Legal ruling opens door for dismantling LTTE ban in other jurisdictions

[TamilNet, Friday, 28 July 2017, 18:42 GMT]
Although the EU's de-proscription of the LTTE is promising, the Tamil right to assembly, speech, and expression remains transnationally undermined by the persistence of post-war LTTE bans in multiple jurisdictions. These bans should be challenged on legal grounds to reclaim Tamil political space in North-America and Europe, said a Tamil diaspora legal activist who worked with Netherlands-based lawyer to prepare the legal basis for the case. The decision by the European Court of Justice, albeit belated, is not self-executing at the nation-state level within the EU. As such, ‘terrorism’ related national security policies of European governments will likely continue to operate as bulwark against Tamil asylum claims and as a non-invasive surveillance model for Tamil political mobilization.

“Indeed, Tamil political space is a fundamental right, not a request. The threat of criminalization on the basis of LTTE-affiliation that the Diaspora has lived with for the past 30 years should have ended with the end of the war,” the lawyer further said.  

Further comments from the lawyer follow:

“In hindsight, from the Netherlands to Denmark to UK to France, the European Tamil Diaspora’s protracted ‘toleration’ of the ban has enabled the proscription to gradually impose and entrench expanding constraints on political activity.

“The legacy of such constraints tends to render them imperceptible in the present. To this extent, all European Tamil activism — from assembly to speech to expression by raising a flag or via social media — occurs within the confines of the transnational LTTE proscription.

“For instance, a pro-LTTE message posted on Facebook that originated on an iPhone in Toronto and is read on an iPad in New York and laptop in Zurich, is likely monitored, and may flag the sender and recipients for violations of Canadian, U.S., and Swiss law.

“Today, LTTE ‘terrorism’ bans in different nation-states persist, almost a decade after the end of the war. The bans impinge and infringe upon the basic liberty of the Eelam Tamil Diaspora, providing governments with the option of limiting Tamil assembly, speech, and expression through the threat of criminalization and second-class citizenship.

“Tamil political self-determination, in London or Berlin, Jaffna or Tamil Nadu, has always been premised upon the condition of Tamil freedom as a practical matter.

“Absent basic freedoms such as assembly or speech, political self-determination is untenable in any society.

“Fundamentally, the oxygen of Tamil freedom, whether in London or Jaffna, is a system of enforceable legal rights.

“Such legal rights, if enforceable, nourish those freedoms across generations and might prevent genocide in one context and arbitrary incarceration in another.

“To take an example, the Holocaust occurred only once. However, in ‘nation-states’ with weak legal cultures, like DRC or ‘Sri Lanka’ for instance, ethnically-motivated mass atrocity crimes recur and are often government-sponsored or government-initiated,” the activist said urging Tamil diaspora activists to support the mobilization of next level of the legal struggle.


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