COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) — Sri Lanka has banned the self-declared government-in-exile of ethnic minority Tamils and more than a dozen other Tamil diaspora groups, accusing them of committing and supporting terrorism and freezing their assets, the government said Wednesday.
All of the banned groups support an independent state for Sri Lanka's ethnic Tamils. The ban comes less than a week after the United Nations' top human rights body decided to launch an investigation into alleged abuses during Sri Lanka's civil war, which ended five years ago when government forces defeated rebels who were fighting to create a separate Tamil state.
External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris signed an order banning the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam and 15 other groups operating in the U.S., Canada, Australia, the U.K. and Norway, said a statement posted on the Defense Ministry's website. The organizations were banned under U.N. Security Council Resolution 1373, which sets out strategies to combat terrorism and control terrorist financing, the statement said.
It said the order was based on recommendations by Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the younger brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
All funds, assets and economic resources of the groups will be frozen until they are removed from a designated list, the ministry said.
The ban comes a week after the government said there was "credible evidence" of a resurgence of activity in Sri Lanka of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. Sri Lanka's quarter-century civil war ended in May 2009 after government forces defeated the LTTE, which was fighting to create a separate state for the Tamils in the island's northern and eastern regions. Between 80,000 and 100,000 people were killed in the conflict.
A U.N. report found up to 40,000 people may have been killed in the final phase of the war, but the government disputes that figure.
Last week, the U.N. Human Rights Council approved a resolution that set in motion a yearlong investigation to examine rights violations and war crimes allegedly committed by both sides during the war.