Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Bellow is a portion of a recent news article regarding child soldiers in Sri Lanka, see the entire article at http://www.asiantribune.com/index.php?q=node/4602 What can we do to bring an end to this global devastation?

Preying on Children
by Tisaranee Gunasekara
Asian Tribune: 18 February 2007
Despite its significance it is a story that went largely unreported and unnoticed in Sri Lanka – the Tigers have flatly rejected a UN demand to increase their minimum recruitment age to 18. The LTTE’s insolent response to the UN comes at a moment when the Security Council’s Special Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict is considering the imposition of targeted measures against the LTTE for persisting in child conscription. In this context the nihilist Tiger reaction is a boon to us, since it can be used to worsen the international isolation of the LTTE. As Philip Alston, the UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Killings, pointed out the Eelam project cannot succeed without international legitimacy. And no other issue has hurt the LTTE’s quest for international recognition as that of child soldiers. It would be no exaggeration to say that the issue of child soldiers is the Achilles Heel of the Tiger.

Unfortunately Sri Lanka today finds herself unable wield this most potent politico-propaganda weapon against the LTTE – because we have managed get ourselves tainted by the same malediction. The UN Security Council’s Special Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict is also considering the detailed charges made by Ambassador Alan Rock against Col. Karuna’s TMVP and sections of the Lankan Armed Forces. Mr. Rock has accused the TMVP of engaging in child conscription in the liberated East; and he has stated that a section of the Lankan Army is colluding with the TMVP (both charges have been made independently by two organisations with impeccable anti-Tiger credentials, the Human Rights Watch and the UTHR). As a result, instead of working with the UN and other international agencies to ensure that the proper punitive actions are taken against the LTTE for child recruitment/conscription, Sri Lanka is being compelled to engage in verbal gyrations to defend herself from ch arg es of complicity in this most vile of crimes. Instead of going on the politico-propaganda offensive against the Tigers, we are compelled to make ineffectual attempts to defend ourselves, in a manner that is convincing none but ourselves.