An open letter to the UNHCHR

| by V H Sivalingam

( February 8, 2014, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Sri Lankan Immigration Department ceased receiving dual-citizenship applications on the 15th February 2011, as a means of uprooting the right of Sri Lankan Tamils who live abroad. This important policy of dual citizenship scheme was introduced in 1987 by the then Sri Lankan Immigration Department. Now, by the direct influence of the Sri Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksha, and his brother, Gotabaya Rajapaksha, this policy has been revoked to satisfy their personal revenge on the Sri Lankan Tamil population.

President Mahinda Rajapaksha’s proposed lecture in the early 2011 at Oxford University was cancelled due to the strong pressure by the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora in England. He then rushed back to Sri Lanka and cancelled the dual citizenship program – perhaps permanently – to gain his petty revenge against the Diaspora.

Now, unfortunately, the Sri Lankan foreign missions around the world, as well the Immigration Department in Sri Lanka, have no constructive knowledge or information regarding the dual citizenship program.

Astoundingly, President Rajapaksha has travelled to Australia and other countries and has openly invited Sri Lankan expatriates from all communities to return back to the country. Furthermore, when Gotabaya Rajapaksha worked at the ‘Sri Lankan Conference’ in December 2013 in Colombo openly invited all Sri Lankans around the world to come back to their country.

Could the Rajapakshas please explain how the Sri Lankan expatriates can legally return to their homeland without a dual citizenship scheme?

On one hand, the Government cancelled the dual citizenship scheme and stop expatriates from arriving back at their country; but on the other hand, they try to mislead foreign countries as they openly invite Tamil and other communities to come back to Sri Lanka, to cover their murky human rights record.

There are some rumours that this revocation of the dual citizenship scheme is a way for the Rajapaksha Government to seize the property and wealth of Tamil refugees who live abroad, and indirectly warn them from returning to the country. Some of the Sinhala Diaspora who worked together with the Government by protesting and picketing against the LTTE are also now trembling against the potential loss of their own property and wealth in Sri Lanka.

Hypocritically, many of the Rajapaksha family hold dual-citizenships in Western Countries, including Mr. Gotabaya and Basil Rajapaksha.

The main reason behind this cancellation of the dual citizenship is to punish the Tamil expat-community who are against Rajapaksha’s barbaric ethnic approach. This is another blatant abuse of authority and callous disregards for the rule of law. Please protect their right to their own property and wealth.

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