The UK government’s ban on an organisation that doesn’t exist has devastating impact on Tamil refugees
Published On: 19th January 2024
On May 19th, 2009, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) announced that it had silenced its guns. Since then, it has ceased its armed activities. Yet the UK government has refused to take this now non-existent organisation off the proscribed terrorism list not once but twice – and it’s having devastating consequences for Tamil people worldwide.
Impact on the Tamil community
Tamil people in the UK have been severely affected by the proscription of the LTTE simply because they share the ethnicity or the non-violent political aspiration of the right to self-determination of the Tamil people.
Keeping the LTTE on the proscribed list of organisations in the western world contributes to the subjugation of the Tamils in the form of torture, sexual violence, enforced disappearance, arbitrary arrest and detention – all under the guise of “countering terrorism”. Tamils struggle to even fly their flags without being named terrorists.
The legal case
Now, PILC is bringing a case on behalf of members of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) to appeal against the Home Secretary’s decision to keep LTTE on the list of proscribed organisations. They’ve been prevented from displaying national symbols (e.g. flags) as they’re are often mistaken for LTTE symbols. This leads to questioning by the police and wrongful arrests of peaceful demonstrators.
Disproportionate interference by the Police has been raised in Parliament for over a decade and they have produced a wider chilling effect on community organising amongst Tamil people. We cannot let minority groups such as the TGTE be silenced.
The decision is unlawful as the LTTE is no longer an ‘organisation’ capable of being subject to proscription
The decision is unlawful as there is insufficient evidence to form a reasonable belief that the LTTE is concerned in terrorism
The Home Secretary’s exercise of her discretion to maintain proscription was irrational
The decision is unlawful as it constitutes a disproportionate interference with our clients’ rights of Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Assembly (under Article 10 and 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights).
How to support this case
Protecting the Freedom of Expression and Freedom of Assembly is a core part of PILC’s work. This fundamental pillar of a just and democratic society must be protected at all costs.