:
"1) We must pay greater attention to terrorist support networks that take the form of front organizations which espouse religious, cultural, humanitarian, women, youth, student, sport and other causes. They have the advantage to act for the parent group, without the actions being attributed to them. In the political sphere, such front organisations can increase the legitimacy of the causes they represent, neutralising the stigma that might be attached to already discredited organizations which espouse the same cause.
2) We must also arrest the increasing challenge posed by the abuse of Information Communication Technology (ICT) for propaganda, fund raising, as well as recruitment to promote the insidious interests of terrorist groups and their front organisations. Audit and oversight mechanisms need to be evolved in this regard to halt its abuse.
3) Additionally, we must also consider the propriety of the use or display of terrorist group emblems, insignia and symbols."