Smuggling ‘funds Tamil Tigers’
REMNANTS of Sri Lanka’s rebel Tamil Tigers are running people-smuggling operations to raise funds and help establish their fighters in Australia, a senior diplomat says.
Writing in The Weekend Australian today, Sri Lankan Consul General Bandula Jayasekara urges Australian authorities to formally outlaw the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to prevent the group establishing a foothold. LTTE is not a proscribed organisation here because authorities do not see it as a threat.
“There are many concerns about LTTE remnant bodies still engaged in human smuggling,” writes Mr Jayasekara, a former Sri Lankan presidential spokesman. “These groups for a long time have operated beyond the shores of Sri Lanka carrying out aggressive fundraising campaigns and human smuggling and transnational crimes. They continue to do so.”
A former Sri Lankan representative in Canada, Mr Jayasekara says LTTE has infiltrated Canada and Britain, and clearly wants to do the same in in Australia.
“I am of the view that Australia should seriously look at proscribing the LTTE in Australia and thereby prevent easy access to these LTTE remnant bodies which aim to engage in terrorist propaganda and pose a threat to Australian national security,” Mr Jayasekara says.
“LTTE terrorist remnant bodies carry out human smuggling operations for both profit and to achieve a long-term objective of theirs. They are very keen in finding a passage to their foot soldiers and to settle them elsewhere.”
Mr Jayasekara says the smugglers portray Australia to poor Sri Lankans as a “promised land” that will welcome them with open arms, pay them substantial allowances and make it easy for them to become citizens. The smugglers coach their passengers to tell the Australian authorities they’ve been tortured in Sri Lanka and will face more torture if they are sent back, he says.
Mr Jayasekara says the smugglers are supported by lobby groups based in Australia and by unsuspecting Australians who’ve been hoodwinked into thinking they are helping refugees.
He says the Sri Lankan authorities, helped by Australian officials, are carrying out a public awareness campaign in selected areas of Sri Lanka.
They use loudhailers and distribute leaflets explaining to the locals the consequences of being duped into taking a dangerous boat ride to Australia, he says.
Brendan Nicholson The Australian December 15, 2012