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After Human Rights Watch released a report on the extortion of members of the Tamil diaspora by the militant Sri Lankan rebel group the LTTE (also known as the Tamil Tigers), the Canadian government listed the group as a “terrorist organization,” prohibiting private funding for its operations. In Canada (and elsewhere), the Tamil Tigers have used unlawful pressure to secure financial pledges from Tamil communities living abroad. The new measure by the Canadian government will discourage abusive fundraising tactics and will interrupt a significant LTTE revenue stream.

Canada is home to the world’s largest Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora, with an estimated 250,000 people in this community. While Human Rights Watch takes no position on whether specific groups should be listed as “terrorist organizations” under national laws, we welcome government measures to stop the funding of armed groups like the Tamil Tigers. Since 2002, the Tigers have committed numerous politically motivated killings and have, for many years, recruited children as soldiers. We will continue to expose the extent of LTTE control and its strangling effect on human rights, both in and outside of Sri Lanka.

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