citizenship for Sri Lankan with Tiger links
From Neville de Silva in London
Britain is now refusing citizenship to Sri Lankans with known LTTE
Two weeks ago the Home Office informed a Sri Lankan who has lived
here for some 15 years that his application for naturalising has
been rejected on account of his association with the LTTE.
is perhaps the first publicly-known instance where a Sri Lankan
applicant has been turned down under the Terrorism Act 2000 because
of perceived terrorist connections.
turn of events comes in the wake of the suicide bombings in London
a little over two months ago and Prime Minister Tony Blair’s
decision to take a tough line against terrorist organisations.
Sri Lankan Tamil, who does not wish to be identified and lives in
East Ham, received a letter from the Home Office informing him that
he was not a person of good character and therefore his application
for citizenship has been refused.
am writing to inform you that your application has been refused
on the grounds that the Home Secretary is not satisfied that you
meet the requirement to be of good character because we believe
you are associated with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
which is currently proscribed in the UK under Terrorism Act 2000,”
said Sue Williams, a Home Office official, in her letter the text
of which was made available to The Sunday Times.
order to establish good character applicants for British citizenship
are asked, among other questions whether they have “ever been
concerned in the commission, preparation, organisation or support
or acts of terrorism, either within or outside the United Kingdom”
or have “been a member of an organisation which has been involved
in or advocated terrorism in furtherance of its aims.”
are also asked whether they have “ever been concerned in the
commission, preparation or organisation of genocide or crimes, including
crimes against humanity and war crimes, committed in the course
of armed conflict.”
Still another question posed is whether to their knowledge they
have “ever been under investigation for any offence relating
to terrorism, genocide or to crimes committed in the course of armed
Sri Lankan Tamils claiming asylum in the UK sometimes claimed to
be members of the LTTE fleeing torture and arrest, in order to facilitate
their case for refugee status.
Britain has started a new crackdown on members of banned terrorist
groups or those believed to be connected with them, it could jeopardise
the chances of Sri Lankans who claimed to be connected with militant
Although the person whose application has now been refused applied
some years ago, the refusal now suggests that Britain is taking
steps to refuse citizenship though they could stay here under the
‘indefinite leave to remain’ category, but such visas
could be cancelled at the discretion of the Home Office.
person concerned in this case claims that he has not been an active
supporter of the LTTE since he had a disagreement with Anton Balasingham
several years ago. Mr. Balasingham is, of course, a self confessed
high-ranking member of the LTTE who now holds a British passport.
the assassination of Mr. Lakshman Kadirgamar, the JVP and other
Sri Lankans living here demonstrated outside the Foreign Office
demanding that Mr. Balasingham be deported as Prime Minister Tony
Blair had threatened to do to radical Muslim clerics preaching violence.