Sri Lanka lifts ban on six Tamil diaspora groups, 316 individuals
Cash-strapped Sri Lankan government has lifted the ban on six Tamil diaspora groups and 316 individuals as it scrambles to find long-term solutions to the island nation's unprecedented economic crisis.
The ban was lifted through an Extraordinary Gazette issued by the Ministry of Defence.
On Saturday, 316 persons and six diaspora groups were de-listed from the list, according to news portal adaderana.lk.
These six diaspora groups include Australian Tamil Congress, Global Tamil Forum, World Tamil Coordinating Committee, Tamil Eelam Peoples Assembly, Canadian Tamil Congress and British Tamil Forum.
The de-listing was announced through an amendment to the List of Designated Persons under Regulation 4(7) of the United Nations Regulations No. 1 of 2012, it said.
In 2014, Mahinda Rajapaksa government had banned the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and 15 other Tamil diaspora groups for their alleged terror links and playing a key role during the brutal three-decade long civil war in the country.
In 2015, President Maithripala Sirisena lifted a ban on these groups so that talks could be initiated for the reconstruction efforts of the Tamil regions in Sri Lanka's northern provinces, which were devastated by the civil war.
In 2021, the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government banned these groups again and refused to engage in talks with them.
Sri Lanka has witnessed a massive political turmoil following the mass protests over the country's worst economic crisis in decades.
The unprecedented anti-government protests forced President Rajapaksa to flee the country and resign from his post.
In such a scenario, the current dispensation led by President Ranil Wickremesinghe believes that re-engaging with the Tamil diaspora groups could help the cash-strapped government attract the much-needed foreign exchange reserves.