The story behind a vicious terrorist group, LTTE UK and its capacity of influence on Sri Lanka

Wednesday, 21 July 2021 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Images of how the terrorist group has contributed to the gross violations of child rights by recruiting minors to its mission

 


By H. Janadari Jayaratne


Introduction

LTTE is a terrorist group well-known for its terror tactics including suicide bombers, the suicide belt and female-led suicide attacks. In the early 1980s it turned into an armed conflict under the leadership of Velupillai Prabhakaran, who had formed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). 

The remnants of the LTTE’s international network in United Kingdom have made the British Parliament sponsor a Resolution at the 46th UN Human Rights Council to create an International Independent Investigative Mechanism relating to Sri Lanka to investigate and prosecute for serious international crimes committed in Sri Lanka, including the crime of genocide of Tamils. The British Tamils Forum (BTF) was designated in 2006 to mobilise the diaspora in support of the Tamil communal in the United Kingdom. 

This is the largest Tamil diaspora organisation which closely communicates with the Tamil community in the UK. The end state of the BTF’s strategy seems to be to move a false accusation on Sri Lanka, maintaining the claim of human rights violations and advocating for punishing the Sri Lankan military for the alleged genocide of the Tamils. For in that case the world’s top human rights body United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is facing an unprecedented challenge, since its 46th session was infiltrated and influenced by a notorious terrorist entity; the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the influential power of BTF. The worst repercussion that happened was the UNHRC, the largest global platform discussing matters related to human rights, has been hijacked by the LTTE. This proscribed organisation with the support of BTF and GTF has fabricated false accusations and claims against Sri Lanka and influenced the British Parliament to sponsor the resolution at the UN Human Rights Council to voice against Sri Lanka. 

LTTE, the proscribed organisation has committed atrocities by recruiting child soldiers and trained minors as suicide cadres. The youngest age of a Black Tamil Tigress is 18. According to Article 2 of UDHR, “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms, without distinction of any crime such as race, religion, colour, sex, language, political or other opinions, etc.” (Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948). 

According to Amnesty International 2002, “Children are entitled to all the rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the various treaties that have developed from it. Children are also guaranteed additional rights, notably under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child because they need special protection and care. 

However, this brutal organisation has trained 12- and 13-year-old kids as child soldiers and especially children the age of 17 and 18 years were given special training as suicide cadres. Of the 200 suicide bombings carried out by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in their civil war in Sri Lanka, at least 60 attacks involved female cadres. 

But this bitter truth has been covered by BTF and GTF under the LTTE international community. LTTE has committed atrocities on innocent civilians in Muslim villages as well. Those are the mass killings and genocide that happened during the war period by this vicious organisation. The given pictures draw a clear image on how this vicious terrorist group has contributed to the gross violations of child rights by recruiting minors to their mission. 

 

Understanding the remnants of LTTE’s international network: The pattern, influences and matters

The LTTE international network is a highly influential community, and it plays a major role in both its host countries and Sri Lanka. The role of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora in war and peace in Sri Lanka is critical for the future of Sri Lanka and Sri Lankan Tamils in Sri Lanka and abroad. 

 

This diasporic organisation carries out propaganda campaigns such as:

a) Raising funds

b) Organising various anti-SL government protests

c) Levelling allegations against top military brass

d) Influencing UN human rights organisations and thereby discrediting government

e) Appointing Tamil intellectuals for top international positions

f) Building up close network with Tamil political parties in Sri Lanka and via them contribute to the LTTE 

Funds were generated through other activities, such as passport forgery, narcotics, and human trafficking. This overseas Tamil diaspora has contributed to terrorism by supporting Tamil events (Thai Pongal or Pongu Tamil) which are held in Sri Lanka. They sponsor those events to influence Tamils during and even after the war.

The LTTE international network has organised various anti-Sri Lankan Government protests and influenced international organisations such as the United Nations Human Rights Commission, Commonwealth Organisations, etc. In 2013, the Canadian Minister further said, “Canada remains deeply concerned about the absence of accountability for alleged serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian standards in Sri Lanka.”

Tamil diaspora overseas has strongly influenced these international organisations and stood against the Sri Lankan Government. Tamil diaspora has attempted to appoint Tamil intellectuals for top international positions since it is the direct way to influence the Sri Lankan Government. The diaspora community has hired well-known highly-paid solicitors, lawyers from the United Kingdom for legal perspectives.

The LTTE international network commemorated Mahaveer Day (Heroes Day) around the world recently. Mahavira (Great Heroes) celebration is supported by Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF). Commemorations were held in the UK, Germany, Switzerland, Canada and the US. Small gatherings were held in parts of some countries especially in UK and Switzerland, where lamps were lit in memory of the fighters and Tamil civilians killed during the final stages of the war.

In the British Parliament there were some parliamentarians who were interested in this event in UK. Sri Lankan Tamil activists in Britain on Friday paid homage to the victims of the Sri Lankan civil war by projecting the Karthigai flower, the national flower of Tamil Eelam, on the walls of the Houses of Parliament in London to mark Mahaveerar Naal. Along with the image of the Karthigai flower, the words ‘We Remember’ were highlighted on the walls and also the line ‘We Remember the Heroes Who Fought for Freedom from Sri Lankan State Genocide’ (Tamil Express). 

 

LTTE activists in UK influence British government to move a resolution against Sri Lanka

The LTTE UK organised a protest in Kenton, England on 14 March carrying LTTE flags. The LTTE activists confronted the Police when the Police attempted to disperse the activists. Likewise terrorist front organisations in United Kingdom are using consistent pressure to influence the British government to lobby the global human rights body. Promoting the ‘genocide’ narrative are the LTTE fronts Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC), Australian Tamil Federation (ATF), British Tamil Forum (BTF) and the Global Tamil Forum (GTF). 

BTF especially put pressure on UK parliament members to voice against Sri Lanka about genocide and human rights violations. Suren Surendran who took over GTF from Father S.J. Emmanuel is leading the campaign. The GTF took over the premier LTTE

 

International Federation of Tamils led by Arunachalam Chrishanthakumar alias Shanthan

(https://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/apr/17/tamil-tigers-bomb-making-court). BTF and GTF are now handling another British entity – the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPGT). 

The LTTE of All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tamils (APPGT) influenced the British Foreign Secretary to pressurise the UNHRC. This front organisation of LTTE was created by Sen Kandiah of LTTE UK who was able pay GBP 100,00 to former labour MP and Minister Keith Vaz, a corrupt British politician of Indian origin. The APPGT was run by the British Tamil Forum (BTF) and Global Tamil Forum (GTF), the LTTE front in the UK. Sri Lankan politicians under the Yahapalana regime indirectly connected with these fronts to get TNA votes. 

Sri Lankans should discourage ethnic and religious-based party politics. If Sri Lanka is to remain united, Sri Lankans should support national political parties where all communities are represented. Sri Lanka should unite the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, the Bodu Bala Sena and Tamil National Alliance. If not, such parties will disrupt Sri Lanka as a region and deprive the community of harmony and peace.

As a result of the front organisations of LTTE in UK, Sri Lanka was subjected to an ‘unprecedented propaganda campaign’ which influenced the UNHRC to move against Sri Lanka. In its resolution A/HRC/25/1 adopted in March 2014 on ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’, the United Nations Human Rights Council requested the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to “undertake a comprehensive investigation into alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties in Sri Lanka during the period covered by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), and to establish the facts and circumstances of such alleged violations and of the crimes perpetrated with a view to avoiding impunity and ensuring accountability, with assistance from relevant experts and special procedures mandate holders.”

The Council requested the High Commissioner to present an oral update at its 27th session and a comprehensive report on the investigations at its 28th session. In accordance with this mandate, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights established the OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL), based in Geneva (OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka).

Likewise, UN Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet called for an International Criminal Court investigation into Sri Lanka’s Tamil separatist conflict and sanctions against top generals and others accused of war crimes. And move on a resolution against Sri Lanka mentioning that it has violated rights by genocide over the period of the past civil war. Both BTF and GTF partners raised millions of dollars for terrorism in Sri Lanka. In 2008, BTF has sent a team to the Human Rights Commission to submit reports on further rights violation activities. 

But LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran is the one who used minors as suicide cadres in the war period, and he is the leader who forcibly recruited child soldiers and abducted minors from their parents. The most brutal acts and suicide attacks have taken place in Sri Lanka and this organisation has influenced schoolchildren and youngsters to join the LTTE army and thereafter forcibly recruited them as Black Tigers. 

International law prohibits the recruitment of children under the age of 18 by non-state armed forces and The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, or Tamil Tigers) used intimidation and threats to pressure Tamil families in the north and east of Sri Lanka to provide sons and daughters for military service and when a family refused, they abducted those children from their homes at night or forcibly recruited them while they were walking to school. 

The recruitment of children under the age of 15 is now considered a war crime. But this law has been violated several times by this brutal organisation. Once the cadre wears the jacket, he or she must die; the leader offers to have the last supper and take a photograph with him before the attack and this is a brainwashing methodology that this vicious organisation gives for them. 

All these children suffered from trauma due to these forceful actions but now many children live under the shelter of the Sri Lankan Army and they are now living a peaceful life and hope to achieve their future dreams. “We want to live, we do not want to fight a losing battle, we are afraid of war,” were flashback thoughts by a young girl who was a Tamil Tigress in this guerrilla war.

This is the violation of human rights and abusing child rights. Now Sri Lanka is the defendant to be criticised. But what happened to the atrocities and allegations committed by LTTE? Who will raise voices against this brutal, rigid terrorist organisation? The above BTF, GTF and APGT fronts have influenced the UK parliament members and they are under pressure to get their votes and finally this will end up in an ‘unprecedented resolution on Sri Lanka without any investigation’. 

The atrocities committed by LTTE on child soldiers and the repercussions, and the allegations conducted by LTTE cadres should also be criticised in the UNHRC sessions, instead of only criticising war crimes committed by Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka has started various rehabilitation and reintegration processes after the civil war. The former LTTE cadres were provided with vocational training, while schoolchildren were facilitated an opportunity to complete their secondary education. And 594 child soldiers have been reunited with their families. They are now involved in higher education, permanent employment and contributing to the national economy, whilst enjoying and living in a peaceful environment in their original habitats with kith and kin.

The rehabilitation program in Sri Lanka was not only for the children but also for the young adults. It commenced with the Sri Lankan Forces laying down their arms to take up a different role to right the wrong and do what was for the best interest of the country. The surrendered children had a choice of following vocational training courses and were provided with formal education. The children were provided with psychological and social support and even followed extracurricular activities such as scouting, guiding, cricket, etc. 

The ex-combatants became beneficiaries of the rehabilitation and all child soldiers became our children as special Presidential pardon was given to them with an unconditional amnesty for all their past doings as the Government wanted to restore love, care, and kindness into their hearts. “We want to live, we do not want to fight a losing battle, we are afraid of war,” were the flashback thoughts of a young girl who was a Tamil Tigress in this guerrilla war during her rehabilitation under Sri Lankan Military.

 

Bibliography 

‘Living In Fear – Child Soldiers and the Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka’. 2021. Reliefweb. https://reliefweb.int/report/sri-lanka/living-fear-child-soldiers-and-tamil-tigers-sri-lanka.

‘Breaking News, Analysis, Politics, Blogs, News Photos, Video, Tech Reviews – TIME.Com’. 2021. TIME.Com.

http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1869501,00.html.

https://military.wikia.org/wiki/List_of_attacks_attributed_to_the_LTTE

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theguardian.com/world/2009/apr/17/tamil-tigers-bomb-making-court>

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/judgement-day-for-british-tamil-forum/amp/

https://www.tamilguardian.com/news-type/editorial

https://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/Pages/OISL.aspx

 

Kalaivani Rajaratnam or Dhanu, schoolgirl dressed up with RDX explosive-laden belt tucked below her dress as a suicide cadre and ready to welcome Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India, with a garland

 

 The LTTE international network commemorated Mahaveer Day (Heroes Day) around the world recently

 


(The writer is a Researcher on Conflicts and Human Rights.)


 

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