US says counter-terrorism cooperation with SL ‘limited’ due to human rights concerns
May 31, 2013 05:12 pm
Counterterrorism cooperation and training between Sri Lanka and the United States in 2012 was limited, due to statutory and policy restrictions based on “concerns about alleged past human rights abuses” committed by Sri Lankan security forces, a US report said.
In 2009, the Government of Sri Lanka militarily defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which was seeking an independent homeland for Sri Lanka’s Tamil population.
The Sri Lankan government’s comprehensive and aggressive counterterrorism stance is a direct result of its experience in this nearly three decades-long conflict, the US State Department said Thursday as it released its annual report on international trends in extremist violence.
“Counterterrorism cooperation and training with the United States in 2012 was limited, however, due to statutory and policy restrictions based on concerns about alleged past human rights abuses committed by Sri Lankan security forces,” according to the Country Reports on Terrorism 2012.
The report said that although there were no known LTTE activities in Sri Lanka in 2012, the government asserted that peaceful protests at Jaffna University in November were organized by students trained by overseas LTTE supporters and made several arrests.
The report also noted that the Government remained concerned that the LTTE’s international network of financial support was still functioning and that many counterterrorism activities undertaken by the government targeted alleged LTTE finances.
“Also, the Sri Lankan government maintained a strong military presence in post-conflict areas and voiced concern about the possible re-emergence of pro-LTTE sympathizers,” the report said.
“Although the LTTE has been militarily defeated, the Government of Sri Lanka asserted that sympathizers and organizational remnants have continued to raise funds in many countries,” it said.
The report emphasized that Sri Lanka was blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) in June 2011 for significant anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) deficiencies.
However, the report noted that Sri Lanka has made significant progress, since then, in addressing the FATF action plan by passing AML/CFT legislation and that based on largely completing its FATF action plan, Sri Lanka will be considered by the FATF for removal from the blacklist in June 2013, “pending successful completion of the on-site visit.”
“In the past, the LTTE has used a number of non-profit organizations for fundraising purposes, including the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization. The Sri Lankan government continued to actively search for other financial links to the LTTE,” the Congressional-required Country Report said.