LTTE looks for Commonwealth sanction on Sri Lanka

Moves afoot to suspend SL from Council of Commonwealth

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The LTTE has launched a fresh initiative to embarrass the government of Sri Lanka at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth, Australia in late October 2011.

The LTTE, which is still a proscribed organization in over 30 countries, including India, UK, USA, Malaysia and Canada, wants CHOGM to support an independent international investigation on the basis of UN Panel of Experts (POE) report on accountability issues released in last April.

External Affairs Ministry sources told The Sunday Island that the LTTE was pushing for a resolution suspending Sri Lanka from the Councils of the Commonwealth until an independent and credible investigation was held into the serious allegations of war crimes and human rights abuses committed during the final months of the war in Sri Lanka in 2009. 

The LTTE collapsed on May 19, 2009 on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon.

The anti-Sri Lanka move at the CHOGM is spearheaded by the UK-based Global Tamil Forum (GTF) responsible for disrupting President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s visit to UK last December. The GTF also made an abortive bid to obtain an arrest warrant in UK targeting Maj. Gen. Chagi Gallage, who was on the President’s entourage.

A senior External Affairs ministry spokesperson said the LTTE was targeting the country at the Geneva Sessions of the UN Human Rights Council in September, followed by UNGA also in September and CHOGM in late October.  

 President Rajapaksa will attend both UNGA and CHOGM despite ongoing LTTE attempts supported by a section of the international community.

The Defence Ministry pointed out the irrationality in the GTF wanting to have Sri Lanka hauled up before an international war crimes tribunal, while trying to save those facing the Indian hangman for Rajiv Gandhi assassination.

The GTF recently launched an online petition to press Commonwealth leaders demanding punitive action against Sri Lanka on the basis of POE report aka the controversial ‘Darusman report’.’  

The Defence Ministry said that a statement by the Sri Lankan private sector on Sept. 1 on controversial ‘Darusman report’, couldn’t have come at a better time as the country battled efforts to derail post-war development plan.

The Island online edition ( on September 2 posted the statement issued by the grouping comprising the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC), the Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL), the National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka (NCCSL) and the Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF), which dealt comprehensively with the 200-page report by POE.

The business community in its report captioned ‘Private Sector Critique of Advisory of UN Panel of Experts, lashed out at the POE for categorizing the LTTE as the most disciplined and most nationalist of the Tamil militant groups in spite of being proscribed in 32 countries, including India, US, Canada and EU.   

  The business community said: "The LTTE has been convicted by Indian Courts for the assassination of the Indian Premier, Rajiv Gandhi and as such, it is perhaps one of the very few, if not the only terror group to have assassinated a head of state of another country.   Thus to describe the LTTE as "disciplined", particularly in the backdrop of the POE’s own findings that the LTTE killed civilians who were attempting to flee the area, forcibly conscripted children, used civilians as "cannon fodder", forced the already traumatized civilians to dig trenches etc. amounts to a grave blow to the very principles of humanity and the dignity of all those who have suffered at the hands of the LTTE."   

 The External Affairs Ministry said that those involved with the GTF never said a word about LTTE atrocities and remained mum as long as they felt the LTTE could overwhelm the Sri Lankan military.

"Don’t forget the GTF came into being in February last year at a meeting attended by prominent UK politicians, including the then Foreign Secretary and the then shadow Foreign Secretary William Hague," the ministry said. 

William Hague succeeded Miliband following the last general elections.

In spite of having obtained the services of some expensive PR firms in UK and US, Sri Lanka had failed to counter LTTE propaganda prompting some of those tasked with meeting the LTTE challenge questioning the move privately.

Recently UNP frontliner Ravi Karunanayake lashed out at the government for squandering public funds on PR firms, alleging a section of the government hired foreign experts for personal gain.

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