Friday, February 15, 2008

Sri Lanka: LTTE Must Halt Recruitment of Child Soldiers

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, LTTE, have long been known for recruiting children to take up arms in their 22-year independence struggle against the Government of Sri Lanka. With a truce in early 2002, many hoped the illegal conscription of minors as child combatants would cease. In the wake of the tsunami, which devastated Tamil majority areas in northern and eastern Sri Lanka, new reports of abductions and missing children have reaffirmed concerns of international human rights organizations of continued recruitment. (Learn more about the tsunami's effects on Sri Lanka on our Tsunami Crisis Page.)


It is evident that no matter what International community says, the Tamil Tigers will not cease their forcible recruitment and deployment of child combatants even on suicide missions. The UN, taken for a ride over a long period of time with stalling tactics by the terrorist organization, is finally starting to show some signs of impatience. These signs of life by the world body largely influenced by interest groups that allegedly benefit from the LTTE's activites, could well end in mere lip service rather than realistic and decisive action that affects the terrorist outfit.

How you can help:
If you love children and consider a moment of your time to call your senator or parliamentary representative to save a child's life a worthy cause, then speak up against inaction by the world bodies against child conscription by the Tamil Tigers and other terrorist organizations. It is your voice that the terrorists fear most of all. The voice of the people of democracies that galvanize powerful nations into meaningful action.



"..My parents refused to give me to the LTTE so about fifteen of them came to my house—it was both men and women, in uniforms, with rifles, and guns in holsters…. I was fast asleep when they came to get me at one in the morning.… These people dragged me out of the house. My father shouted at them, saying, “What is going on?”, but some of the LTTE soldiers took my father away towards the woods and beat him…. They also pushed my mother onto the ground when she tried to stop them.
-girl recruited by the LTTE in 2003 at age sixteen

They took away my younger brother the other day. He was coming home from the market and he was taken away. I went and begged them, saying, “I gave you years of my life and I gave you my health. Please let me have my brother back—he is the only one I have who takes care of me, helps me to go to the toilet, helps me get into bed.” They didn’t release him, and they threatened to shoot if I reported his abduction to any NGOs. They also told me at the same time that I had to re-join. Is this how they thank me for all the time I gave them? Why are they doing this to me?
- girl who was recruited by the LTTE at age sixteen and severely disabled in combat..."

The continuing saga of Tamil Tiger child recruitments is well documented in the following article by HRW...