Pro-LTTE group funding Amnesty: Lanka

Qadijah Irshad
Filed on February 8, 2012

COLOMBO - The Sri Lankan government has questioned human rights watchdog Amnesty Internationalís objectivity after the organisation received 50,000 Canadian dollars from a pro-LTTE group, the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC).

Alex Neve, Secretary-General of Amnesty International, Canada, has confirmed the receipt of the $50,000 funds by the LTTE front organisation.

Amnesty International has been one of the rights groups pushing Sri Lanka for a war crimes inquiry on accountability issues rising from the country’s three decade war with terrorist faction the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE).

The organisation recently released a report on Sri Lanka calling for an independent international investigation. The report stated that “the government has failed to effectively address impunity for past human rights violations, and continued to subject people to enforced disappearances and torture and other ill-treatment.”

The $50,000 donation to Amnesty International which has consistently taken a pro-LTTE stance despite the Tamil Tigers being proscribed by a terrorist organization by the UN and most countries including Canada, was officially announced by CTC head Suntharamoorthy Umasuthan at the annual Thai Pongal dinner in Scarborough. It was reported that Ontario Premier Dalton Mc Guinty was a special guest at the fund raiser, along with Sri Lankan Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran. Umasuthan in his address, thanked Canadian Premier Stephan Harper and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird for supporting their cause.

The Canadian Tamil Congress director of communications Sahilal Sabaratnam was arrested by the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) for attempting to buy Russian made missiles and firearms for the LTTE in 2006. The group which began the fundraiser for Amnesty International last September in Canada with a walk-a-thon has been one of the most active LTTE fundraising fronts during and after the Ealam war.

Following the end of the ethnic war in 2009, the Canadian Tamil Congress continues to agitate anti Lankan government sentiments in the West.

Currently, the organization is spearheading a campaign in Canada for a resolution against Sri Lanka at the next United Nations Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva later this month.

A local newspaper reported that the SriLankan government plans to raise the issue with the London headquartered Amnesty International soon.

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