Canada adds Tamil Tigers to list of terrorist groups
The Tamil Tigers, a rebel group fighting for an independent state in Sri Lanka, has been added to Canada's official list of terrorist organizations.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were included on the list kept by the Ministry of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness effective on Friday, according to a statement released Monday by Minister Stockwell Day.
"The decision to list the LTTE is long overdue and something the previous government did not take seriously enough to act upon," said Day.
"Our government is clearly determined to take decisive steps to ensure the safety of Canadians against terrorism."
The United Nations already lists the group as a terrorist organization and Canada is a signatory to the resolution that made that designation.
The Tigers have been fighting for an independent Tamil state on the island of Sri Lanka since the 1980s. More than 60,000 people have died in their struggle with the Sinhalese government.
The LTTE has used suicide bombers and child soldiers in the conflict, leading Western countries, including the United States and Britain, to label them as terrorists.
Foreign Affairs Minister Peter MacKay said in the government statement that Canada wants to help find a resolution to the conflict.
"The LTTE's repeated use of violence since signing a ceasefire agreement is unacceptable and seriously calls into question its commitment to the peace process," said MacKay.
"The Sri Lankan government must also fulfill its pledge to bring a negotiated resolution to the conflict. Canada will continue to work with international supporters of the peace process to help the parties reach a resolution."
Last month, the LTTE was accused of using threats and intimidation to extort money from Sri Lankans living in Canada.
The designation by the Canadian government makes fundraising for the Tigers a criminal activity.