SLMM backs UN envoy on SL troops’ child conscription

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 15 November 2006, 15:05 GMT]
International monitors overseeing Sri Lanka’s shaky truce this week endorsed a UN envoy’s findings that government security forces were conscripting children for their paramilitary allies against the Tamil Tigers. The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) says it also possesses evidence of military complicity.

The special advisor to the UN Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Allan Rock, told reporters in Colombo Tuesday that he had evidence of direct involvement of Sri Lanka troops in forcibly enlisting children for the paramilitary Karuna Group.

"The statement made by the UN official is correct and the SLMM in its second Geneva report released in August also stressed that we had sufficient evidence to prove that the government forces were involved in child recruitment," Acting SLMM Spokesperson, Helen Olafsdottir told The Morning Leader newspaper.

In its second Geneva report, the SLMM said that child recruitment and child abduction continued on a relatively high level in June, July and August but unlike earlier months, a majority of the cases reported were not against the LTTE, but against the Karuna group.

She added that the SLMM would continue to monitor the situation.

The SLMM said that there were a number of indications that the Sri Lankan government was actively supporting the Karuna group.

"Known Karuna supporters have been seen moving to and from SLA camps, and it is evident that the security forces and police in some areas are not taking action to prevent armed elements from operating," the SLMM report said.

Latest reports complied by the SLMM too said that abductions were continuing in Batticaloa.

"Batticaloa is more tense than the week before and SLMM received complaints of eight killings and 17 abductions (including three children). Numbers are bound to be much higher as parents of abductees have been threatened by the perpetrators not to report to police or international organizations," it said in its latest situation report.

The LTTE has long been protesting that Sri Lanka’s armed forces have been waging a murderous campaing against its supporters and its cadres using paramilitary groups like the Karuna Group, led by a renegade LTTE commander.


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