The International Ministerial Conference was aimed at considering the various contributions that diaspora communities make both to their countries of origin and the countries where they reside, and to suggest some areas for maximizing the impact of diaspora engagement and to create an enabling environment towards achieving that goal.Ambassador Aryasinha noted that about 3 million Sri Lankans are estimated to be living as diaspora. While a small share of these are traditional migrants living in the West, over 1.8 million represent what is essentially regarded as a migrant work force in many parts of the world, mainly the Middle East, East Asia and South East Asia. The rest of the Sri Lankan Diaspora, belonging to all ethnicities of Sri Lanka – Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim and Burghers, mainly reside in the Western hemisphere, Australia, New Zealand, India and the African continent. Of these, estimates suggest that Sri Lankan Tamils number over 1 million, of which a bulk are refugee claimants and constitute sizeable vote banks with considerable leverage within those political systems. The Ambassador said in order to increase engagement with the Sri Lankan Diaspora a process has also been initiated to hold ‘Diaspora Investor Forums’ to guide those working abroad on investment opportunities in securities instruments such as equities and bonds, and also to provide sufficient information about the investment opportunities in Sri Lanka and economic growth prospects, so that diaspora can themselves invest and also help in attracting investment into the country.Additionally, efforts have been made to engage young professionals in the Sri Lankan Diaspora, through initiatives such as the What’s Next!, an independent forum comprising post-graduates and young professionals of Sri Lankan origin residing in France, who seek to promote a sustainable peace in Sri Lanka through intellectual exchange and multicultural dialogue. (Colombo Gazette) Having acknowledged the significant contribution made to the Sri Lankan economy by the migrant work force which in 2012 was approximately $ 6.0 billion which amounted to 33% of the total foreign exchange earnings, Ambassador Aryasinha detailed the steps taken by Sri Lanka to reach out to the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora particularly since the ending of the terrorist conflict, with a view to harness their talents and resources towards the betterment of Sri Lanka.In addition to facilitating visits to the home towns of Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora members and in resolving some of their long standing citizenship and land issues, GOSL has engaged in a structured dialogue with the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora to enable them not only to see for themselves the significant socio-economic, political and cultural renewal taking place in the former conflict affected areas, but also to discuss with them proposals for further political empowerment of the people and economic development of these areas.On the recommendation of the LLRC, the National Plan of Action towards the implementation of the recommendations of the LLRC has also sought the constituting of a ” Multi- Disciplinary Task Force” to propose a programme of action to harness the untapped potential of the expatriate community, to respond to the concerns of the so-called ‘hostile diaspora groups’ and to engage them constructively with the Government and other stakeholders involved in the reconciliation process”. Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Ravinatha Aryasinha has said that politically mobilized pro-LTTE diaspora sustain hatred and prevent reconciliation in Sri Lanka.Noting that the transnational political opportunity structures prevalent in host states help shape and sustain such diaspora activism, the Ambassador observed that countries which continue to condone with the hostility and disruptive tendencies shown by such pro-LTTE elements are giving a wrong signal. Ambassador Aryasinha made these observations when he addressed the International Dialogue on Migration 2013 – Diaspora Ministerial Conference, on the theme ‘Diasporas and Development: Bridging between Societies and States’ organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and held in Geneva. The Ambassador said that there are ample instances where even when home states might want to end a conflict or pursue reconciliation, diaspora resist such moves, for it is not their sons and daughters who die, and often keeping the pot boiling in the home states become opportune, so that they might retain greater leverage, particularly in their quest to seek to legally reside or gain citizenship in a chosen host country. The IOM defines diaspora as “Emigrants and their descendants, who live outside the country of their birth or ancestry, either on a temporary or permanent basis, yet still maintain affective (emotional) and material ties to their countries of origin”. Ambassador Aryasinha said Sri Lanka offered an instructive example, of both the scope as well as the complexities encountered in the nexus between diaspora, home state and host states.He cautioned that while in general diaspora can play significant roles in the development of their country of origin, particularly in assessing the role of diaspora from countries that remain conflict affected or have recently emerged from protracted conflict, the academic discourse clearly demonstrates that diaspora are rarely autonomous actors.“They are known to be compelled by organized networks to fund, arm, engage in propaganda and be electoral vote blocks in host countries, there-by having the potential to act as ‘spoilers’ in conflict resolution and post-conflict reconciliation in their home states,” he said.
The 46-year-old father of four insisted Osborne, from Cardiff, and the other terrorists who have targeted London will never defeat the “peace loving” people of Britain.“The minority can never overrule the majority,” he said from his home in East London. “I think now this community has pulled together and is getting stronger and stronger day by day. It is the terrorists who are the real losers in all of this.”Mr Hersi, who is trained in first aid, had been tending to Mr Ali, 51, after he collapsed in the street following prayers at the Muslim Welfare House. As he comforted and treated the ill man, Osborne drove his van at the group causing multiple injuries to Mr Ali and hurling Mr Hersi into the air. Asked if he had a message for Osborne, who was jailed earlier this year for life, he said: “I try to avoid thinking about him. But if I do I think what a horrible person he is, just like any other terrorist. Makram Ali, 51, a victim of a terror attack in Finsbury Park who died as a result of multiple injuriesCredit:Metropolitan Police The vehicle was coming at such speed Mr Hersi only heard the revving of its engine and so had no time to get out of the way. “However, if I have a message for him it would be that he should enjoy the rest of his time in jail. He is in the right place and has got what he deserved.”Osborne was jailed for a minimum of 43 years. On Tuesday morning, hundreds of people will observe a minute’s silence to mark a years since a far right terrorist drove a van into Muslim worshippers returning from Ramadan prayers in North London.Darren Osborne killed Makram Ali, a father of four, and injured nine others in Finsbury Park that night. It was one of four murderous terrorist atrocities in Britain in 2017.Among those who will attend the minute’s silence on the steps of the borough’s town hall this week will be Yassin Hersi, the last person to speak to Mr Ali alive. Prince Charles visits the Muslim Welfare House, in Finsbury near the scene of the Finsbury Mosque attack, and sits with Yassin Hersi who was a victim of the incident and his wife Cllr Rakhia IsmailCredit:John Nguyen/JNVisuals He insisted he was simply “lucky” on June 19 last year, despite needing a spell in hospital and requiring crutches for many weeks. One year on he still walks with a limp, but is adamant that his thoughts remain with Mr Ali and his family.“I still get flashbacks and suffered some kind of trauma disorder,” Mr Hersi continued. “There are a lot of things still in my memory. I’m not fully recovered, but I’m getting better. I still receive some treatment: I see a psychologist and a physiotherapist.” The scene at on the night of the terror attack in North London In the mayhem that followed Osborne ran from the van shouting that he wanted to “kill all Muslims”, before the crowd restrained him until police arrived.Mr Hersi, originally from Somaliland, at first felt no pain, but when he tried to get up he collapsed realising he was badly injured and his ankle smashed.Mr Hersi, whose wife Rakhia Ismail is a local councillor, believes Osborne had been brainwashed by the simplistic rhetoric of far right extremists. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Darren Osborne was convicted of murder and attempted murder after he carried out an attack in Finsbury Park on 19 June 2017Credit:Metropolitan Police