US Country Reports on Terrorism 2012 released

Terrorism      The US Country Reports on Terrorism 2012 was released by the US State Department.This report provides the Department of State’s annual, statutorily mandated assessment of trends and events in international terrorism that transpired in 2012, including country-by-country breakdowns of foreign government counterterrorism cooperation, and profiles of designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations.

In its report on Sri Lanka the US report  said that the Sri Lankan government’s comprehensive and aggressive counterterrorism stance is a direct result of its experience in this nearly three decades-long conflict.Counterterrorism cooperation and training with the United States in 2012 was limited, however, due to statutory and policy restrictions based on concerns about alleged past human rights abuses committed by Sri Lankan security forces.The Sri Lankan government maintained a strong military presence in post-conflict areas and voiced concern about the possible re-emergence of pro-LTTE sympathizers.

The Government of Sri Lanka remained concerned that the LTTE’s international network of financial support was still functioning. In the past, the LTTE has used a number of non-profit organizations for fundraising purposes, including the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization. The Sri Lankan government continued to actively search for other financial links to the LTTE.

SRI LANKA

Overview: In 2009, the Government of Sri Lanka militarily defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which was seeking an independent homeland for Sri Lanka’s Tamil population. The Sri Lankan government’s comprehensive and aggressive counterterrorism stance is a direct result of its experience in this nearly three decades-long conflict. Counterterrorism cooperation and training with the United States in 2012 was limited, however, due to statutory and policy restrictions based on concerns about alleged past human rights abuses committed by Sri Lankan security forces.

The Sri Lankan government claimed that it continued to uncover abandoned weapons and explosives in areas of the country formerly controlled by the LTTE. Although there were no known LTTE activities in Sri Lanka in 2012, the government asserted that peaceful protests at Jaffna University in November were organized by students trained by overseas LTTE supporters and made several arrests.

The Government of Sri Lanka remained concerned that the LTTE’s international network of financial support was still functioning; many counterterrorism activities undertaken by the government targeted alleged LTTE finances. Also, the Sri Lankan government maintained a strong military presence in post-conflict areas and voiced concern about the possible re-emergence of pro-LTTE sympathizers.

Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Counterterrorism legislation in Sri Lanka has focused on eliminating the remnants of the LTTE and enforcing general security throughout the island. The Sri Lankan government continued to implement the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1978, which was made a permanent law in 1982 and remains in force.

The Sri Lankan government is a proactive partner with the U.S. Departments of State, Homeland Security, Defense, and Energy on securing its maritime border. In October, the U.S. Coast Guard, under the Department of State’s Export Control and Related Border Security program, trained Sri Lankan Coast Guard and Navy personnel on border and export control matters. The Sri Lankan government also cooperated with U.S. Customs and Border Protection through the Container Security Initiative. Further, in 2012, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) trained over 50 immigration officers in techniques to improve border surveillance and combat human trafficking. IOM, in conjunction with the Australian government, provided specialized training to 16 Sri Lankan immigration personnel to reinforce intelligence and data collection efforts to secure the border. A specific Sri Lankan immigration border intelligence unit was established and used improved database processing to target forgeries and the use of counterfeit documents.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Sri Lanka is a member of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering, a Financial Action Task Force (FATF)-style regional body. Although the LTTE has been militarily defeated, the Government of Sri Lanka asserted that sympathizers and organizational remnants have continued to raise funds in many countries. Sri Lanka was blacklisted by the FATF in June 2011 for significant anti-money laundering/combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) deficiencies. Since then, Sri Lanka has made significant progress in addressing the FATF action plan by passing AML/CFT legislation. Based on largely completing its FATF action plan, Sri Lanka will be considered by the FATF for removal from the blacklist in June 2013, pending successful completion of the on-site visit.

In the past, the LTTE has used a number of non-profit organizations for fundraising purposes, including the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization. The Sri Lankan government continued to actively search for other financial links to the LTTE.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2013 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes:http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Regional and International Cooperation: The Sri Lankan government remained committed to the counterterrorism efforts of multilateral institutions, such as the UN. In December, the Sri Lankan government held the 2012 Galle Dialogue, which featured multilateral discussion by international security force representatives on issues of regional security in South Asia, including successful actions against terrorists within the last 10 years.

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