Account freeze by Sri Lanka violates UN Declaration- TRO

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 05 September 2007, 10:46 GMT]
Freezing of Bank Accounts of the Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) in Colombo for more than one year without any charges being filed, and denying the TRO "day in court" to defend against the "false allegations," are violations of Declaration on the "Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly's Resolution 36/55 of 25 November 1981," said TRO officials in a media release issued Tuesday.

PDF IconFull text of TRO press release
The media release said the Article 6 of the UN declaration reserved "the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief shall include the right to establish No show by the presiding judge. Case put off to 26 Jan 07 and maintain appropriate charitable or humanitarian institutions."

TRO Sri Lanka: Case Time Line
TRO's bank accounts in Sri Lanka have now been frozen for one year and none of the "investigations" by the Central Bank's Financial Investigation Unit (FIU), the Attorney General's Office and the Police's Criminal Investigation Division (CID) has resulted in any charges against the TRO, the release added.

"The frozen accounts contain approximately Rs. 80,000,000 (US$ 707,000; £350,000) and were targeted for Tsunami related projects which would benefit the Tamil, Muslim and Sinhala communities of the NorthEast. Eighty percent (80%) of the funds frozen were project funds provided by international NGOs, UN Agencies (UNICEF, Save the Children, Operation USA, the Nippon Foundation) and the GoSL for projects that TRO is implementing to rehabilitate tsunami and war affected populations.

"The remaining twenty percent (20%) of the funds were donated by the Tamil Diaspora. TRO has thus far implemented over US$ 20 million in tsunami related projects which have benefited all three communities," the release said.

"TRO has met or exceeded local and international standards of accountability and transparency and has consistently met all the legal requirements of an NGO or charity operating in Sri Lanka. Since registering with the GoSL as a Charity in 2002, TRO has responded to all requests for financial and project information from the Ministry of Social Services, the Ministry of Foreign Resources, and the Parliamentary Select Committee on NGOs promptly and exhaustively," the release said, adding that the several petitions filed by TRO's legal team to "vary or vacate" the original judgement [freezing of account] have been rejected.


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