News Track India: 30 June 2008
Security agencies in the Maoist affected state of Jharkhand have recently planned to make extensive media campaign to expose Maoists. The ideas include flashing pictures of rebels in newspapers, publishing lists of properties damaged by rebels, illegal tax collections, and lavish lifestyles of its leaders and sexual exploitation of its women cadres.
Security agencies and human rights activists are of the view that India's Maoist rebels are on a drive to recruit thousands of child soldiers. In Orissa, Maoists have formed boy brigades called as Bal Sangathan in Malkangiri and Gajapati district. Only recently, nearly 20 children recruited by Maoists were arrested by Bihar police. Growing presence of Maoists in Tamil Nadu’s southern districts like Theni, Tirunelveli, Thuthookudi and Ramanathapuram that happens to be the strongholds of LTTE sympathizers and given that the LTTE is infamous for its use of child soldiers, it is apprehended that that the Maoists may seek training from them in the mobilization, recruitment and use of child soldiers. It is observed that there has been a gradual alienation of students and workers from Maoist movement which was in 1980s constituted the main stay of rebel activity. Perhaps the Maoist campaign to rely more on violence than on mobilization of the masses alienated these segments.
Hindustan Times: 25 June 2008
The secessionist organisation the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continues to use child soldiers in its battle against the Sri Lankan armed forces, the defence ministry said on Wednesday. It added that the LTTE forcibly recruit children and teenagers to fill up their fast-depleting ranks.
Quoting defence intelligence sources, the ministry said personnel of the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) recovered three “obituary posters” giving the name, rank and unit of 150 LTTE cadres, including those of several child soldiers in the Karakakulam area in the northern part of the country. They found the posters after capturing the office of an LTTE regional leader.
The defence ministry said the pictures included “five self-styled lieutenant colonels, nine majors, fourteen captains, fifty-one lieutenants, forty-one second lieutenants and thirty others without rank.”
An intelligence unit officer speculated that the posters might have been to convince the parents of the dead that their children had been given very high status or rank in the outfit. The cadres without any rank appeared to be in their early to mid teens.
The posters also showed that the LTTE cadres were killed at various locations in the Jaffna and Wanni theatre of operations from 17th February to 10th March this year, according to the intelligence officer's report.
“It is a well known fact that LTTE is forcibly taking young children from their parents to be trained as terrorists. So, aggrieved parents are now rallying against the LTTE leadership in the Wanni for robbing their loved ones from them,” he added.
Lanka Mission: 25 June 2008
Three obituary posters found by troops operating in the Mannar battlefront have revealed the details of 150 LTTE cadres including at over 20 child soldiers killed in one month. According to the defence sources, the posters were found on a billboard in a recently captured office of an LTTE regional leader in the Karakakulam area.
The three posters contained details of 50 LTTE cadres on each, including their name, rank and the unit that they had been working for. However, no ranks were mentioned against 30 cadres who were still in their younger years. According to the details mentioned on the posters the LTTE cadres were killed at various locations in Jaffna and Wanni theatre of operations from 17th February to 22nd March this year.
The pictures of teenagers and children show that LTTE is still using child soldiers despite its attempts cover up the existence of the shameful baby brigade", he said.
Asian Tribune: 26 June 2008
At least twenty child soldiers in the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have been killed in the Northern Districts March – April 2008, in one month, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence said.
Referring to recently captured obituary posters from a LTTE office occupied by the security forces, the Ministry of defence said, “No ranks were mentioned against 30 cadres who appear very young in their early or mid-teens. According to the details mentioned on the posters, the LTTE cadres were killed at various locations in the Jaffna and Wanni theatre of operations from 17th February to 10th March this year”.Poster 1 - Shows photographs of dead LTTE cadres
Sunday Times: 22 June 2008
Anthony David and Chris Kamalendran reporting from Vavunathivu and Kokkadichcholai, Pix by Sanka Vidanagama
Though the east is now under government control, the tell tale marks of a bloody war are still evident. Potholed roads, parched paddy lands and houses damaged by the fighting greet us as we enter the once LTTE -dominated areas of Batticaloa
Married at 15 to escape LTTE
Twenty-eight year-old Manikkavasagar Varathalechchimi from Kurinjamunai, Vavunathivu married when she was 15 to avoid being conscripted as a child soldier to the LTTE. She regrets that her education was disrupted but believes that she made the right decision then.
"When we were schooling the LTTE wanted a child from each household. But my parents managed to keep me safe and when they found it difficult to do it further they decided to give me in marriage. I had no alternative, but to get married ending my schooling days. We were four in our family and the LTTE tried hard to at least get one of us, however fortunately we all managed to escape conscription,” Varathalechchimi told The Sunday Times.
A mother of a six year old son and three year old daughter Varathalechchimi is married to a carpenter who is employed in Qatar. Her husband left for employment six months back paying Rs. 80,000 and she is still repaying the loan they had taken.
"Since getting married we have been displaced several times and our house has been damaged several times too. Even now a part of the roof is damaged and we have patched it up with polythene resulting in many leaks when it rains.
"My main ambition is to see that my children are educated. I will give them the opportunity that I missed. Unfortunately the area lacks good schooling facilities and I have to send my children to Batticaloa town. With our limited income that is not an easy task,” she laments.
Lanka Web: 25 June 2008
The Italian leg of the Ponku Thamiz ended with the arrests of many LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam) which is a banned terrorist organisation in the EU. However, cash-strapped terrorists fighting in the island of Sri Lanka are desperate to stuff its war chest and have called upon its financiers to amass as much cash as possibly can. Therefore LTTE supporters in France spun into action to collect money through a particular cultural performance named ‘Ponku Thamiz’. This is a crafty deception marvelled by this terrorist group which is operating globally. It is important that French authorities are aware of the ground situation.
However, the LTTE has derived its own culture which they call “Thamiz” culture even though it is pronounced similar to “Tamil”. The two cultures are widely different. While the original Tamil culture is essentially non-violent, the Thamiz culture is all about suicide bombers, explosions, bloodshed, violence, armed struggles and hatred. LTTE has the world’s largest arsenal of suicide bombers which is at least ten times bigger than that of all Islamic terror groups combined. These suicide brigades are manned mostly by women and children. LTTE gain a lot of pride from its child soldiers and is recorded as the largest organised child brigade in the world.
These children are forcibly taken away from schools and trained to become fighters, suicide bombers or multi-functional cadres. Their successes are aplenty against the legitimate forces of Sri Lanka. While on training they are bombarded with “Thamiz nationalist” songs around the clock. They are also shown video clips of successful suicide bombings where Thamiz nationalist songs and music are played in the background. It is these songs and dances that are bundled into “Ponku Thamiz”. Suicide bombers claimed the lives of one Sri Lankan President, one Opposition Leader, almost killed another President and killed one Indian Prime Minister. This clearly indicates LTTE’s capabilities to export terrorism beyond the shores of Sri Lanka.
Lanka Mission: 23 June 2008
A recent article by the Asian Human Rights Commission had some characteristic critiques of the requests for assistance in strengthening Human Rights in Sri Lanka made in our submissions during the Universal Periodic Review. Having heard from Basil Fernando, in a moving private missive, about the fears he entertains, and recognizing that he had some justification for those fears in the experiences he underwent in the seventies and eighties, I will not critique his critique, since it was doubtless advanced in all sincerity. However, it does highlight some of the problems we in Sri Lanka face in trying to address human rights issues whilst refusing to be browbeaten, by more insidious forces than Basil, into acquiescing in the claim that we cannot deal with our own problems.
Thus, when it is claimed that Sri Lanka was in a state of denial, it certainly denied the latter of each set of propositions. It also denied the former of the first three sets, and was able to show with evidence that charges in those respects were misplaced. This was not to deny that there had been civilian casualties, but the proportions were minimal in comparison with such casualties in other battles against terrorism, and this has now been recognized. Again, the attempts to demonize the Karuna faction, aided and abetted by those UNICEF employees who demonstrated against the government for their own political preferences, have now been laid to rest. We can now, having got over that carefully manipulated distraction, get back to the real business of rescuing the hundreds of children still held in military servitude by the LTTE in the Wanni.
India Post News Service: 17 June 2008
LOS ANGELES: "When we soldiers leave for battle there is always uncertainty of our return. Soldiers leave mementos and souvenirs such as handkerchiefs and rings to be given to their next of kin if they did not return" said Rana Viru Seva Authority Chairman, Lt Col. (Retd.) Lalith Gunerathne, addressing a large crowd gathered at the Sri Lanka Rana Viru Day commemoration ceremony organized by the "Sri Lankan Patriots" organization on June 7 at the Lankaramaya Temple, La Puente, California.
A special lamp was lighted in the memory of Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives fighting LTTE terrorism in Sri Lanka. Glowing tributes were paid to the valor and heroism of the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF). It was the IPKF that took up the initial challenge to crush Tamil terrorists and terrorism. The Indians fought with determined heroism and tenacity against an enemy who had no face or identity. It was difficult to say who was a terrorist and who was notâ€¦. women, children, girls boys young and oldâ€¦the LTTE was all over in many different forms.
The Indian army suffered many casualties and fatalities as a result of restraint. Understandably the Indians were reluctant to shoot at the child soldiers of the LTTE and the Tamil terrorists took full advantage of this. Like in the numerous wars in Africa, the Sri Lanka conflict has its share of child soldiers, mostly young boys forced into the LTTE cadres.Today it is the Sri Lankan Army that is caught in the same situation and many brave lives have been lost due to the fact that like the Indians the Sri Lankan army is reluctant to shoot at young children.
It's a different matter that the Tamil propaganda machine has brainwashed these young kids into lethal killing machines.Most people do not know that it was the LTTE that started suicide bombings. It is perhaps the most vicious terrorist outfit in the world. It is the world's only terror network that has its own navy and air force.But unlike other terror networks, LTTE operates locally whilst the other big terror masters operate globally.
National Post: 17 June 2008
The people of Sri Lanka would like to thank the government of Canada for its courageous decision to expose the World Tamil Movement (WTM) as a terrorist front for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (also known as the Tamil Tigers or LTTE). The WTM is the first non profit organization to be placed on Canada’s terror list. Though it has long been known that LTTE front groups have been operating in Canada and several other countries and funding the LTTE terror machine, which continues to kill innocent Sri Lankans, this is the first time a front organization has been branded as a terrorist organization in Canada.
I am sure this move will be an eye opener for other countries. It will also help save thousands of innocent lives in Sri Lanka since the LTTE uses the money sent by front groups to buy weapons, recruit child soldiers and carry out suicide missions using even pregnant women. However, the people who have suffered most at the hands of these front organizations are the innocent Sri Lankan Tamils living in Canada. For years, they have been forced — through extortion, threats and even violence — to part with their hard earned money.
Asian Tribune: 17 June 2008
The World Alliance For Peace in Sri Lanka and many other like minded organizations signed a statement urging the Government of Sri Lanka to investigate into the improper conduct of NGOs in relation to the authorised codes of conduct, registration regulations and country’s criminal code. The statement further appealed to monitor into their on-going activities stringently requiring them to conform to audit and accountability requirements as imposed on governmental and private companies.
The LTTE retains the services of more than 2000 child soldiers and their armed cadres are compelled to wear cyanide capsules. They have a squad of suicide bombers and other killers who explode claymore mines and bombs in civilian centres. They indiscriminately kill unarmed civilians and engage in ethnic cleansing of specific ethnic groups such as the Sinhalese or Muslims in order to drive them out of the region claimed for their separate state, while mercilessly pursuing Tamils who have a different point of view to their Fascist agenda.
The LTTE receives almost all their funds and arms mainly from overseas sympathisers. Their foreign operations are based primarily in Western countries. They are involved in public fund raising, fund collections through intimidations, credit card scams, robbing of passports, fraud, duping charities and misappropriating Tsunami relief funds, drug and people smuggling activities etc. In short, the LTTE and their fronts in the West violate many local, regional as well international laws including UN conventions.
A Multi-Polar Approach
Harvard International Review: 15 June 2008
Narrow interpretations of cultural identity and models of conflict resolution built on ethnic dualism contribute to ethnic polarization and inhibit sustainable peace. To improve both the analysis and processes of conflict resolution, it is necessary to move beyond the bipolar ethnic model and explore the multi-polar nature of conflicts.
The conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the secessionist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is commonly identified as a primordial ethnic conflict between the Sinhala majority and the Tamil minority. But, much of the long pre-colonial history of Sri Lanka was characterized by ethno-religious pluralism and co-existence over antagonism and conflict. There has been tremendous inter-mixture between Sinhala and Tamil populations as well as the Muslims who are considered an ethno-religious group in Sri Lanka.
The 2002 Ceasefire Agreement
The 2002 ceasefire agreement (CFA) upheld the dualistic characterization of the Sri Lankan conflict by recognizing only the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE as the two parties to the conflict. Bypassing elected members of Parliament representing non-LTTE Tamil interests and choosing to negotiate with the unelected LTTE, the Agreement accepted the LTTE as ‘the sole representative of Tamils’ elevating the internationally banned terrorist organization, to an equivalent status with the democratically elected Sri Lankan government. The Agreement did not require LTTE cadres to be disarmed. Rather, it dictated terms to weaken the armed forces of the government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and strengthen LTTE military capability by requiring the GOSL to disarm non-LTTE Tamil paramilitary groups and to offer to integrate those cadres within the GOSL armed forces ‘for service away from the Northern and Eastern Province’. The CFA did not ban child soldiering and forcible recruitment and child recruitment, routine practices of the LTTE, and it failed to specify mechanisms to monitor and enforce other serious human rights violations or to uphold pluralism and democracy.
Lanka Mission: 13 June 2008
Final Statement of the Sri Lankan delegation on the occasion of the adoption of the Universal Periodic Review of Sri Lanka by the United Nations Human Rights Council June 13th 2008 (adapted from delivery)
This had been preceded first by the statement of the Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights, read by the Secretary, introducing the Report of the UPR Process. Then followed statements by nine countries, many of which commended Sri Lanka for its efforts to safeguard all human rights despite the difficulties posed by terrorist threats.
There are other issues that seem to us less serious. Thankfully we no longer hear allegations that our security forces, in their struggle against terror, indiscriminately target civilians. That is a canard that has been disposed of. Not so the allegations about child soldiers that seek also to incriminate the Sri Lankan forces, in a vain attempt to draw attention away from the continuing malpractices of the LTTE. With regard to general allegations about others accused of child recruitment, I refer you to the report I presented to the Human Rights Committee of Liberal International, and which was distributed to all countries that raised the question during the UPR. I fear it has not been read, but this canard too will soon die down. Meanwhile I should note that the last time I responded to the International Educational Development Inc., it was to condemn their pitiful attempt to justify the LTTE use of children over 15, on the to us utterly spurious grounds that international law permitted this.
The consequences of that type of indulgence can be seen in the tragic story of the 17 year old girl rescued in combat last week from the LTTE by Sri Lankan forces. Note that perhaps even more culpable than partisan NGOs in perpetuating such horrors was the carelessness of particular UN officials in Sri Lanka who argued that the LTTE needed to amend legislation to stop using children between 17 and 18. I am thankful that the UN Special Rapporteur, a Sri Lankan herself, and the current head of UNICEF in Sri Lanka, have made it clear that this is intolerable.
AFP: 13 June 2008
COLOMBO (AFP) — Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers said Friday they had released 27 more child soldiers, and contested a United Nations estimate that over 1,000 under-age fighters were still in rebel ranks.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who are fighting for an independent state and control much of the north of Sri Lanka, said they were also working to demob the 30 or so children still with them.
According to Unicef, there are 1,410 outstanding cases of child recruitment by the rebels at the end of April 2008.
"Of these, 146 are under the age of 18, and 1,264 were recruited while under 18 but have now passed that age," UNICEF said.
Over the past two decades, the LTTE has promised to release children from their rank and file, but they have been accused of failing to take concrete action.
MoD: 10 June 2008
Finalized military reports received from battlefronts in the North yesterday (June 9) indicate that 16 terrorists were killed and at least 8 others wounded. Also, 14 others were reportedly killed or wounded while 3 soldiers were killed and 40 others suffered injuries.
In the Jaffna theatre of battle, troops attacked an identified LTTE hideout in the Muhamalai area last night. Troops claimed 3 terrorists were either killed or wounded in the incident. Meanwhile, a soldier suffered injuries due to an anti personal (AP) mine explosion in the Kilalay area on the same day morning.
On the Wanni theatre of battle , troops operating on the Vavuniya front attacked an LTTE bunker in the Vedamakilam area in the morning hours. Troops claimed the bunker was partially destroyed and one LTTE cadre killed.
On the Mannar front, fierce fighting erupted between troops and LTTE terrorists in the Alankulama area from dawn to dusk. During these clashes, 9 LTTE cadres were killed, one child soldier captured alive. Also, three bodies of slain LTTE cadres were found. 3 soldiers were killed in action while 27 suffered injuries.
Lanka Web: 11 June 2008
With the steady forward march of our Combined Forces into terrorist territory and with systematic victories through which such territories are being taken over as "government controlled areas in the North", there is one segment of our society that is becoming uneasy. They are now seen to be banding together - be they the opposition UNP, human rights activists in Sri Lanka and overseas, peace activists like National Peace Council here in Sri Lanka and their links overseas, NGOs( both local and international) which have been earning their living through the miseries civilians are facing at the hands of LTTE terrorism, as well as JVP which seems to be using the rising cost of living as their excuse, are directly or indirectly planning actions through strikes or anti-government protests & media coverage( both local and international) & naturally the objective is to overthrow the current GOSL.
For 30 years the brutal LTTE terrorist movement has been wreaking terror and destabilizing the civil society of Sri Lanka with brutal murders in the North/East and South, bomb attacks on State Institutions, blasting public transport systems murdering and injuring hundreds and thousands( taking into consideration the 30 years), abducting school-going children for their "child brigades", blackmailing businessmen and extorting money (Kappang) for their terrorism, murdering politicians whether they be Tamil, Muslim or Sinhalese in the most gruesome manner if opposing viewpoints are expressed. University students in the North have been deprived of normal university education. What have the champions of human rights and peace advocates been doing for 30 years? Atleast now they should admit that LTTE terrorists do not want peace or human rights! Had the campaigns of these wonderful movements been successful and if they had spent time brainwashing the terrorists into accepting peace, Sri Lanka would not have needed 30 years but, till today these advocates have only been able to profit by the misery wreaked out on the citizens of this country.
Daily News: 10 June 2008
Exposing yet another instance of exploitation of children by the LTTE, troops operating on the Mannar front captured a female child soldier as she was forcibly deployed by the LTTE to guard their Forward Defences in Alankulam which came under heavy attack from the Army last morning.
Military Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara told the Daily News that the female child soldier aged 17 years was captured as troops launched a massive assault on the LTTE defences in Alankulam in the North of Giant Tank in the Mannar front.
The female child soldier had revealed that the LTTE had abducted her in 2006 in Kilinochchi as she was returning from a Kovil.
She had been given one and half months weapons training by the LTTE and deployed to defend the Forward Defence Lines along with other Tiger cadres.
According to her shocking revelation to the troops the LTTE cadres used to drop them on the Forward Defences after transporting them blindfolded and providing them with three meals lunch, dinner and breakfast for the following day.
"She will be handed over to the Police tomorrow (Tuesday)", the Brigadier added. Brigadier Nanayakkara said the troops operating in the Mannar front stormed the Tiger Forward Defence Line in the North of Giant Tank bund from five different positions in the early hours of yesterday.
"The troops recovered the bodies of three Tiger cadres after their massive assault on the Tiger defences," the Brigadier added.
MoD: June 2008
Sri Lanka army soldiers battling against terror defences on the Mannar battlefront yesterday (June 9) found a 17 year old Tamil child soldier inside a captured terror bunker in the Alanlulama area. According to the defence sources in the area, troops found the female Child Soldier in hapless condition following their attack at five LTTE strong points in Alanakulama , North of Giant Tank last morning.
Exposing yet another instance of exploitation of children by LTTE, the Child Soldier revealed that she was forcibly conscripted and deployed by the LTTE to guard its Forward Defences on the Mannar front .
The Child Soldier speaking to defence.lk special correspondent in Mannar, has revealed that she was from Kilinochchi and was abducted in 2006 while returning from the Hindu Temple in her village.
" They (LTTE) gave me one half months of weapon training and directly put into the battle with others " she said. Asked why she could not dessert the outfit she reveled that she was transported to the warfront blind folded and barely had any clue where they really were .
" They (LTTE) just drop us to the bunkers, and give something to eat for the meals , that's all" , she said.
Inquired about the other members of the outfit , she told that all the members who were killed at the battle were like her.
" All of them had been forcibly conscripted by them (LTTE). None of then wanted to die like this " she added.
According to the defence authorities in the area , the Child Soldier would be handed over to the Child Rehabilitation centre following the inquiries.
LTTE is a terrorist outfit which has its name under the UN list of shame for using child soldiers for terrorist attacks for years. Despite the repetitive pledges given by its leader, V. Prabhakaran that he would release the children, he still maintains the infamous "baby brigade " with a estimated strength 6000 children. Fuelled by extreme tribalism by its megalomaniac leader, LTTE terrorists are fighting a bloody war against Sri Lankan citizen since 1983 for a mono ethnic separate homeland for the Tamils in Sri Lanka.
Canada Free Press: 01 June 2008
Canada holds a different opinion about Tamil Tiger terrorists than do the European Union and the United States.
On September 27 2005, the European Union declared its “condemnation of the continuing use of violence and terrorism by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam” (LTTE) (and the) “continuing recruitment and retention of child soldier cadres by the LTTE.”
The EU has banned members of that organization from visiting any European Union member state and the United Kingdom, the United States and India have designated the LTTE, better known as Tamil Tigers as a terrorist organization.
Former Prime Minister Paul Martin and several of his MPs have broken bread with the Tamils in Toronto on a couple of occasions, during actual LTTE fundraising events.
There is little room for error in significant financial support coming from Canada for the LTTE.
Before he was assassinated in August of 2005, the late Lakshman Kadirgamar, Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka wrote in a report: “At one time it was reported that the LTTE raised approximately $200,000 a month from the Tamil community in Canada” and “the argument that banning the LTTE would hamper the peace process does not stand.”
In Canada, the support of LTTE terrorism, it would seem, has now seeped down to the university level.
How else to explain that an MBA student accused of setting up an elaborate terrorism-support network has been awarded a $5,000 prize for his…”entrepreneurial acumen”?
In fact after joining Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo only one year ago, Suresh Sriskandarajah became--the first and only winner of the university’s “CIBC leaders of entrepreneurship award”.
CIBC is the acronym of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
“Two years ago, the arrest of the 26-year-old Canadian university student made headlines amid allegations he was known simply as “Waterloo Suresh” to Tamil Tiger figures overseas.” (Globe and Mail, May 30, 2008). “Suresh Sriskandarajah continues to be wanted in the United States to face charges that he set up enterprises to acquire $22,000 worth of sensitive warship-building software for the guerrillas.”
Now hailed as a “model student” by officials at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Sriskandarajah stands further accused of dispatching smugglers from Canada to Sri Lanka, urging them to pack computer equipment under layers of “teddies and chocolates” to throw off detection.
Somebody conniving as all that should not have too much difficulty coming on like Wilfred Laurier University’s Golden Boy in the discipline of “Business Studies”.
While U.S. authorities cool their proverbial heels waiting for the outcome of Sriskandarajah’s extradition hearings, he spends his time doing graduate work in Ontario.
Sriskandarajah was one of only 13 students to be recognized by corporate donors and university officials. The $5,000 prize was bestowed upon him as “one of the most accomplished business students in a school known for business studies.”
NOTEBOOK OF A NOBODY
The Island: 31 May 2008
The level of violence with its attendant abductions, targeted killings, disappearances, etc has once again reached a high after a period of lull. The bombings targeting civilians using public transport at Dehiwala, Piliyandala and Colombo Fort have been blamed on the LTTE. The LTTE was also undoubtedly responsible for the killing of a prominent civilian Maheswary Velayutham. She may have been working for the EPDP leader but was by no means a militant herself and was an unarmed civilian; and there is no evidence to suggest she had any connection with or even condoned the violence in Jaffna blamed on EPDP cadres. She was killed because she was a prominent civilian who dared to defy the LTTE.
During the course of the last couple of weeks, Wijesinhe has issued a statement correctly condemning the killing of Maheswary Velautham, a civilian, almost certainly by the LTTE. He has also issued a statement correctly condemning the use of child soldiers by the LTTE. But why has he not issued a statement on the use of child soldiers by the Karuna/Pillayan Group? (He must know that the recent token release of a few child soldiers is as hollow as the earlier token release of a few child soldiers by the LTTE.) And why was no statement issued by the Peace Secretariat on the deaths/disappearances/abductions of other civilians blamed on the security forces and/or paramilitary groups?
Asian Tribune: 28 May 2008
Interestingly enough this age old counting system was responsible for the elimination of Sri Lanka from re-election to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Yet, there were many others who thought it was their internationalized anti-Sri Lanka campaigns that triggered the loss of votes to Sri Lanka.
Some of those happy faces are Desmond Tutu, former US President Carter & Argentinean Aldolfo Perez Esquivel & how could we not miss the NGO coalition. So proud are they of their fete accompli vis a vis Sri Lanka that they seem not to care that States with more questionable human rights abuses have found their way to the UNHRC & they in fact out number the democracies on the 47 member Council.
While the NGO coalition has been documenting reports to showcase Sri Lanka’s dire status with regard to human rights these reports itself are questionable – they do not cover proper details of complaints not even record cases where the missing have in fact returned.. Human Rights Watch has listed 498 cases of “abductions / missing” in Sri Lanka. Into that list are two boys aged 5 years & 8 years. Would the Government or the army abduct children as small as 5 & 8 or is it really the work of the LTTE which even the UN accepts as recruiting child soldiers. Does the world know that for any Tamil family to leave the North to come to the South even for an interview they must sacrifice a child to the LTTE before making their journey?
Sunday Observer: 25 May 2008
Sri Lanka can look forward to US military assistance to crack down on LTTE terrorism as the United States is now considering to lift the arms embargo following the recent release of child soldiers by the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP).
The United States which has come down hard on terrorism, suspended air and maritime surveillance assistance to Sri Lanka last year citing two reasons - recruitment of child soldiers by the TMVP and human rights violations.
US Ambassador Robert O. Blake told the Sunday Observer that there was a possibility of resuming military assistance to the government to defend the LTTE.
“US military assistance is currently suspended due to two provisions in the US law. The first being child soldiers. The TMVP has released over 50 child soldiers and this is a very good sign”, he said.
Blake said that the US had welcomed the move publicly and hope they would release more.
According to UNICEF figures over 100 child soldiers were still in the custody of the TMVP, he said.
“The US believes that we will be able to lift that particular restriction and to continue to provide military assistance if the TMVP releases more children”, he said adding that the United States is working closely with the government to improve its human rights record too.
Blake said that US military assistance in the areas of air and maritime surveillance has helped the government to detect LTTE arms shipments in the territorial waters of the country.
The American Ambassador is positive that the US Millennium Challenge Corporation, which de-listed Sri Lanka, would also make another decision to consider to fund Sri Lanka again.
“Hence that is another reason that we encourage the government to improve its record on human rights. This will enable us to cooperate more with Sri Lanka”, he said.
Blake said that LTTE child conscription was done in a greater magnitude and the number of children with the LTTE was 15 times more than those who were in the custody of the TMVP. Quoting UNICEF figures, he said that there would be over 1,600 child soldiers still in the hands of the LTTE.
“This is a very serious concern and the US has joined the UNICEF and other agencies urging the LTTE to release these children”, he said.
SPUR: 24 May 2008
The walls of the Eeelam are collapsing gradually. First wall came crumbling down when the North -East was de-merged after the High Courts ruled out that the North-East merger was illegal; then the second wall collapsed when the Eastern province was liberated by the Government forces from the grips of the LTTE tyranny and third wall came crumbling down when Provincial election was completed and members for the Provincial councils were democratically elected. Adding insult to injury, Prabhakarn's arch Tamil rival Pillayan has been made the Chief Mister of Eastern Province. Only one more wall to collapse to see the end of the Eelam Fortress and that will not be too far. But it is pathetic to see yet some of the Tamil Diaspora(TD) living in the affluent western world continue to support LTTE morally and financially to achieve its mythical Eelam.
The Tamil Diaspora should think seriously that every dollar, euro dollar or sterling pound they donate to LTTE, LTTE uses it to recruit child soldiers and desperate vulnerable women as suicide members. The different terrorist outfits in Iraq and Afghanistan are now copying this latest trend of using pregnant looking women as suicide bombers. Is the Tamil Diaspora aware that while poor Tamil kids were recruited to fight for the Eelam war", the children of the leaders of LTTE Prabhakaran and demised Thamilchelvam were sent to England and Norway for their education. The Tamil Diaspora including late Anton Balasingham is as guilty as Prabhakaran and demised Thamilselvam for the every child soldier dies at the hands of Government forces. Whilst the Poor Tamil kids in the north are being recruited as child soldiers to its child brigades, the children of the Tamil Diaspora in these affluent countries enjoy the best of education. I am pertinent to ask the Tamil Diaspora who oil the LTTE engine with their dollars as to how they feel if LTTE demands their children to fight the war? Will the Tamil Diaspora allow their children to fight for Prabhkaran's illusionary mirage of "Separate State- Eelam for Tamils"?
Asian Tribune: 23 May 2008
“The government in Sri Lanka cannot escape responsibility for the abduction of children by the Karuna Group, a breakaway group of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that was linked to government armed forces.”
“The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued to recruit and use children, despite repeated commitments not to do so. Children in the east of the country were forcibly recruited and used by the Karuna group, a breakaway group of the LTTE, with the complicity of, and in some instances actively working with, the security forces.”
“Countries where children were recruited and used by paramilitaries, militias, civilian defense forces or armed groups linked to, supported by, or acting as proxies for governments.
Chad, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, DRC, India, Iran, Libya, Myanmar, Peru, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Uganda”
Above are three editorial determinations of the just released 2008 comprehensive report of child soldiers worldwide by the London-based Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers whose findings and data are extensively used by the U.S. State Department, the European Union, key states of the international community that have come forward to scrutinize Sri Lanka’s human rights record and, of course, the most influential International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGO) whose findings are often used by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to determine its foreign economic assistance program.
However, the Coalition makes the following determination:
“At a February 2007 ministerial meeting in Paris, Sri Lanka and 58 other states endorsed the Paris Commitments to protect children from unlawful recruitment or use by armed forces or armed groups and the Paris Principles and guidelines on children associated with armed forces or armed groups. The documents reaffirmed international standards and operational principles for protecting and assisting child soldiers and followed a wide-ranging global consultation jointly sponsored by the French government and UNICEF.
“The LTTE were listed as a party recruiting and using children in hostilities in the Annex to the Secretary-General’s annual report on children and armed conflict between 2003 and 2007. The Karuna group was listed for child recruitment and use in 2006 and 2007.”
The Asian Tribune therefore presents the entire text of the Coalition’s 2008 Report on Sri Lanka for its government to take serious note of what an internationally-recognized and respected organization, whose findings are used by major donor countries, had to say about a serious international issue related to Sri Lanka.
The Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers is an international coalition to stop the use of child soldiers, both girls and boys - to prevent their recruitment and use; to secure their demobilization; and to promote their rehabilitation and reintegration. It works to achieve this through advocacy and public education; research and monitoring; and network development and capacity building.
The Coalition's goal is to promote the adoption and adherence to national, regional and international legal standards (including the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict) prohibiting the military recruitment and use in hostilities of any person younger than eighteen years of age; and the recognition and enforcement of this standard by all armed groups, both governmental and non-governmental.
It was formed in May 1998 by leading international human rights and humanitarian organizations. It has regional and national networks in Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. The International Coalition is based in London.
The Coalition's International Steering Committee member organizations are: Amnesty International, Defense for Children International, Human Rights Watch, International Federation Terre des Hommes, International Save the Children Alliance, Jesuit Refugee Service, and the Quaker United Nations Office-Geneva. It maintains active links with UNICEF, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the International labor Organization.
The last Global Report was published by the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers (Coalition) in November 2004.
Prabhakaran: Movie about LTTE Child Soldier
The Island: 23 May 2008
Having seen Thushara Peiris' Prabhakaran I felt that it is a film worth seeing, and even writing about. Though the adoption of the name Prabhakaran seemed a mere advertising gimmick before my viewing of it, it now reveals itself to me as a well-thought-out choice of a title that gives an ironical twist to the usual connotations of that name, which are due to its association with the leader of the most ruthless terror outfit in the world. That name is quite appropriate for the film in terms of the central concern of Peiris' cinematic tour de force. Though the description tour de force might seem somewhat of an exaggeration, the fact remains that Peiris , as a young film-maker, has made a conscientious attempt to artistically communicate, as best he could, a deeply felt experience through his chosen medium. My point is that though Prabhakaran is obviously not of the highest quality it displays signs of informed effort on the part of its author to turn out a good film.
Prabhakaran is not at all about the terrorist boss of that name. He is only a menacing presence in the background, which is occasionally invoked to exact obedience from those serving him under coercion. The film is based on an internal division in the terror organization between the bigoted leadership and the free thinking young disillusioned with its terror tactics.
Kamalani and her younger brother Prabhakaran are children of ethnically mixed parentage (father Tamil, mother Sinhalese) . They live in a so-called border village as members of a mixed community. Having lost their parents in their childhood to communal violence, they are brought up in an orphanage. Subsequently, Kamalani secretly joins the LTTE's suicide squad known as the Black Tiger Unit. She also gets her brother enlisted in the rebel movement. She is forced to marry Piyasoma, a young Sinhalese. The terror outfit tries to use both Prabhakaran and Kamalani in their campaign of terror through subjecting them to a kind of brainwashing about the necessity of avenging the murder of their parents. But when they see that it is poor people like themselves on both sides who get killed in communal violence, they lose faith in the terror outfit. Despite traumatic memories from the past, they do not now relish their part in rebel violence from which, however, they can't extricate themselves under the circumstances.
Kamalani becomes pregnant. The child inside her and her husband's love give her new hope. Prabhakaran, who is a child combatant, rebels against the repression of the terror group.
Isolated and stranded between their natural human passion for life and love, freedom and fulfillment on the one hand, and on the other, the relentless coercion of the terrorists they struggle heroically against their fate in their own way while events move inexorably to their tragic end.
The drama is unfolded against a rural, jungle setting. The time is the present time when Tamils, Sinhalese, and others coexist as peaceably as ever, despite the alleged ethnic conflict raging around them in the name of which a small section of the population is fighting a terrorist war against the government. The incidents of violence shown in the film like the killing of innocent civilians in rebel hold-ups , landmine attacks, night raids on villages in which sleeping villagers get knifed, and other similar outrages are plausible reconstructions of cases often heard about.
The people are unsophisticated rural peasants who bear the brunt of these terrorist attacks. These people care little about race distinctions among them. They eke out a meager living in unenviable circumstances, but still live a life of sharing and caring. When an elderly man among a group of villagers including the seven month pregnant Kamalani riding in the open back of a tractor jolting along a rough road, urges the driver to drive slowly saying, "Otherwise Piyasoma's wife will give birth to her baby here and now!" (The feeling of intimacy and camaraderie of his plain, perfectly explicit, unedited, colloquial Sinhalese does not come out in this clumsy English rendering), he expresses their collective concern for her comfort and wellbeing.
Lanka Mission: 22 May 2008
The total number of children recruited by the LTTE since January 2002 to September 2007 was well over six thousand, Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 issued by Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers said.
Children in the east were forcibly recruited and used by the Karuna group too.
The Report said that there is overwhelming evidence of recruitment, often forced, throughout areas in north and east although the LTTE consistently denied that it knowingly recruited children and it claimed that children sought to join by disguising their age.
"The recruitment of children typically followed a pattern of increased recruitment during the season of temple festivals and a fall during periods of international condemnation," the Report said.
The LTTE, which had recruited under-age fighters for many years, pledged on 18 June 2007 to rid its ranks of all under-18s by the end of 2007. However, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict reported that that the LTTE had assured her special advisor that they would accelerate the release of all children under the age of 17, but had not committed to the full release of children under 18.
The Report details a new village-based military training by LTTE, in which all civilians in uncleared ares aged between 15 and 50 were compelled to participate. In addition, there were reports of a new type of six-month residential military training being run by the LTTE, after which people were allowed to continue their civilian lives, but had to remain available for military duties.
The LTTE was listed as a party recruiting and using children in hostilities in the Annex to the Secretary-General’s annual report on children in armed conflict between 2003 and 2007. The Karuna group was listed for child recruitment and use in 2006 and 2007.
Colombo Page: 22 May 2008
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued to recruit and use children, despite repeated commitments not to do so, a global report on child soldiers released on Tuesday (May 20) said.
Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 published by the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, a non governmental organization based in London, UK said that the LTTE, which had recruited under-age fighters for many years, pledged on June 18 2007 to rid its ranks of all under-18s by the end of 2007.
Despite the pledges LTTE had not committed to the full release of children under 18, it said.
“The LTTE consistently denied that it knowingly recruited children and it claimed that children sought to join by disguising their age. However, there is overwhelming evidence of recruitment, often forced, throughout areas under LTTE control as well as from government-controlled areas in the north and east. The recruitment of children typically followed a pattern of increased recruitment during the season of temple festivals and a fall during periods of international condemnation,” the report noted.
Lanka Mission: 21 May 2008
The problem of child soldiers has been a recurrent nightmare for Sri Lanka, since the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam made almost a fetish of using children in their forces. Their baby brigade was a source of pride during the nineties and, even though they tried in the course of that decade to establish themselves as a respectable military organization, the issue of child soldiers reveals most clearly perhaps their rejection of civilized norms.
Though the issue had been noticed previously, it became a focus of attention following the 2002 Ceasefire Agreement. Child soldiers became the symbol as it were of continuing LTTE militarization. According to UNICEF data, there were a total of 6,183 cases of child recruitment by the LTTE in five years after the February 2002 CFA. Out of this 3,732 were boys and 2,451 were girls. Although these numbers appear high, these are still probably lower than the actual numbers. It is not possible to accurately determine the full extent of under-age recruitment for several reasons.
Some parents are not aware of existing reporting mechanisms. Others fear reprisal and so do not report. Most families suffer from intimidation and threats if they contravene LTTE orders. During the same period, the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, which ruled after examination on Ceasefire Violations, declared that there had been 1743 confirmed cases of child recruitment by the LTTE (out of 2062 allegations). There were none of course by the Government of Sri Lanka, which has never used child soldiers – though there was a single accusation of child recruitment made against the government, which was dismissed.
Though the Sri Lankan government has never used child soldiers, there have been allegations against it of complicity with former members of the LTTE in recruitment of child soldiers during the last few years. UNICEF has maintained a database of recruitment of children in the Eastern Province by the Karuna faction, which broke away from the LTTE in 2004. It should be noted that, immediately after the split, an estimated 1,800 children were released by the Karuna group. However, there was widespread re-recruitment of these children by the LTTE in mid-2004 and the Karuna faction then claimed that it was forced to take in children who were otherwise in danger. UNICEF data confirmed a total of 351 children overall recruited by the Karuna faction, mostly boys. There is no confirmation at all of government involvement, and the only allegation made by UNICEF was of soldiers at a checkpoint waving through cadres including children. Investigation revealed that, when the matter was brought to the notice of authorities, disciplinary action had been taken against the soldiers involved. No other allegations were made and, though a UN official recorded assertions of complicity in a report in 2006, he did not respond to requests for evidence.
The Island: 19 May 2008
What unfolded at the Presidential Secretariat on Friday had the trappings of a story in the Buddhist literature. Pillaiyan, a former terrorist who had been instrumental in unleashing violence against people, transmogrified into a democratically elected chief minister tasked with looking after the interests of the very populace he had once helped his erstwhile boss keep under the gun. Buddhist monks at his swearing-in ceremony blessed him and tied pirith nool round his wrist. Ironically, a decade back, his former organisation, the LTTE, had massacred about thirty Buddhist monks, including Samaneras at Aranthalawa in the Eastern Province.
The May 10 election where Pillaiyan was returned with the highest number of preferential votes was certainly not perfect. But, it was, no doubt, much better than the 1982 Referendum that the UNP used to extend the term of its government without losing its five-sixth majority and the 1999 Wayamba PC polls under the SLFP-led PA government—the worst ever election this country has had so far. We hadn’t had anything charitable to say about Pillaiyan until he started releasing child soldiers in his ranks but as for election violence, rigging etc. we wonder how anyone who didn’t oppose notorious criminals contracted by the UNP and the SLFP to terrorise the South during elections in the past, could seek to give Pillaiyan a bad name and hang him.
SPUR: 17 May 2008
The horrific exploitation of children in war has been exposed in a report by Plan, a UK based charity working with children all over the world. The report concentrates on the plight of the girl soldiers and goes on the say that more than 100,000 girls some as young as nine are being forced to fight in wars all over the world. The girls are being abducted, raped and forced into service and have fought in conflicts in 38 countries over the last two decades.
In their report Plan states that many of these girl soldiers have been forced in to guerrilla armies but some have also been used in government forces citing as an example the Republic of Congo where 12,500 girls fought on both sides.
Plan UK's chief executive Marie Staunton states that 'it is an international disgrace; Girls have the right to be safe and protected from the horrors of war. If we don't act now this horrendous legacy will continue in to the next generation.' She said that the situation is deteriorating as the number of 'low-intensity' conflicts involving child soldiers has doubled over 12 years, meaning that increasing numbers of girls will be conscripted. A total of 200 million girls live in strife-torn countries.
The report listed 38 countries which included Congo, Liberia, Uganda, Kosovo, India and Sri Lanka. In Congo there are currently 12500 girl soldiers, In Liberia by 2003 the number of girls soldiers had increased to 8500. The Lords Resistance Army in Uganda have abducted 6500 girls to fight their cause and in Kosovo girls as young as 14 were fighting with the Kosovo Liberation Army in 1998-1999. In India in the North Eastern state of Manipur there are reportedly 900-1,000 girl soldiers fighting with armed groups.
Sri Lanka Watch: 18 May 2008
10 people were killed and a further 95 were injured today when a LTTE suicide bomber rammed a motorcycle into a bus transporting Police riot squad personnel. Among the dead were 8 policemen. 30 more police personnel were wounded in the blast. There were soaring civilian casualties in the blast with over 50 civilians being injured. Another police bus and several three wheelers parked nearby sustained damages in the blast.
Few more bodies of LTTE cadres killed at the hands of 57th division were handed over to the ICRC today. 5 of the bodies were of female child soldiers.
Daily News: 16 May 2008
The latest move by the LTTE to make it compulsory for students in the Kilinnochchi and Mullaitivu districts who failed their GCE O/L exam at the first shy to join its fighting cadres should open the eyes of those human rights watchers who have right along been selective in apportioning blame on the Government for alleged violations of human rights.
For the first time Velupillai Prabhakaran had dropped all pretence of not letting the war disrupt the academic future of Tamils and issued an edict that would not only see the collapse of the whole educational edifice of the North which was once the pride of the Jaffna population.
This is not a case of merely denying these hapless youth a chance to continue with their education but is also the death knell of the core that formed the ethos of the Northern people where much emphasis was laid on education and academic attainments.
Time was when the North produced some of the most eminent names in the country's administrative sphere in the professions as well as in almost all other fields of endeavour. There are famous names that are synonymous with the medical profession to this day who hailed from the North. Their industry, drive and enterprise were cited as examples.
Their appetite for knowledge and education was the envy among people in the South. All these were achieved due to the great emphasis laid on education by the Northerners. Now this edifice has been destroyed in one fell swoop by Velupillai Prabhakaran.
His desperation to induct additional manpower has even blinded the LTTE leader to the rare credit accorded to him in the South where it was widely believed that while the war raged on in all its fury the one activity that continued uninterrupted was education in the North, unlike in the South where extremist parties orchestrated university strikes at the drop of a hat.
The mass defections from the outfit and the opening of facilities by the Government to accommodate the fleeing Tiger cadres and train them in job oriented vocations may also come into the equation in the LTTE leader's thinking, so as to keep as many youth in his fold.
No doubt coming straight out of school these youth obviously will not have had any arms training and it is they who would be sent to frontlines to face the current military onslaught of the Government Forces.
We hope that the NGOs and their foreign sponsors who never miss an opportunity to pounce on some infringement or other on the part of the Security Forces would turn their attention to this most glaring atrocity where youth are being virtually plucked out of their schools to be turned into killing machines.
How will this accord with the claim of the LTTE to be the sole representatives of the Tamil people? These are the 'material' which will later be turned into human bombs. What became of the pledges made to the UN Rapporteur on Children Olara Otunnu by the LTTE about releasing all child soldiers and that no forcible recruitment would be carried out in the future or of rehabilitating child conscripts and releasing them to their parents as pledged by Anton Balasingham during the initial rounds of Peace Talks.
Those busybodies who descend on Sri Lanka from time to time and lecture us on human rights should ask themselves if the human rights of the children living under the captivity of the LTTE are of less importance than the alleged violations of human rights committed by the State.
The Government on its part should lose no time in bringing this matter to the attention of the widest international audience if for no other reason than to have the world's human rights bodies focus on how the future of innocent school children is being cut short by a ruthless terrorist outfit in its quest for an utopian dream.
MoD: 13 May 2008
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has underscored the importance that Sri Lanka attaches to its relationship with the UN system. He made this observation following high level interactions with UN officials at the UN Headquarters in New York last week. During his visit, apart from his meeting with the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, the Minister also met the Executive Director of UNICEF Ms. Ann Veneman, UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs, Mr. Lynn B Pascoe and the UNDP Administrator, Mr. Kemal Dervis.
Discussing the challenges of development and rehabilitation in the North and the East, especially the road map for restoration of democracy, the Minister stated that rehabilitation and re-integration of former child combatants was a priority task, which required considerable resources and efforts. A successful re-integration process would need empowering children who had been involved in armed conflict with livelihood skills and value-based education so that they would be recognised as equal members of the society.
Minister Bogollagama drew the attention of the UNICEF Executive Director to the LTTE's continuing child recruitment practices, which compelled each family in the North to provide one child for that organization. The Minister explained how the LTTE had targeted civilians and civilian facilities, and its gross violations of human rights, including the ethnic cleansing of Muslims from the North. The LTTE was also engaged in organised crime, including arms-smuggling and narcotics trafficking. Ms. Veneman recalled reading an article recently, which described how Colombian drug dealers were using plastic submarines to smuggle arms and drugs, in an obvious comparison to the activities of LTTE.
BBC: May 2008
Former Tamil Tiger fighters are hoping to win political power in eastern Sri Lanka in provincial elections this Saturday.
The poll will lay the foundation for limited devolution that the government bills as the answer to ethnic minority Tamil people's decades-long complaints of domination by Sinhalese-led central governments.
Last July the government announced that the military had driven the Tamil Tigers from the area, after a year of fighting.
The offensive was helped by a defection from the Tigers.
In 2004 a rebel army of fighting men and women, complete with artillery, broke away led by Colonel Karuna Amman.
He had been the Tigers second in command.
The faction has now evolved into a political party, the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP) or Tamil People's Liberation Tigers.
Col Karuna Amman is in immigration detention in Britain after entering the country on a false passport. The TMVP is now led by a former Tiger child soldier who goes by the nom de guerre, Pillaiyan.
The TMVP says guns are needed for their own protection.
The party has forced children into its ranks too.
"After school I was playing with my friends," a recently released 15-year-old boy told the BBC.
He was prepared to speak about his abduction on condition of anonymity.
"They shouted at me to go with them, saying if you don't come we will beat you. The other boys ran away."
The teenager said he was given training in how to handle guns, and put to work.
The TMVP has given a number of children back to their families in the run up to the polls.
But the boy said others had been left behind in his camp.
"We don't need child soldiers but we have kept the children with us because we want to protect them and we wanted to guide them towards a bright future," said Pillaiyan, when asked about the issue of child soldiers.
"We didn't use them as a fighting force, we solved their problems. We had only 48 children in our group, we have sent 42 back to their homes."
But the government-allied TMVP's opponents are confident they have enough support to beat them in the eastern province, where the population is roughly evenly divided between Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese.
"They have a sordid past, people are not going to forget it easily," said Rauff Hakeem, the leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress who hopes to become chief minister if an alliance of opposition parties wins the poll.
Asian Tribune: 25 April 2008
The Government of Sri Lanka has welcomed a further release of 28 child combatants (age 12-17) by the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal on 24th April 2008.
They were released with the presence of the Commissioner General Rehabilitation and UNICEF Officials. (While 20 of these children immediately returned to their families, 8 have expressed their interest to participate in a rehabilitation process).
On 7th April 2008 an initial group of 11 children were released by the TMVP and accepted by the Government. Another two children were handed over to the Batticaloa police today, the 25th morning which is now come about to 41.
The Government appreciates the strong commitment shown by TMVP.
This move is a clear indication of their commitment towards abiding by their zero tolerance policy on child recruitment and having under-aged persons within their Organization.
The Government of Sri Lanka having recognized this commitment and the children’s interests is taking necessary action to enable these children to undergo psychological evaluations, counseling and programmes aimed at providing them with an education, vocational training and skills development.
The Island: 11 April 2008
The Island: 11 April 2008
The assassinations of Minister Jeyraj Fernandopulle & Minister Lakshman Kadiragamar are important for several reasons. Had both been Sinhalese or Buddhists one could have understood the LTTE’s decision to assassinate in the light of their argument that Sinhalese Buddhists are against the Tamils & are denying them their right to self-determination. Then, why would the LTTE wish to carry out the coldblooded killings of two individuals who were Tamil? Minister Kadiragamar was a Hindu but Minister Fernandopulle was a Catholic. Given the present Madhu controversy & the rumors of LTTE links with the Catholic Church the death of Minister Fernandopulle is most intriguing. However, the LTTE’s past history of killings is too large to mention but have included Tamils, Hindus, Sinhalese, Buddhists, Christians as well as Catholics. Their only “friends” are those who contribute to their killing machine. They have so far only kidnapped foreigners but perhaps it may be only a matter of time given their capabilities that they may enter international contract killings as well.
It then baffles any simpleton why powerful nations like the US, UK, EU, Canada & India choose to designate the LTTE as a terrorist outfit in their country, accuse it of forceful recruitment of child soldiers, prepare countless dossiers on their illicit dealings, declare the outfit to be the most dangerous more so than the Al Qaeda but continue to use direct & indirect means to pressure the Government of Sri Lanka into indulging in futile peace talks for negotiated settlement –with a terrorist movement that exists because of their power to kill?
Daily Mirror: 09 April 2008
Conscripted at 12
Vignesh*, a 21 year old is a quiet young man, despite his hawkish eyes. Reluctantly he unfolds his tale, from the time he dropped out of school in grade 7 and was conscripted by the LTTE.
“I lived in Killinochchi at that time. We were taken to a place in Mullaitivu and were given a thorough weapons training to handle pistols, AK 47s and T56 guns. But I wasn’t involved in any operations. I was just working in their camps,” he added.
“I was with them for sometime, but managed to escape and come back home later,” he said. Vignesh’s family relocated to one of the islands near the Jaffna peninsula and enrolled him in school.
“Although I tried hard it was difficult to catch up what I had missed, while I was in the movement. I failed my OLs. When the LTTE entered Jaffna again after the Ceasefire agreement they tracked me down and I had to their bidding,” he said.
“I can’t forget the instance when a group of soldiers were killed by a claymore that I planted. It is difficult to erase those memories. But now, I feel safe under the wings of the army. I want to start my life afresh,” he said.
The little spy
Seventeen year old Senthuran from Velvetithurei - LTTE supremo Prabakharan’s home town - looks too small for his age.
“My father was a fisherman. But he would stay at home for days, because of the fishing restrictions. At other times the catch was poor because of the Indian boats. I dropped out of school because I wanted to help my mother to send my younger brother and sister to school,” he said.
But his efforts to eke out a living, scaling fish and shouting to sell the skimpy catch proved futile.
“The LTTE promised to help my family. So I went willingly,” he said.
“We weren’t put in a camp. They wanted us to get friendly with the army and move closely with them to find out details about military movements. They said that the army won’t harm us because we were small children,” Senthuran said.
“There was one akka who looked after us during the training and she was the one we reported to. I also knew Kaviarsen from the LTTE intelligence unit,” he said.
“They promised us so much but they didn’t give anything to my family. They took what they wanted and left us suddenly. My parents felt afraid and brought me to the Human Rights Commission,” he added.
“I can’t work here even if I go back. I want to go abroad and earn enough to take care of my parents,” he added.
My Daughter the Terrorist reveals LTTE’s diabolical deception
Asian Tribune: 08 April 2008
“Terrorists are not terrorists without victims”, was an insightful comment made by a member of the audience, during a brief discussion at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, North Carolina, on April 4, 2008, following the screening of, “My Daughter the Terrorist,” a documentary on LTTE suicide bombers.
Hundreds of Sri Lankan expatriates in the U.S., who read the news of the screening of the documentary a few days before the event, reportedly bombarded the organizers of the film festival with protest emails, faxes and telephone calls, for promoting LTTE propaganda. This time around, the screening of the film was not a cake walk for the promoters of terrorism and suicide bombers. The Department of State, the Justice Department, the FBI and the Governor of North Carolina were formally informed about it by the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington DC. The FBI reportedly contacted the organizers of the film festival. The pro-LTTE TamilNet hurriedly removed the news item from its web site on April 2 and returned it to the web site on the following day.
Despite the fire and fury of this flurry of activity, the documentary was duly screened and attended by discerning individuals, who, unfortunately for the LTTE, failed to be duped by its obvious attempt at propaganda. There were several comments from the audience about the one-sided view of the documentary and suggestions that it was promoting terrorism. There was only one positive comment from a viewer about the movie.
The question that arises at the very inception is, did Norwegian film maker and director of the documentary, Beate Arnestad, understand the basic contradiction in her documentary? She says she was trying to analyze the psyche of suicide bombers and the reasons why they take to destroying life so ruthlessly. At the same time she admits that one of the two suicide bombers she featured in her film, were kidnapped by the LTTE at the age of 12. If that is the case, how could it have been their free choice to become suicide bombers? Can a 12 year old volunteer to join a terrorist outfit like the ‘Tigers,’ let alone stepping forward to be trained as a suicide bomber? Fielding questions from the audience, Arnestad said that the people she talked to, could not say anything bad about the Tigers, because they would be killed for it. If she was unbiased and professional, she should have probably had a disclaimer in the film about the limitations she encountered in working with suicide cadres handpicked by the LTTE. It is significant that her perspective of the LTTE appeared to be totally different then, to what was reported on TamilNet.
Furthermore, even though Arnestad did not dwell on the issue of child soldiers, the documentary clearly showed that LTTE cadres consisted of child soldiers, a heinous practice despised by all civilized societies. Many were the scenes in the documentary which showed young teenagers as LTTE fighters. Viewers felt sick at heart, listening to middle schoolers screeching frenziedly at the battlefront. Did the LTTE expect western audiences to applaud such methodology or to give a nod of approval? It also underlined the moral responsibility of media to portray with honesty, the horror of child soldiers, and not glorify the abominable practice in the name of causes however lofty they may be. No cause, however worthy, can justify the sacrifice of innocent children, and no cause, however worthy, can justify the resort to terrorism aiming to kill innocent, unarmed civilians.
Daily Mirror: April 2008
The Sri Lankan government has raised its concerns over the lack of validation of the statistics issued by the UNICEF, on the number of child soldiers enlisted in the ranks of the LTTE and the TMVP.
“It was brought to the notice of the UN Special Envoy on Children in Armed Conflict Radhika Kumaraswamy during my last visit to New York, that there needs to be an authentication mechanism for the figures put out by the UNICEF in relation to the situation in Sri Lanka. These statistics are prepared based on complaints received by the UNICEF. But it is not shared with the government at present to allow us to conduct an independent investigation to establish the authenticity of these claims,” Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told the Daily Mirror.
“We are currently trying to establish a mechanism where this information can be shared with the government in a confidential manner so that all stakeholders can come to an agreement on the actual numbers after independent verification,” he said.
According to Mr. Samarasinghe this verification was essential because “sometimes the LTTE puts up people to make false allegations. Because they are accused of being the main perpetrator in child recruitment cases, they are trying to digress and refocus the attention on government controlled areas, while accusing the Karuna faction.”
The LTTE had last week claimed to have released 22 child soldiers and disputed figures from UNICEF that the rebels still had hundreds of under-age fighters.
The LTTE said they were also trying to locate families of 20 children still within their ranks. The guerrillas accused UNICEF, which lists several hundred children in LTTE ranks, of not updating its database. The rebels said another 41 child soldiers remained within their ranks but could not be released because most of them did not have parents or guardians.
Over the last two decades, the Tigers have promised to free children from their rank and file, but they have been accused of failing to take concrete action.
There was no immediate comment from UNICEF to the Tigers’ statement, but the agency’s website said there were 1,428 outstanding cases of child recruitment by the rebels at the end of February 2008. “Of these, 181 are under the age of 18, and 1,247 were recruited while under 18, but have now passed that age,” UNICEF said.
Wake Up America: 07 April 2008
The Tamil Tigers, a terrorist organization formerly known as Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), has established fund-raising branches in 12 different countries, including the Untied States.
The Tamil Tigers are copious in their use of suicide bombers and are known to be the first in using women for suicide bombings as well as being the first group responsible for the assassinations of two world leaders, the former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 and the 1993 assassination of the Ranasinghe Premadasa, president of Sri Lanka, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI).
This group has set up show in many different countries to help them bankroll and equip their three decade old plan to violently overthrow the government of Sri Lanka.
This fundraising effort is meant to help them purchase millions of dollars worth of anti-aircraft weapons, automatic rifles, grenade launchers, ammunition, explosives and other military equipment.
They have established operations in Maryland, New York and New Jersey.
Last year in New York, the FBI arrested a man described as a "director of US operations, his name was Karunakaran Kandasamy, he was accused of raising money and setting up meetings between US money men and Sri Lanka terrorist operatives.
According to the Washington Times article, that 32 page complaint against Kandasamy, said that the "LTTE relied on "sympathetic Tamil expatriates" in the U.S., Canada, Britain, Australia, France and other countries to raise and launder money; smuggle arms, explosives, equipment and technology to Sri Lanka; obtain intelligence about the Sri Lankan government; and spread propaganda."
The FBI describes this terror group as one of the "most dangerous and deadly" extremists organizations in the world. They further state that the LTTE has provided inspiration to terror groups worldwide and that the group had "placed operatives right here in our own back yard, discreetly raising money to fund its bloody terrorist campaign overseas."
The US Department of Justice issued a release when the complaint against Kandasamy was unsealed, in April of 2007, and they pointed to eleven other related indictments issued in the Eastern District of New York on charges relating to the material support of the LTTE.
Eleven defendants were previously indicted in the Eastern District of New York on charges relating to the material support of the LTTE. One indictment, United States v. Sathajhan Sarachandran, et al., charges five individuals with attempting to purchase several dozen surface-to-air missiles and other military arms and equipment from an undercover FBI agent in Queens, New York. The second indictment, United States v.Thavarajah Pratheepan et al., charges the defendants with participating a wide-ranging conspiracy to provide material support to the LTTE through the procurement of military arms and technology, attempting to bribe purported U.S. State Department officials to remove the LTTE from the foreign terrorist organization list and to sell classified intelligence concerning the LTTE, fundraising, and the LTTE’s covert payment of a U.S. Congressman’s trip to LTTE-controlled territory.
That Congressman was Danny Davis (D-IL.) trip stirred up controversy by his accepting a trip to Sri Lanka in 2005 on behalf of the Tamil minority there, paid for by the Tamil Tigers, a group that the U.S. government has designated as a terrorist organization for its use of suicide bombers and child soldiers. Davis said that he was unaware that the Tigers were the source of the trip's funding.
Another arrest and conviction which led to a 57 month prison sentence for a man caught in Maryland, Thirunavukarasu Varatharasa, a Sri Lankan national, who was convicted of support to the LTTE and the attempted exportation of arms and munitions and in that criminal complaint and according to the plea deal he made, he conspired to export $900,000 worth of machine guns, ammunition, surface-to-air missiles, night-vision goggles and other military weapons to Sri Lanka.
According to his plea deal, if delivery of the first purchase was successful, a second order would have been placed for $15 million.
A senior terrorism and insurgency analyst at Rand Corp., Peter Chalk, says that the group's venture into the US to raise funds was "probably an experiment" and the group may have learned a lesson from all the US arrests of their members.
Chalk goes on to say that, "the LTTE has always had a large, prolific international network and has been quite prolific in Canada for fundraising."
Canadian authorities say that the LTTE have blackmailed many former Sri Lankans for money, by threatening their families in Sri Lanka.
The last word goes to FBI Assistant Director Mark J. Mershon, who heads the bureau's New York field division, who says, "We can no sooner allow terrorists to raise funds here than we would allow them to carry out acts of terrorism here."
MoD: 07 April 2008
LTTE had been setting new examples in terrorism in the past. They established the craft of using suicide bombs to the world. Most of LTTE suicide bomb missions have utilized women. LTTE has been identified as a terrorist organization having the highest number of child soldiers in their military wing.
They have already killed leaders of two countries including Rajeev Gandhi, former prime minister of India and R. Premadasa, former president of Sri Lanka. They have killed large number of democratically elected politicians in Sri Lanka. In the past, LTTE have killed hundreds of Buddhist monks in cold blood in various incidents.
Ever since first Olympic game was held, sport had been considered to be symbolic gesture of world peace and harmony. Now LTTE has set another example for world terrorist organizations to follow. LTTE suicide cadre has blown himself at a SPORTS event killing 14 civilians including the Minister of Highway and Road Development of Sri Lanka, Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, who attended for the starting ceremony of marathon race. K.A. Karunarathna, the Olympian, the former national marathon champion and South Asian marathon gold medalist, and Luxman Alwis, the national athletic coach of Sri Lanka, were among killed in this covered act. This time LTTE has set another example for world terrorist oraganisations by using a suicide bomber pretend to be an athlete. The most of the innocent people killed in the incidents are the athletes participated in the marathon event itself.
Daily News: 04 April 2008
The events unfolding in the country in every sphere are giving a hard time for the LTTE. For the first time in the history they are facing the most complex and difficult circumstances in the three decade long history of the conflict compelled to face simultaneously the military thrust, political battle and the international pressure while fighting an inside war within the Wanni territory to keep Tamil civilians under their control.
It is obvious that the LTTE is facing a crisis this time as it has lost their most prestigious men within the past two years. LTTE theoretician Anton Balasingham who faced a natural death after prolonged illness and also the death of its political wing leader S.P. Thamilselvan in an air raid has affected it severely.
The majority of the people are well aware of the fact that their lives will not be safe at the hands of the LTTE in Wanni. Sources from Wanni indicate that people are organising themselves to protest against the LTTE against the forcible child recruitment with many of the villagers setting up sentries to prevent Tiger cadres entering their villages to forcibly take their children.
Since unarmed Tiger cadres are entering villages in the night to take away their children to train them as armed cadres, a trend is reportedly developing among the public in the Wanni to capture these cadres and assault them publicly.
So the Tiger cadres are scared to enter the villages even in the night fearing that they will be assaulted by the people there.
According to people fleeing the Wanni the civilians have been able to protect many of their young children from the LTTE by hiding them in jungles. Even when they were ‘arrested’ by the LTTE they have been able to escape as the LTTE is running short of manpower to keep these forcibly recruited children under arrest.
Two families from Mullaitivu managed to escape the Tiger grip this week too with 26 people surrendering to the Navy after arriving in Kallarawa and Nilaweli in boats on Tuesday morning.
According to these civilians they had escaped Mullaitivu to protect three of their children from the LTTE who had managed to escape the Tiger arrest following their conscription.
That was the second batch of civilians who had chosen this sea path to escape the LTTE and surrender to the Security Forces. So this trend is expected to develop in the coming weeks too as a huge opposition to the LTTE rule is now developing in the Wanni.
The Island: 03 April 2008
The UN officials and bureaucrats have assumed a new role as protectors of human rights and their agents have been the INGOs and the NGOs with vested interests, and Western nations who want to intervene in countries of interest to them. Instead of following its lawful and legitimate mandate to support Sri Lanka as a sovereign state and a member of the UN, they have joined the international community, the INGO and NGO mafia, to aid and abet in furthering the process for intervention which has the effect of protecting the notorious terrorist organisation – the LTTE. Its record of stopping gross human rights violations in Sri Lanka – such as child recruitment by the LTTE, has been a pathetic failure. It is well known that the LTTE has shown complete disregard and treated with contempt the strictures and the adverse comments made by the UN on the child soldier issue. The UN agencies have been ineffective on the child soldier issue and there has been a failure to meaningfully monitor aspects of malpractice in Sri Lanka. The UN is fully aware of this, but has complacently continued to accept the lack of commitment by the LTTE showing great leniency and laxity in curbing terrorism.
Asian Tribune: 02 April 2008
Dr. Olga Mendis, President, Sinhala Cultural and Community Services Foundation Melbourne,in a point by point reply to Prof. Damien Kingsbury's article in the Melbourne Age, has asserted that LTTE terrorism must end if an answer is to be found to the conflict in Sri Lanka.
Dr. Mendis states that " A number of countries including the United States, United Kingdom, European Union, Canada and Malaysia have designated the LTTE as a terrorist organization. India has also continued with its ban since 1992 when a LTTE woman suicide bomber killed former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
The LTTE has conducted a campaign of terror for nearly three decades in an attempt to carve out an ethnically cleansed separate state from the island of Sri Lanka (which is smaller than Tasmania). It has used a range of terrorist tactics including suicide bombings, arms, people & drug smuggling, blowing up of passenger aircraft, vessels & buses, assassination of political rivals including non-compliant Tamils, and the ethnic cleansing of Sinhala and Muslims civilians. Despite many assurances to the International Community, LTTE continues to forcibly conscript child soldiers to compensate for its dwindling support base within the Tamil civilian population, and use Tamil civilians as human shields in battles with the Sri Lankan defence forces.
Taipei Times / AFP: 01 April 2008
Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers said yesterday they had released 22 child soldiers and disputed figures from the UN Children's Fund that the rebels still had hundreds of under-age fighters.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) said they were also trying to locate families of 20 children still within their ranks.
The guerrillas accused UNICEF, which lists several hundred children in LTTE ranks, of not updating its database.
The rebels said another 41 child soldiers remained within their ranks but could not be released because most of them did not have parents or guardians.
Over the last two decades, the Tigers have promised to free children from their rank and file, but they have been accused of failing to take concrete action.
There was no immediate comment from UNICEF to the Tigers' statement, but the agency's Web site said there were 1,428 outstanding cases of child recruitment by the rebels at the end of February.
"Of these, 181 are under the age of 18, and 1,247 were recruited while under 18 but have now passed that age," UNICEF said.
UNICEF said it knew of another 235 outstanding cases of child soldier recruitment by the Karuna group, which operates in the island's east and is believed to help government troops fight the Tigers.
"UNICEF estimates that its database only reflects a third of the actual number of children recruited," the UN agency said, adding that it continuously checks its figures to ensure accuracy.
MoD: 01 April 2008
A group of 26 Tamil civilians who had escaped the non liberated areas in Mullaithivu, sought refuge in the Naval Division in Nilaweli and Kallarawa in Trincomalee today, (April 1) reported that LTTE has intensified recruiting children in Mullaithivu and Kilinochchi districts .
According to the Navy sources , a group of eleven civilians consisting of 05 adult males, 04 adult females and 02 children arrived at Nilaweli Naval division while another group of 15, comprising nine males and 06 females at Kallarawa this morning.
The escapees have revealed that they had to leave their homes to save their children from the LTTE.
Navy said that the two groups of refugees had arrived in two fibre glass dinghies. One dinghy had 11 persons onboard including two children one aged just seven months and the other aged two and half years. The other boat had 15 persons onboard, said the sources
Upon sighting the distress calls of the escapees, the naval troops had immediately rushed to their assistance and accompanied them ashore under naval protection. They are now being provided with food and drink as well as necessary medical treatments and accommodations, the sources added.
Lanka Web: 31 March 2008
Where are the dogs that howl till the cows come home about free media? They are all in pretended sleep when Thushara Peiris was assaulted. This young film director has produced a blockbuster that will hit the local and foreign audiences with a big bang. The theme of the movie is very appropriate and the movie is a timely production that can tell the world the other side of the story they have seen in a popular video sharing website. When the TV footage of the LTTE suicide bombing in an attempt to kill Hon Douglas Devananda, MP was put on this video sharing website it became an instant hit with over half a million views. It may be world’s first such live footage that can provide immense food for thought for terrorism experts. However, most viewers would have been laymen who must be wondering what is going on in Sri Lanka, Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc. where suicide bombers blow themselves with morbid aspirations. Thushara’s film “Prabakaran” is a marvellous endeavour to enlighten them.
They flatly refused to join the barbaric campaign of the LTTE. Then the LTTE targeted South Indian Dalits who are heavily discriminated against by the Indian society based on a cruel caste system. Although this provided a good source of cadres until 1987 things changed thereafter as India didn’t allow the LTTE on its soil for the fear of own safety. Then the LTTE had no choice but to abduct children from schools, brainwash them, put a necklace with a potassium cyanide capsule around their necks; tie C4 explosives and other suicide devices to their bodies and send them to kill.
The United Nations has acknowledged the use of child soldiers numbering a few thousand by the LTTE and has repeatedly warned it. However, Tamil Tigers (LTTE) continues to use child soldiers to meet the ever increasing challenge posed by the security forces. Emotional and human considerations of using children as cannon fodder were never the subject matter of artistic depiction before although documentaries like “No More Tears Sister” did explore the ruthlessness of the LTTE in some depth.
Sri Lanka Watch: 28 March 2008
It is an apparent fact that the LTTE has greater focus on propaganda than the Sri Lanka government. Exactly how they maximize their propaganda is an interesting topic for discussion. The fact that the LTTE has thousands of internet sites, newspapers and other materials does not completely explain their propaganda machine.
Quite ironically, the 'Reality in Truth' camera unit never show the Tigers capturing injured soldiers alive. This is because the Tigers often kill injured soldiers in many of the biggest battles. They also fail to show females and child soldiers sent to their death in the Ceaseless Waves. In a sense, the Battlefield Camera Unit of the LTTE is also canon fodder. Large numbers, perhaps over 150 have either been killed or seriously injured so far.
Asian Tribune: 27 March 2008
V Anandasangaree, President of TULF, in a Message to the Tamil Nadu stated that the LTTE had lost their credibility to speak for the Tamils of Sri Lanka by their atrocious activities perpetrated on the innocent Tamil Civilians who are living like slaves for several years surrounded by constant fear and tension. The recklessness with which the LTTE cadre act is the main cause for the large scale displacements of the people from their homes. He added: "The concerns of the 60 Million people of Tamil Nadu in India, for the people of the same ethnic group, just 20 miles across the sea in Sri Lanka’s North and East, dominated by the Tamils and Muslims, is understandable.
The LTTE had lost their credibility to speak for the Tamils of Sri Lanka by their atrocious activities perpetrated on the innocent Tamil Civilians who are living like slaves for several years surrounded by constant fear and tension. The recklessness with which the LTTE cadre act is the main cause for the large scale displacements of the people from their homes. Those who could afford, fled to Foreign countries and some others moved to India, although getting into LTTE territory is much easier then taking a risk and leaving by boat to India. All those who go to India are not refugees. They want their children saved from being enrolled as child soldiers and also like to have their children educated which facilities are denied to them due to regular demonstrations and protest marches in which children are compelled to participate and call for frequent hartals by the LTTE upset normal life.
Lanka Web: 26 March 2008
I was a Roman Catholic for most of my life and i have a hunch that i will return to the church before I die. My love for the church was based on more than my faith in God (which at present is non existent). IMO its theology is better and more sophisticated that any other religions' philosophy (including Buddhism's which i consider a religion BTW). I am a great fan of both the current and the previous Pope. i also think that Catholic Church was the greatest formative influence in creation of the modern world and culture in which we live, whether or not we, or the church itself, like how it has turned out. And I love the pageantry, singing, and all other associated paraphernalia.
He has allowed priests under him like the ones depicted above to participate in LTTE propaganda and has not disciplined them as far as I know. The Bishop of Mannar himself has attended LTTE propaganda rallies and other functions, including reportedly the funeral of murderers like Thamilchelvan and has turned a blind eye to child soldiers participating in such functions.
Daily News: 26 March 2008
Defence spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said yesterday that the responsibility of the media is vital when they report on national security and other important issues affecting the country.
Addressing the media at the weekly security news briefing, Minister Rambukwella said certain media institutions had sought to discredit Army Commander Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka by portraying him as making political statements.
The Minister read out extracts from a weekend English and Sinhala newspaper on the Army Commander viz ?Last year he said that he will be capturing Jaffna, Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu and now he is saying that he will be destroying the terrorists.
Referring to another article on the death count of the LTTE where it was reported that only around 600 LTTE cadres are left and the Military should capture LTTE controlled areas soon after the remaining Tigers are killed, Minister Rambukwella reiterated that one should be aware the LTTE is continuously recruiting cadres to their outfit forcefully including child soldiers.
This was also revealed by UNICEF, he said.
Lanka Web: 26 March 2008
Since Sri Lanka is to be subject in a few weeks to the Universal Periodic Review of the United Nations Human Rights Council, it has been the subject of a spate of attacks by many organizations with interests in this subject. Though many of them repeat the same points, with more or less exaggeration and unwarranted generalization, it is sadly necessary to respond in detail to as many of them as possible. This paper will address the issues put forward by the Sri Lanka Democracy Forum. Sadly its confrontational approach, beginning in the very first paragraph with a sectarian characterization of the current government that insinuates it is not concerned about all Sri Lankan citizens, suggests that its assertions should be treated with care.
6. Child soldiers
The issue of child soldiers is vital, but SLDF has also fallen into the trap, first perpetrated by the LTTE, of equating the LTTE abuse of children with that of the Karuna faction. It is clear from detailed reports that this was systemic in the LTTE. Naturally the Karuna faction, which broke away from the LTTE, still has individuals who see nothing wrong with the practice, particularly in the context of the LTTE having begun to rerecruit all those disbanded by the faction soon after it split from the LTTE in 2004.
However, with a change of leadership in the Karuna faction, which has shown itself anxious to enter the democratic process, it is hoped that old habits will die and the Eastern Province at least will be cleaned of this scourge. The main problem however requires more concerted action, and the tolerance displayed by the international community, not only to defiant violation of norms but continuing forced conscription, must stop forthwith, without hiding behind a cloak of balance.
MoD: 27 March 2008
Sri Lankan film director Thushara Perera was inhumanly assaulted at Gemini Colour Laboratory, in Chennai yesterday by a violent mob lead by LTTE supporters. Thushara, a young film director who had gone to India to complete the Tamil version of his maiden film "Prbhakaran" suffered serious injuries including cut wounds on his back as the mob laid hands on him as he was coming out of the laboratory.
Thushara told media that he had run to save his life while the mobsters chased him and assaulted him until he got unconscious for about 45 minutes. Indian Police had rescued him and rushed him to immediate medical attention. Thushara is now undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Colombo
The young film director came under the wrath of LTTE, a banned terrorist outfit in India as his maiden film "Prabhakaran" is based on a story of a Child soldier who was brain washed into suicide bomber by the outfit. As child soldiers and brain washed suicide bombers are commonly identified with LTTE terrorists, the film has been considered as a huge threat by the LTTE propagandists.
According to Thushara, there have been massive and misleading propaganda claiming that the film was anti Tamil, by certain Indian media. However, the film maker claimed that the film is not anti Tamil or even not against terrorism, to LTTE to get annoyed.
Asian Tribune: 26 March 2008
Extreme hardship and cruel treatment meted out to people living under LTTE rule are now coming to light as letters reach the Asian Tribune from those under the grip of a terrorist rule.
Vanni – the land under the control of Velupillai Prabakaran, the reclusive leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam is an open air prison. People living in Vanni areas of Killinochchi, Mullaithievu and a section of Mannar have with great difficulty managed to send out reports and harrowing details of their hardships and misery under the jackboots of the ruthless Tigers who have a complete hold over he people.
Everyday, Asian Tribune is receiving letters and information from Vanni about the hardship faced by the people and their lives spent under constant threats and intimidation.
The people inform that they have no other place to report of their misery and hardship and hence to Asian Tribune.
Tamil diaspora living outside Sri Lanka are sending money to Vanni hoping that their contributions might alleviate the sufferings of the people holed up in the Vanni area. Unfortunately people over there are in dire conditions of slavery and even unable to express their fears.
Given below is one of the heart wrenching letters, which was as usual smuggled out of Vanni and sent to Asian Tribune:
To Whom It May Concern
I'm living in a village name withheld, a remote village in Kilinochi district in northern Sri Lanka. Our area is totally governed by Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE). LTTE has started forceful recruitment for more than one year now.
According to their new law one person from each family should join their forces. If we failed to do, we will be taken forcefully.
Even if we hide inside the house, they will break the door and enter the house even at midnight and will take the children despite the cries of parents. Some people like me were hiding in the thick jungle without bothering about the danger.
Most of the people, who have been taken forcefully, after a short period of military training, are sent to the battlefront. It's sad to say many of them have already died.
If no one is married yet, they are not allowed to marry. There were several people who married to escape from forceful recruitment, however they all are apprehended and taken forcefully and send to the battle field.
Only people who have serious medical illness are allowed to travel to government control area. Some people are leaving via jungles and hidden places despite severe risk.
All modes of communications are monitored. Local media in the capital city, Colombo, even though they knew the problem, they are reluctant to talk against LTTE.
We have some non governmental organizations in our area like ICRC, UNHCR…, it is very difficult for us complain to them publicly and they are also reluctant to take any actions to our complaints.
Several months back foreign media personnel visited Killinochi, and the interview they had with people affected was broadcasted in BBC Tamil service, after which their was a minor reduction in forceful recruitment, but now they have started it all over again.
Actually we don't know to whom to inform and how to inform. We hope you can pressurize the LTTE like you are doing talking about child soldiers and they will response.
Please make this public and pressurize the LTTE and save our life.
Please do anything as soon as possible. We think this is the only possible way now. Please help us to save our life.
(Name withheld for the safety of the writer who still lives in Vanni)
Sinhalaya: 25 March 2008
The Human Rights Watch report has as promised generated vast appeal. Its report titled “Recurring Nightmare – State responsibility for “disappearances” & abductions in Sri Lanka brought with it several other avalanches as well. It was only to be expected.
Having gone through the 498 cases of “abductions / missing” highlighted, there were a few questions that came to mind – would a 5 year old & an 8 year old be involved in terrorist activity to be “abducted” by the Sri Lankan Army & taken for questioning? Most unlikely, but then didn’t the UN file many reports exposing the LTTE of recruiting child soldiers – but reports apart, very little has been done to curb the LTTE’s child recruitment? Then there were also 20 other such cases of names & it was most surprising that their families didn’t know how old they were (report says “age unknown”). Does this not raise more than a few eyebrows & question the credibility of the said document which should have no faults whatsoever if it is seeking to accuse a State Government & its army of targeted abductions & disappearances?
Daily News: 24 March 2008
The LTTE’s so called Senior Editor of Viduthalaipuligal, identified as Ravi from the official media organ of the Tiger organization was quoted in a newspaper last week as saying the Government troops were fighting an unwinnable war.
This is a wrong notion that is being believed even at international level that a war has been declared by the Sri Lankan Government.
The international Human Rights Bodies and Country Reports prepared by nations hit by terrorism, scream about human rights violations here. What have they done about the child combatants recruited by Prabhakaran? Isn’t recruitment of under aged children a human rights violation? When Olara Otunu of the United Nations came here, Prabhakaran promised to stop child conscription.
In contrast, the LTTE leader began to recruit more and more children to his terror outfit. The UN just turned a blind eye. From Otunu to Allen Rock and Kofi Annan to Louise Arbour, the LTTE leader had conscripted thousands and thousands of innocent Tamil children. The tragedy is that all Human Rights Organizations are blind towards such a dastardly crime that destroys future generations of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka.
SPUR: 24 March 2008
United Nations Organization (UNO) was formed after the Second World War by member nations among other things to ensure that a militarily powerful nation will never be able to threaten the sovereignty and territorial integrity of another member nation. However this very basic intention of the UNO has been made to stand on its head after many western nations recognized Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence. In this context it is important to note that the western nations who were signatories to the UN resolution 1244 of June 1999 that reaffirmed the commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states in the region including Serbia, calling Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia a unique case that justifies its recognizance. It will no doubt be a unique case until another unique case is found by western nations with vested interests for similar action. This is the fear that is widely expressed in this country, because we too may be considered as a unique case in the near future, given the fact that vested interests that manipulated events in Kosovo, based mostly on human rights violations, have been very vociferous in finding fault with our country for its record on human rights.
While the UN agencies and the INGOS were smarting over their inability to spotlight a humanitarian disaster in the east, due to the efficient way in which the security forces liberated the east, with minimum damage to civilian life and property, we had Allen Rock visiting this country and making unfounded allegations that the security forces were helping and abating in child soldier recruitment. We then had Dr. Rama Mani the successor to Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy at ICES, another NGO funded by western countries, inviting Gareth Evans for the Neelan Tiruchelvam lecture and his efforts at this lecture to justify the UN concept of 'Responsibility to Protect' in countries where human rights were being violated. His visit was closely followed by that of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour's appearance and her efforts to grossly exaggerate the human Rights situation, with recommendations to establish a UN monitoring mission in this country. These are indeed very clear indications of the surreptitious efforts adapted to undermine the sovereignty of our nation.
Sunday Observer: 23 March 2008
The Thamil Makkal Viduthalai Pukkikal (TMVP) said that the people of the East were thankful to the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government and the military for ending the fearful era under the clutches of the LTTE terrorists.
The first woman Mayor of the Batticaloa district, Sivageetha Prabakharan of the TMVP told the 'Sunday Observer' that the TMVP hopes the Government would liberate the people in the North from the LTTE terrorists soon.
"We wish that our people in the North too will breathe the air of freedom soon," she said
Agreeing that the TMVP still shelters children, she said that after the split, the LTTE tortured the younger brothers of the TMVP carders.
Mayor Prabhakaran, who seeks Government assistance to develop the district, assured that public money allocated for development would not be allowed to be misused under her administration.
Q: The TMVP is accused by international human rights organisations for child conscription. You were a teacher. Did you support children to join the TMVP or were you helpless?
A: No. We actually did not want children to join our group because using children as soldiers is a great human rights violation. We had discussed this issue with the UNICEF and other relevant organisations several times. The truth is that we had many children who had joined our organisation at the beginning because of the split in the outfit.
What had happened was when the elder brother joined the TMVP, the young ones of that family were tortured by the LTTE. So they came running to us seeking protection.
We were helpless and we could not do any thing other than sheltering them. When the situation had improved, we, with the help of the UNICEF and other organisations, handed over most of the children to their parents.
Q: So are you saying that there are no child soldiers with the TMVP now?
A: There are some children with us even now. Most of them do not have parents and they are orphans. We do not like to have children as soldiers. If any social welfare group or an NGO come forward to put them in a home, we are prepared to handover them. Then these children will start their education or vocational training.
Until then we have to protect these children. We strongly believe that today's children are tomorrow's leaders. I will shortly discuss with the relevant NGOs and we will make some arrangements to address this issue.
Q: Do you know how many child soldiers are there with the TMVP now?
A: No. I cannot exactly give the figures but there are some children with us as I mentioned earlier. .
Q: You said that as the Mayor you want to give priority to develop the Batticaloa district. Are you satisfied with the development work done under the Negenahira Navodaya?
A: This is a welcome move and especially Vakarai is a big achievement under the Negenhira Navodaya. People of the East are happy and they appreciate the project. But the need for more projects to develop the region is there. I think in the near future we can fulfil other requirements of the people.
As soon as the TMVP entered into the democratic political mainstream, we identified the people's needs and submitted their requests for the Government. I have met MP Basil Rajapaksa several times.
And then I have met Minister Karu Jayasuriya and even Governor Mohan Wijewickrama. Through them we have submitted the needs of the people to President Mahinda Rajapaksa. We have much hope under Negenahira Navodaya project.
We have collected data from various departments like fisheries and agriculture. Then we have already submitted our proposals to the relevant miniseries to develop the Batticaloa district under the Negenahira Navodaya.
Asian Tribune: 16 March 2008
Good friends are different from covert enemies in that friends help each other to stay away from danger by giving prior advises. I know that US State Department had been a good friend of Sri Lanka.
I am a loss to comprehend why State department's latest report sounded so different. When I saw the State Department country report on Sri Lanka, I was socked and scared to believe my suspicion that this great institute may have been misled by terrorists to achieve several heinous objectives. I hope that LTTE's vicious propaganda to tarnish the image of Sri Lanka has not succeeded ultimately. They often worked in devious ways. Maybe a lot of Sri Lankans do not know that the US Department of State is a silent but genuine friend of Sri Lanka.
For instance, the ground level operations of many NGOs whose reports have been cited by the State Department do not have internal security checks as powerful as those at the State Department. Very recently, the Sri Lanka army arrested a lorry belonging to a reputed inter national NGO carrying illegal items to rebel held areas. When questioned, the country director of the concerned NGO was not aware of such a delivery. My suspicion further deepened by the statement made on the recruitment of child soldiers. The concerned international NGO has given the picture that the LTTE’s child recruitment record is improving while the Government is seemingly cooperating with a break away LTTE group to recruit child soldiers.
The Island: 15 March 2008
Troops in the jungles ambushed a group of LTTE cadres, killing three, including a child soldier, at Kokkuthuduwai, six kilometers off Janakapura in Weli Oya, Thursday afternoon.
They also recovered two T 56 rifles and the three bodies. Except for the child soldier the other two had identification tags with numbers on them. The child was around 15 years old.
The bodies of the three LTTE cadres have been handed over to the Padaviya Hospital by the Weli Oya Police. and After the postmortems they would be handed over to the ICRC.
Asian Tribune: 14 March 2008
Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal leader Sivanesathurai Chanthirakanthan alias Pillaiyan, denounced as completely false the reports by the US State Department as well as Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, that they are an armed group, involved in child conscription. He said, “Today we are a recognized political Party”Sivanesathurai Chanthirakanthan alias Pillaiyan: "As I was a child soldier some 16 years ago, I know the pain and agony of being a child soldier."
He added, “Please note that we entered the democratic mainstream of politics because we wanted to work with the people and for the people. We are no lovers of lethal weapons. We are not war mongers. But we are compelled to hold on to some arms to safeguard us.”
Asian Tribune: 12 March 2008
In its 2007 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices released here Tuesday March 11 in the State Department, graced by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, the United States in its report on Sri Lanka totally condemned, criticized and, in fact, impeached its human rights record and the style of governance highlighting that “the overwhelming majority of victims of human rights violations, such as killings and disappearances, were young male Tamils”.
The State Department report charges that the Government of Sri Lanka was responsible in the deterioration of human rights and conveys that the ethnic Tamil minority are the worst affected.
(Summary) “The government's respect for human rights continued to decline due in part to the escalation of the armed conflict. While ethnic Tamils composed approximately 16 percent of the overall population, the overwhelming majority of victims of human rights violations, such as killings and disappearances, were young male Tamils. Credible reports cited unlawful killings by government agents, assassinations by unknown perpetrators, politically motivated killings and child soldier recruitment by paramilitary forces associated with the government, disappearances, arbitrary arrests and detention, poor prison conditions, denial of fair public trial, government corruption and lack of transparency, infringement of religious freedom, infringement of freedom of movement, and discrimination against minorities. There were numerous reports that the army, police, and progovernment paramilitary groups participated in armed attacks against civilians and practiced torture, kidnapping, hostage-taking, and extortion with impunity.
Benevolent Foreign Intervention
MoD: 08 March 2008
The discerning observer of events sees the recent voices of a constructed calumny raised against Sri Lanka, accusing it of being a major violator of human rights, as an ominous sign of the malevolent designs of the Western Powers to bring about the death and destruction of a great civilization that has hitherto been the envy of many in the world. Is this the revenge which the West seeks against Sri Lanka which has defied the grim forebodings of inevitable defeat in the "unwinnable war", that was unfailingly preached during the last two decades, to kill or undermine the Island's determination to defend its sovereignty and protect its territorial integrity? This serves as a timely warning to all loyal and patriotic citizens of Sri Lanka to be ready to man the barricades in defense of our motherland and meet this challenge unflinchingly and with determination.
The UN officials and bureaucrats have assumed a new role as protectors of human rights and their agents have been the INGOs and the NGOs with vested interests, and Western Nations who want to intervene in countries of interest to them. Instead of following its lawful and legitimate mandate to support Sri Lanka as a sovereign state and a member of the UN, they have joined the international community, the INGO and NGO mafia, to aid and abet in furthering the process for intervention which has the effect of protecting the notorious terrorist organization - the LTTE. Its record of stopping gross human rights violations in Sri Lanka - such as child recruitment by the LTTE, has been a pathetic failure. It is well known that the LTTE has shown complete disregard and treated with contempt the strictures and the adverse comments made by the UN on the child soldier issue. The UN agencies have been ineffective on the child soldier issue and there has been a failure to meaningfully monitor aspects of malpractice in Sri Lanka. The UN is fully aware of this, but has complacently continued to accept the lack of commitment by the LTTE showing great leniency and laxity in curbing terrorism.
Lanka Web: 08 March 2008
Vanni is LTTE’s open prison; close to 300,000 people, all of them Tamils, are forced to live and closed to leave. Their conditions are much worse than prisoners and rather closely resemble that of laboratory mice, slaves and farm animals. LTTE's totalitarian rule is very similar to the story line of George Orwell's much acclaimed novella 'Animal Farm'.
This LTTE’s open prison must be busted as soon as possible. Democracy is the only tool that can do that. The democratically elected popular government is trying its best to save its citizens trapped under the jackboot of the LTTE in Vanni where the LTTE still rules. It was reported many times that Vanni dwellers were forced to give blood for wounded LTTE fighters and children were not spared from the blood theft. They are forced to labour without pay in building military installations for the LTTE and used as sleuths by the tigers often resulting in death or serious injury. These crimes are committed on top of child soldiers, forced prostitution and heaps of other cruelty on the same people whom the LTTE claims to liberate.
Asian Tribune: 08 March 2008
Sri Lankan Ambassador Bernard Goonetelleke interviewd by Masha Wickremasinghe of WCCA TV Massachsetts, expressed the view that the global community has done many things. In the first instance, they have recognized the LTTE for what it is, recognized the Tamil Relief Organization (TRO) and front organizations for what they are, and banned or curtailed their activities that contribute to death the destruction in Sri Lanka. He added that one has to be vigilant, and one has to be mindful, of the fact that a problem, that is taking place 10,000 miles away from the coast of the USA, is not a problem of Sri Lanka alone. It could visit us in the United States or any other country, sometime or later. Terrorist groups feed on each other. It is the same with the LTTE today. They will establish links with other terrorist groups, which plan to harm the interests of, for example, the U.S. Therefore, you cannot say this problem is not a global problem. We live in a global village and we have to work together to eliminate terrorism.
Question: I have covered stories about child soldiers in other parts of the world, which is not acceptable to today or any day. The LTTE in Sri Lanka, do you think they are taking advantage of young people in Sri Lanka?
Ambassador Bernard Goonetilleke: To state that the LTTE is taking advantage, is an understatement. Our experience has been that since the very inception. The organization started in 1976 and look at the die hard leaders of the organization today. Some of them are no more with us. They have been recruited as child soldiers. In Sri Lanka, the Government has regulations that it cannot recruit individuals as soldiers, who are below the age of 18. But the practice of the LTTE has been totally different. In the sense they would say that a 8 year old person, young man, or a girl, would be more useful to them than an 80 year old man or a woman for a obvious reason because they can be very easily brainwashed. They can be told to do this and that and the other, and then they become heroes, because they have children under their care. Of course, most of these children, we have reasons to believe, end up as fighters for the organization, or else even as suicide cadres, who would wear a suicide vest and explode it with a view to causing maximum possible damage. They go to market places, or where there are religious festivals, with a view to lure children to join the organization. They would walk into a class room and give the history of the organization, what their motives are, and the classic tactic they would use “Please put up your hand if you do not want to join the LTTE” and in a class room of 20 children or 10 or 12, 13 or 14, how many would have the courage to put up their hands and say “We do not want to join you”. There will be situations where they will request or order their area leaders to go and abduct children, or forcibly take them from their homes and move them to training camps. In 2003, I was functioning as Head of the Sri Lankan Government Peace Secretariat and we discussed this particular issue with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and they made arrangements to sign a tripartite agreement involving the Government and the LTTE, with a view to releasing the young men and women already in LTTE custody. They said that they would like to train them for various vocations before they release them to their parents, and for that, certain facilities were provided. A large sum of money was provided by the UNICEF for that exercise. So my office, that is the Government Peace Secretariat, LTTE Office, as well the UNICEF, signed that agreement. And many years later, we still find that the young men and women are still in custody as child soldiers and have not been released or are being released in small numbers.
Meanwhile, additional numbers are being recruited or abducted, and taken in forcibly, with a view to swelling their own ranks. So we found that they were not negotiating in good faith. In 1998, we had the Special Representative of the Secretary General of UN for Children and Armed Conflict in Sri Lanka, and LTTE gave a pledge to him that they would not recruit children or use children in armed conflict below the prescribed age. But that again was a promise that was made not with the intention of keeping. So we still have a situation, where children are being taken by force. We also have a situation, where a breakaway group of LTTTE, the Karuna group, releasing child soldiers who were under him, when he broke away from the LTTE. That was in April 2004. We found LTTE going to the houses of those children and taking them again by force. So, these are the activities of LTTE, which have been noted by the Security Council of the United Nations. During the last three years, the UN Security Council has cited LTTE as well as the Karuna group, which has also resorted to recruiting children. Both groups have been accused of recruiting children as soldiers. So, we have this phenomenon, which is existing in some countries, in Sri Lanka as well, and we hope with the pressure that is being applied by the United Nation’s Security Council, we will eventually be able to eliminate the issue of child soldiers.
MoD: 05 March 2008
Defence.lk at several occasions have highlighted that LTTE terrorists are forcing civilians to perform military tasks for them. Many civilians who had managed to escape from terrorists clutches in Wanni have told our reporters in Mannar that LTTE terrorists even order elderly people and pregnant women to take part in sentry duties, pickets, road clearances, etc due to serious shortage of man power. However, those stooges of terrorism in media have been barring these stories purposely, as they would expose the LTTE's true face to the world.
While so called professional journalists like Anita Prathap, are continuing to harp one sided stories about the discrimination against Tamils in Sri Lanka, a recent finding by army shows what the media silence on LTTE atrocities, has caused to innocent Tamils living under the jackboot of terrorism.
In a recent battle with LTTE terrorists in the East of Pallaikuli, troops have found few toys, feeding equipment and a dress of a baby girl inside a bunker they had captured during their advance. Defence.lk special correspondent in the Mannar said that this is clear evidence that LTTE terrorists have now started to deploy civilians, right at the frontline disregarding their safety. He said that a breast-feeding mother might have been kept in the bunker with her child to provide assistance to the terrorists.
Bloomberg: 26 February 2008
Sri Lanka asked the United Nations to freeze funds of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to punish the group for continuing to use child soldiers in its fight for a separate homeland in the South Asian island nation.
``Only targeted measures would deter the LTTE from continuing to perpetrate grave violations against children,'' Prasad Kariyawasam, Sri Lanka's UN ambassador, said in a statement published on the government's Web site yesterday. Only punitive measures will ``compel them to renounce terrorism, lay down arms and take part in the political process.''
The LTTE has about 240 people under 18 years of age in its ranks, the group's Peace Secretariat said this month, citing the database of the Child Protection Authority in Kilinochchi, the northern town where it has its headquarters. That figure has remained static for more than four months, it said.
Asian Tribune: 25 February 2008
The Sri Lanka government is confident that the Security Council will eventually impose targeted sanctions on the LTTE, Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona told Asian Tribune.
He admitted it is not easy to impose sanctions on such a shadowy group as the LTTE and its leadership.
As an example, he cited the bans and sanctions imposed by the US, Canada and the European Union. "But the LTTE and its front organizations still operate with impunity," said Kohona, who was in New York last week to meet with several senior UN officials.
Kohona, the former chief of the UN Treaty Section and a onetime Australian diplomat, said: "We are confident that the Security Council will adopt a practical way to impose sanctions on the LTTE, including restrictions on fund-raising and money transfers."
Last week, the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on the Security Council to penalize both the LTTE and the Karuna faction for the continued recruitment of child soldiers.
Asian Tribune: 25 February 2008
In an open letter to Attorney Bruce Fein, Attorney for Tamils for Justice, Rizana Gazzali reminds him that since the 1980s, the LTTE has systematically resorted to ethnic cleansing of Sinhalese and Muslims from the Northern Province, so that a province which had a significant mix of the communities in its demographic composition, is now mono-ethnic, comprising only Tamils. The last expulsion was in 1990 when the LTTE drove away 90,000 Muslims from the north within 24 hours, including some of my family members, allowing them to take nothing except the clothes on their backs. Many of them are still languishing in camps for displaced persons. A reasonable human being will take a step back to ponder a crucial issue. The ground reality is that the combined percentage of Sinhalese and Muslims in the East is greater than the percentage of Tamils. What would be their fate, if the LTTE achieved its objective of a separate state called “Tamil Eelam” in the North and the East?
Here is the full text of the Open Letter sent to bruce Fein by Rizana Gazzali:
Open Letter to Bruce Fein on Tamil Statehood
By Rizana Gazzali
Dear Mr. Fein,
I have been avidly following your flights to fantasia unfolding on the website Tamils for justice. I must say I was intrigued by your challenge in the form of a letter written to Ambassador Bernard Goonetilleke, dated February 12, 2008, appeared on your web site on February 20, 2008. As I read it, I was whizzed back in time to those brutish days of the Wild West, where the coarse and the crude had a field day.
I understand that one Bruce Fein offered his services to the government of Sri Lanka to take on the LTTE when they engaged in murdering civilians, in suicide bombing and conscripting child soldiers. And that was not too long ago. Are you the same Bruce Fein, or is there another Bruce Fein in Washington DC, attempting to sell his soul for 30 pieces of silver?
Sunday Times: 24 February 2008
Sri Lanka has asked the UN Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict to persuade the Security Council to impose targeted sanctions on the LTTE for its continued recruitment of child soldiers. The Working Group, which is the creation of the Security Council, has the authority to recommend sanctions on the LTTE, including travel restrictions on its leaders, a freeze on overseas funds and a ban on arms supplies.
If the SC decides on sanctions on the Working Group’s recommendations, they will be binding on all member states. Asked whether this is feasible, Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona told the Sunday Times: "We are confident that the Security Council will adopt a practical way to impose sanctions on the LTTE, including restrictions on fund-raising and money transfers."He said the 15-member Security Council, which is usually pragmatic, has always been cautious when imposing sanctions on any entity.
Sinhalaya: 23 February 2008
International human rights group- Human Rights Watch claim that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam - LTTE has failed to release the children from its ranks by December 31, 2007, the deadline it agreed to under the terms of an action plan signed on October 15, 2007.
“The LTTE has ignored repeated appeals to end its use of child soldiers,” said Joe Becker, children's rights advocate at HRW.
The LTTE, who claims to be the guardians of the entire Tamil community abducted thousands of children from their schools and use them in their war fronts. While doing so, this self-elected Liberator of Tamils could "liberate" hundreds of Tamil children at their front defence lines.
The security forces have found letters written by some of them, in which they have heavily criticized and cursed the LTTE leadership for ruining their lives.
The Island Editorial
Daily News: 23 February 2008
A recent UN study found that several terrorist organisations around the world were continuing with the abominable practice of recruiting children to their ranks. One of the prime suspects was the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which has been engaged in this practice more or less since its inception.
The LTTE is well-known for its ‘baby brigades’ which were reputed to have children as young as eight who could barely lift a gun. It is true that the LTTE had released some children due to international pressure. But it still keeps a substantial number of children in its ranks. The same holds true for the Karuna group.
In fact, the UN Secretary-General listed the LTTE for the fifth consecutive time since 2002 for violating international standards regarding the recruitment and use of child soldiers.
It is in this context that Human Rights Watch, an international human rights organisation which had earlier documented cases of extortion by the LTTE, has urged the UN Security Council to take punitive action against the LTTE and its leaders for recruiting and keeping children as fighting cadres.
HRW has urged the UN to give the LTTE 30 days to release all child soldiers. If that does not happen, HRW advocates travel bans on their leaders and a freeze on their assets.
Using children as armed cadres is a clear violation of international law and Security Council resolutions.
Daily News: 22 February 2008
An international human rights watchdog yesterday asked the United Nations Security Council to impose sanctions on armed groups in Sri Lanka for using children in their ranks.
The UN Security Council’s Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict met yesterday for the second time since February 2007 to consider violations against children committed by the LTTE and the Karuna group, an armed group that split from the LTTE in 2004.
“The LTTE and the Karuna group continue to use children to fight their battles in clear violation of international law and Security Council resolutions,” Jo Becker, children’s rights advocate at Human Rights Watch said, adding the Security Council should punish their brazen violations with concrete action.
The rights group has also called upon the UN Security Council to urge the Sri Lankan Government to investigate cases of child abduction and recruitment.
BBC: 21 February 2008
An international human rights group has called on the UN Security Council to impose sanctions on Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels for using child soldiers.
A Human Rights Watch (HRW) report has also accused the government of ignoring child recruitment by an allied paramilitary force.
HRW made its allegations as UN experts met to discuss the use of underage soldiers in the Sri Lankan war.
A UN envoy is visiting the island nation to assess the conflict.
Lanka Web: 21 February 2008
UN Security Council
(Working Group on Children & Armed Conflict) New York US
Member of the UN Security Council:
Your deliberations on February 21, with a lead taken by Human Rights Watch discussing to impose sanctions on armed groups in Sri Lanka for using children in their forces is a welcome humanitarian gesture.
“The LTTE and the Karuna Group continue to use children to fight their battles in clear violation of international law and Security Council resolutions” said Joe Becker, children’s rights advocate for Human Rights Watch. “The Security Council should punish their brazen violations with concrete action”, said Becker and continued to say, “The LTTE has ignored repeated appeals to end its use of child soldiers and the time for Security Council action is now.”
While I whole heartedly endorse that sentiment, but the time for the Security Council to act was yesterday… was a decade ago! To call for “action is now” shows lack of intensity and urgency to save these children to become forced cannon fodder in the battlefield in an adult war.
Recalling the FACT that on March 17, 2006 in Kinhasa, Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, a Congalese national and alleged founder and leader of the Union des Patriotes Congolais (UPS) was arrested and transferred to the International Criminal Court as part of the judicial proceedings under the Rome Statute for allegedly committing war crimes: conscripting and enlisting children under the age of 15-years and using them to participate actively in hostilities,
Recalling the FACT that 13 people from all warring factions in Sierra Leone have been indicted by the Special Court since November 2003, including former president of Liberia Charles Taylor for conscripting of children under the age of 15 into an armed force;
Recalling the FACT that Charles Taylor is the highest-ranking leader ever brought to the International Court of Crime accused of recruiting child soldiers;
Recalling the FACT that on June 20, 2007, the United Nations-backed War Crimes Court for Sierra Leone handed down landmark convictions against Alex Tamba Brima, Brima Bazzy Kamara and Santiogie Borbor Kanu for recruiting and using child soldiers.
Recalling the FACT that the Tamil Tigers first recruited children to form part of the Tiger fighting force as the Baby Brigade and commandered by Justin, when they took on the Indian Peace Keeping Force in 1987, and you all are still discussing what concrete action should be taken for this brazen violation;
Recalling the FACT that by 1987 the Tamil Tiger child soldiers were integrated with adult units to fight beside them*, and you all are still discussing what concrete action should be taken for this brazen violation;*
Recalling the FACT that the LTTE child soldiers saw their first recorded major action on November 22, 1990 when they attacked the Government’s Mankulum army camp, *and you all are still discussing what concrete action should be taken for this brazen violation;*
Recalling the FACT it was the battle for Elephant Pass when an estimated 550 Tamil Tigers were killed, and the majority were child soldiers, *and you all are still discussing what concrete action should be taken for this brazen violation;*
Recalling the FACT that the fiercest of all LTTE-fighting units was the Leopard Brigade, or Siruthai Puli which was exclusively of child soldiers whose unswerving loyalty to the Tamil Tiger leader Prabhakaran was well noted. He says go and kill, and they go and kill, and you all are still discussing what concrete action should be taken for this brazen violation;
Recalling the FACT that despite signed pledges given by the LTTE to United Nations Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), Olara Otunuu in 1998 that they will stop recruiting children, and yet they have done it in the scores of hundreds every year ever sinc, and you all are still discussing what concrete action should be taken for this brazen violation even after 10 long years;
Recalling the FACT that UNICEF in March 2005 reported more than 4,700 cases of recruitment of children by the LTTE, and you all are still discussing what concrete action should be taken for this brazen violation.
Daily News: 20 February 2008
There has been a marked decline in cases relating to abductions or forced recruitment of children by the Karuna faction in recent times. There had been no such complaints recorded so far for this year, law enforcement authorities said yesterday.
However an independent verification of forcible recruitment in uncleared areas is not possible, where it is believed that such practice is rampant, with Security Forces encountering a number of underaged LTTE cadres and several others surrendering to authorities in recent times.
According to Sri Lanka's criminal law, forcible recruitment and deployment of children in armed conflict is an offence punishable by 30 years of imprisonment.
This was revealed when a high level committee headed by Justice and Law Reforms Ministry Secretary Suhada Gamlath recently undertook a mission to the East, on the instructions of Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe, to assess the present situation with regard to forcible recruitment of child soldiers.
Sri Lanka Army: 19 February 2008
SRI LANKA’S CRIMINAL law makes forcible recruitment and deployment of children in armed conflict an offence punishable by 30 years imprisonment, a Government-appointed committee has stressed following a fact finding mission to Batticaloa where there have been persistent allegations of such activities being carried out by the TMVP and the LTTE.
In a report submitted to Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasingha yesterday, the committee headed by the Justice Ministry Secretary Suhada Gamalath also stressed the need to obtain accurate statistics and credible information on alleged abductions and recruitment so that law enforcement authorities could promptly investigate and initiate prosecutions based on such allegations.
Report on child recruitment to Security Council:
Daily News: 18 February 2008
The Government is planning to present a comprehensive report on its recent findings on the recruitment of child soldiers at the United Nations Security Council meeting on Thursday, in line with its Zero-Tolerance policy on using underaged children in armed conflict.
Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe told the Daily News that the Sri Lankan delegation would apprise the UN on the progress made so far by a committee appointed by him to inquire into abductions and recruitment of children for armed conflict.
The Minister appointed a high level Committee headed by the Secretary to the Ministry of Justice and Law Reform, Suhada Gamlath to look into the matter in August 2007, following a commitment made to the UN Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict.
According to the Minister the Committee mandated to initiate and monitor the investigations of allegations into abductions and recruitment is also given authority to monitor and make recommendations, to assure that the released children have access to adequate facilities for rehabilitation and reintegration.
The Minister said that the Committee had done yeoman work so far in consultation with other relevant Government and non-Government organisations. They had toured the East where they met all relevant parties before their departure to New York.
United Press International: 18 February 2008
A report from the Sri Lanka government on the recruitment of child soldiers in the country is expected to be presented to the United Nations.
Government officials announced plans to present the report on forced military indoctrination of children at the U.N. Security Council meeting on Thursday. The U.N. recently singled out the terrorist organization Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam operating in Sri Lanka as among the top human-rights violators in the world, Sri Lanka's Daily News reported.
Sri Lanka Disaster Management and Human Rights Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe say a delegation from the country is traveling to U.N. headquarters in New York to apprise the world body on what he called progress that has been made by a committee appointed to inquire into abductions and recruitment of children for armed conflict.
"Samarasinghe appointed a high level committee headed by the secretary to the ministry of justice and law reform, Suhada Gamlath, to look into the matter in August 2007, following a commitment made to the U.N. Security Council working group on children and armed conflict," the Daily News reported.
Asian Tribune: 17 February 2008
Vellupillai Pirapaharan’s commitment to a separate state for Tamils cannot be doubted. For most of his life he has lived for it and someday he will die for it. Ironically his vision of this separate state and the methods he uses to make it a reality have undermined not just his capacity to achieve it but also the well being and the future of the people on whose behalf he has claimed it. Mr. Pirapaharan wants not a Tamil Eelam but a Tiger Eelam, a state under his domination, a state that excludes Sinhalese and Muslims as well as any Tamil unwilling to accept his overlordship. Mr. Pirapaharan is also indiscriminate in his choice of means to achieve his goal; for him the end is all.
For Vellupillai Pirapaharan, maintaining absolute control over Tamils and Tamil politics is more important than gaining international legitimacy and support for his struggle. Is it the same for Mahinda Rajapakse? Intelligent governance is something Vellupillai Pirapaharan is incapable of. Else he would not engage in child conscription and employ child soldiers, for instance. Intelligent governance is becoming a rare commodity in Colombo as well, these days. According to some media reports the SLA was hampered in its anti-Tiger offensive recently because of a scarcity of ammunition for its big guns. The Czech Republic which sold us the guns some years ago is unwilling to sell as any more ammo, because the EU frowns on military sales to Sri Lanka. Eventually we had to obtain the ammo from another source. This incident shows the connection between the war and intelligent governance. It is a connection that is beyond the Tigers; under the Rajapakses, Sri Lanka too is losing her capacity to comprehend it. The cost of this incomprehension will eventually have to be borne by the country and its people.
Daily News: 16 February 2008
Statement by Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations at the Security Council Debate on Children and Armed Conflict.
This debate takes place on the eve of upcoming consultations on the 10 year review of the Gracia Machel Report which brought this issue to the fore. Therefore it is time to take stock of action taken so far by the international community to address the detestable practice of the use of children for violent purposes in conflict situations.
We recognize the role of the Secretary-General and the contribution of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, to this cause, which we believe can be more focused and result-oriented.
As Sri Lanka celebrates the 60th Anniversary of independence this month, we take pride in the remarkable strides we have made in the social sectors, especially in healthcare and education.
For the past 60 years, Sri Lanka has invested heavily on children. Free compulsory primary education leading towards free university education, and free healthcare, have been hallmarks of our efforts. And we are determined that our children continue to reap the benefits of these measures. We do not want our children to succumb to the diabolical efforts of non-state actors who use our innocent children for violent purposes.
Spiegel: 14 February 2008
The Sri Lankan flag, with its green-and-orange stripes and yellow image of a lion, fluttered proudly in a brisk ocean wind. President Mahinda Rajapaksa also seemed filled with pride when he stepped up to the microphone to commemorate the 60th anniversary of Sri Lanka's independence on Monday of last week.
One of the World's Most Resilient Rebel Groups
But the Tigers seem unimpressed. In fact, the self-appointed representatives of Sri Lanka's Tamil minority have repeatedly demonstrated, with their attacks and assassinations, that they remain one of the world's most resilient rebel groups. The LTTE is the only guerilla organization in the world with its own rudimentary air force, as it demonstrated a year ago in a surprise attack on the headquarters of the Sri Lankan Air Force near the airport in Colombo. Although the Tigers' aircraft and bomb technology were substantially outdated, the air attack confirmed what had been just a rumor until then: That the LTTE is more than just a collection of jungle fighters, including many child soldiers, and naval vessels.
The Tigers are said to have the second-highest budget of all separatists, outdone only by Colombia's FARC guerillas, with their sizable cocaine revenues. The British military publication Jane's Intelligence Review and the humanitarian group Human Rights Watch recently published details of the group's sources of funding.
SPUR: 14 February 2008
I am referring to the comments made by EU Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, which appeared in the LTTE media with the title ‘Germany wants sanctions if Sri Lanka continues war’.
I wish to state below some facts related to the situation in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is the only home country of the Sinhalese. Sri Lanka was the habitat of the Sinhalese for over 2500 years. They developed a unique irrigation system and are a peace loving, gentle ethnic group. Unfortunately, Tamil invaders from South India, regularly invaded Sri Lanka, destroyed their irrigation system and caused a decline of the Sinhalese.
South India, which is the neighbour of Sri Lanka is the home country of the Tamils.
At the moment , LTTE is using the emblem of an ancient South Indian invader as its flag. The mission of LTTE is to create a mono ethnic racist Tamil State (similar to Hitler’s ideas ). LTTE has driven out non Tamils from the areas they control. The only liberation they have done is liberating the souls of innocent Tamils and Sinhalese civilians from their bodies.
It is rather sad that EU has lost their moral conscious, allowed terrorism to murder innocent women and children, allowed LTTE to carry on fund raising and then allowed themselves to be deceived by LTTE propaganda.
MoD: 14 February 2008
Eight Tamil civilians of three families from the non-liberated Illuppukaddaweli area, North of Veddithalathivu, sought protection with the security forces this morning (February 14) at the Navy-Police joint fishery marshalling point in Pallamunai, Mannar.
According to Naval Spokesperson Commander D.K.P Dassanayake, the civilians belonged to three families who have fled the LTTE dominated territory in fear of forced conscription of their children.
There were three children aged 16, 13 and 10 including a girl, the source said. "We have no food, sanitation or any facility to meet our basic needs. We have been denied of access to whatever available medical services in the area. This is how they take revenge from us for not giving away our children to the outfit (LTTE)" a father said, weeping as he embraced his 10 year old daughter.
"There are many like us in the area who are awaiting for the military to liberate them from the LTTE's clutches," he further added.
The civilians were given food and refreshments and later handed over the Mannar Police, for the formalities to provide assistance to them, sources said
The UN Security Council on Tuesday (12) named the LTTE and five other terrorists' organisations abroad for the continuing recruitment and use of child soldiers, and use of rape and other forms of sexual violence against them.
Daily News: 14 February 2008
There is a peaceful atmosphere conducive to conducting a poll in Batticaloa, foreign elections observers said yesterday.
"This the third election we monitor with the People's Action For Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) and we received very easy and absolute access to all stakeholders of Local Government Elections, 2008, Batticaloa district.
There is excellent protection for all areas," said Bernard O' Sullivan, Deputy Director, Non-violent Peaceforce an International Monitoring Mission attached to PAFFREL.
Addressing a press briefing held at the National Library and Documentation Services Board Auditorium yesterday he said they have already deployed four monitors from Germany, U.S, Uganda and Kenya in the Batticaloa district. "We visited homes and all the other places in the East," he added.
Some of the TMVP members are former child soldiers recruited by the LTTE. They have no prior experience in actively taking part in an election campaigns. But they are fully committed. Only 200 out of 831 candidates had requested police protection.
The monitoring process of PAFFREL includes three stage-viz. pre-election period and post-election period. Under the pre-election part at present six international monitors are engaged in monitoring activities in nine Local Authority areas in three groups. PAFFREL expects to deploy 20 international monitors and local mobile monitors closer to the day of the election.
Asian Tribune: 13 February 2008
Addressing the UN Security Council debate on Children and Armed Conflict, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam said the Government of Sri Lanka reiterates its long held policy of zero tolerance towards the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict.
He said the Government believes strongly in addressing issues of children and armed conflict pursuant to Resolution 1612."And in this context, we reiterate our view that the Security Council must consider this issue on the basis of supporting the establishment of security and consolidating peace in conflict afflicted societies, to enable States to protect their children from non-state actors who violate children with impunity."
"As Sri Lanka celebrates the 60th Anniversary of independence this month, we take pride in the remarkable strides we have made in the social sectors, especially in healthcare and education. For the past 60 years, Sri Lanka has invested heavily on children. Free compulsory primary education leading towards free university education, and free healthcare, have been hallmarks of our efforts. And we are determined that our children continue to reap the benefits of these measures. We do not want our children to succumb to the diabolical efforts of non-state actors who use our innocent children for violent purposes."
The debate took place on the eve of upcoming consultations on the 10 year review of the Graça Machel Report which brought the issue of child soldiers to the fore.
"Therefore it is time to take stock of action taken so far by the international community to address the detestable practice of the use of children for violent purposes in conflict situations. We recognize the role of the Secretary-General and the contribution of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, to this cause, which we believe can be more focused and result-oriented."
"Recognizing the need to safeguard our children from non-state actors who recruit children as agents of violence and terrorism, the Government has unveiled specific measures to strengthen the existing regime of protection and welfare of children in its blue print for peace and development for the country."
"We are conscious that primary responsibility for the protection of children and promotion of their welfare lies with the State, and that it is imperative for the State to ensure that children are not in danger, and prevent them from being used as accessories for violence. Therefore, just as we reject terrorism, we also continue to reject the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict as unjustifiable under all circumstances. We seek the support of the international community to eradicate this menace, and urge stronger international measures against those who perpetrate such crimes."
Ambassador Kariyawasam said the Report of the Secretary-General, referring to the situation in Sri Lanka, calls upon the listed offenders in annex II of the Report to mend their despicable behaviour; and calls upon the Security Council to consider deterrent action against repeated violators.
Colombo Page: 13 February 2008
The Secretary-General's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy urged the UN Security Council to take concrete and targeted measures against parties, who use or abuse children during armed conflicts including Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers.
Ms. Coomaraswamy told the Council that there is in improvement on the issue of child soldier recruitment in Sri Lanka but noted that LTTE is in persistent violations.
“Persistent violators included the LTTE in Sri Lanka, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN), also in Colombia, the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda and the Government forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Myanmar. So far, the Council had initiated targeted measures against just one individual, imposing a travel ban and asset freeze on a former commander in Côte d’Ivoire,” Ms. Coomaraswamy stated.
Open letter to Arbour:
Lanka Web: 08 February 2008
Ms Louise Arbour
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
OHCHR, United Nations
Palais Wilson, Geneva
Re: United Nations Justice Tribunal – Velupillai Prabhakaran (Leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) aka Tamil Tigers)
Your communiqué on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka piqued our interest since we too have had an on going concern that the mandate your office was given to provide relief and safeguard the lives of children particularly in theatres of war, as in the North and East of Sri Lanka had not been forthcoming.
We have long questioned why Velupillai Prabhakaran has not been charged with war crimes, while Charles McArthur Taylor, former President of Liberia has been arrested by the United Nations Justice Tribunal for using child soldiers during his tenure as the President of Liberia from August 2, 1997 to August 1, 2003.
In comparison to Charles Taylor’s six year involvement in recruiting child soldiers, Velupillai Prabhakaran has been abducting and recruiting children for almost 25 years since late 1983, and the numbers as recorded by UNICEF and Human Rights Watch are in the thousands.
We believe that your organization should invoke the Security Council Resolution 1612, which is meant to take punitive action against violators of the rights of children in armed conflicts. Which, in this case, the leader of the LTTE, Velupillai Prabhakaran is the perfect candidate to be charged for such ‘war crimes’.
While we may be repeating information which you already have in your files, it is incumbent upon us to bring to your notice that Velupillai Prabhakaran as leader of the LTTE has committed four grave violations against children in the North and East of Sri Lanka for over two decades, which are offences chargeable as ‘war crimes’. They are: (i) Attacks against schools and civilians centers; (ii) Abduction of children; (iii) Denial of humanitarian access to children; and (iv) Use of children in armed conflict.
In March 2005, following strong criticism and condemnation from the United Nations Security Council for continued recruitment of child soldiers; the LTTE launched an offensive to get UNICEF expelled from Sri Lanka. By then UNICEF had reported more than 4,700 odd cases of recruitment and re-recruitment of children by the LTTE, by force, abducting children while on their way to school or during religious festivals, et cetera.
UNICEF is also on record as having stated that the LTTE conscripted more than 1,600 children out of the Tsunami displaced camps in 2005 itself.
What should not go unnoticed is that, according to Human Rights Watch, almost all the suicide bombers, over 200 of them were trained from the ranks of the child soldiers.
While we value your timely reiteration that such violations are indeed ‘war crimes’ and of systemic grave violations of the Rights of the children in the North and East of Sri Lanka, we now await your action in exercising you rights as the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to issue a warrant for the arrest of Velupillai Prabhakaran and charging him for war crimes in the International Criminal Court.
The time has arrived for such an action and anything less would be a disappointment to us as well as the growing consensus at the UN for not taking punitive actions against the violator of the rights of the Tamil children in this armed conflict.
If Liberia’s Charles Taylor has been charged for his six-year violations on children for recruiting them as child soldiers, so should Sri Lanka’s Liberation Tigers of Tamil (LTTE) leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran for his violations of Tamil children for the past 25 years.
We shall be looking forward with interest on your progress in bringing this war criminal to Court, which will bring immense solace not only to the Tamil children but also to their parents and immediate family members.
MoD: 26 January 2008
A scenario of no war in Sri Lanka would mean one thing for those Tamils now domiciled overseas as "refugees" - Governments of those countries would immediately ask them to return to Sri Lanka. Now we can understand why it is that Tamils living in Canada, UK, USA, Europe & Australia are doing their best to keep alive the "discrimination by the Sinhalese" theme & helping the LTTE to keep up that utopian dream of a separate homeland. It is only a means to delay the inevitable.
Their selfish motive coupled with the killing machine of Prabakaran has only taken the Tamil people living in Sri Lanka to depths of misery. When solutions could have been worked out the LTTE saw fit to walk out of peace talks, when there was need for Tamil unity, LTTE managed to kill practically all of the moderate Tamil thinking politicians & social leaders, when aid for development should have been allocated to the North & East, the LTTE created a war scenario which has left the North & East is ruins & minus any development whatsoever except for what the Government can provide despite all odds.
The LTTE was instrumental in closing down what could have been lucrative enterprises - the Paranthan chemical factory, the Elephant Pass saltern all come to mind. Children who should have a youth are dragged into war & forced to carry arms & become child soldiers - their education is all but at a standstill. Their return home is likely to be without limbs, emotionally unstable or even as a corpse. Is the Tamil cause so great that they want to see a generation of disabled people? It has always been the financially able that could take flight to foreign climes - the majority of the Tamil people have had to bear through not only LTTE tortures but also the natural distrust by the Government apparatus since who can identify an LTTE member especially a unit that is famed for its suicide killings.
Lanka Web: 25 January 2008
UN High commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour has really got her wires crossed!! The warning of individual criminal responsibility on war crimes timed at a period when the State of Sri Lanka is busy fighting the world’s most brutal and barbaric terrorist group and almost ready to eliminate it, shows how bias and unreasonable the UN could be. One wonders if these International bodies want poor countries perish under the atrocities of terrorism.
The LTTE has been violating human rights since late 1970s and no international body or country uttered a word about this. Entire villages were destroyed and villagers were massacred by the LTTE in cold blood starting from Kent farm and Dollar farm incidences in early eighties up to the Kebilithigollawa incident recently. Ethnic cleansing took place openly and the 100,000 Sinhalees who were residing in the Jaffna district were murdered and chased away and not a single Sinhala person is to be found in the North today.
The muslims were also expelled from the North and parts of the east and hundreds of them were butchered in a mosque while at prayers on one incident. UN and the international community looked the “otherside” and ignored all these!!. Innocent civilians were killed by hundreds by more than 250 suicide bomb attacks up to now done by the LTTE on civilian targets.
The country suffered silently and no one came to assist Sri Lanka. Our leaders were killed by the dozen and Heads of State were targeted more often than in any other country in the world. No other country came forward to help us fight terrorism. Innocent Tamil children were forcefully recruited to a killer squad and used in combat. They were shown many a time on propaganda media releases and some of the UN and International Human Right Group visitors to the Terrorist held areas were seen escorted by the child soldiers.
Not a word of protest or pressure brought upon them to release the child soldiers apart from a “request “ to do so by these “protectors of human rights”!! Some of these kids were converted to Human Bombs- ignored by the so called human right activists! People were forcefully recruited to the terror armies and sent as cannon fodder!! International bodies were not bothered.
The Hindu: 23 January 2008
President Mahinda Rajapakse has said he was convinced that people in rebel-held areas of northern Sri Lanka are not supporting the LTTE and asserted that the the army was taking all precautions to avoid civilian casualties during operations against the rebels.
"A letter that was recovered from the pocket of a slain little female militant by the army has touched me. The letter speaks about the girl's helplessness in (not) attending the Thaipongal festival as she has been told to fight in the north," Rajapakse said during an interaction with editors and foreign journalists here yesterday.
Asked about the issue of child soldiers and their rehabilitation, Rajapakse said they had to be viewed not as combatants but as children who needed help.
The President said the government was thinking in terms of setting up special courts for juvenile offenders.
Daily News: 18 January 2008
LTTE’s butchery and barbarity, over the past two years have come a long way from Kebithigollawa to Buttala costing lives of innocent people with destruction to property. The latest heinous crime was committed in Buttala Wednesday when the LTTE exploded a claymore mine on a passenger bus.
The international community which cries for peace in Sri Lanka should act swiftly to stop this barbarism by the LTTE. The United Nations time and again screams about child recruitment here and accuses the legitimately and democratically elected Government of supporting groups involved in such activities.
Was not Olara Otunu taken for a ride by Prabhakaran on the pledge made by the latter that he would halt child recruitment and release all child soldiers? What action did the former UN Chief Kofi Annan take against Prabhakaran at that time for breaching trust?
[Full Story + Photos]
Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka - Geneva - Switzerland: 16 January 2008
LTTE terrorists have carried out a cowardly bomb blast targeting innocent civilians at Okkampitiya, Monaragala this morning (16 January). According to the available information the bus which was plying from Buttala to Okkampitiya with large number of civilians including schoolchildren has been targeted in the explosion.
Police sources said that the terrorists have exploded claymore mine targeting the bus and subsequently opened fire at the survivors . The explosion has taken place around 7.40 am at Telangugaspallama ,Niyadalla, Okkampitiya, the sources added.
According to the latest reports 26 people have been killed and over 60 suffered injuries in the attack. Hospital sources said that 8 people including two children among the wounded are in critical condition.
LTTE is a ruthless terrorist outfit notorious for crimes against women and children. In its pursuit for a mono ethnic separate homeland for Tamils, the outfit has killed and maimed over tens and thousands innocent children in ethnic cleansing raids, indiscriminate bomb attacks and by using child soldiers at the battle fronts. FBI in a recent report called LTTE the most dangerous terrorist outfit in the world.
Lanka Web: 16 January 2008
January 16, 2008
Madame Louise Arbour
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
New York, US
Dear Madame Arbour:
You have obviously decided to change gears to the “Bully” mode with your impetuous statement on the sovereign state of Sri Lanka withdrawing from the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) signed in February 2002 with, the non-state terrorists’ organization, the Tamil Tigers (aka Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam). Being a Sri Lankan-Canadian, I am not only disappointed I am also miffed.
What you have failed to tell the Sri Lankans and their law makers is how you have come to the conclusion that the CFA bore any value at all, when it had been violated by the Tamil Tigers over 7,000 times compared to the Sri Lanka armed forces violations of just over 200 times. And 90 percent of these were human rights violations by the Tamil Tigers, of unlawful killings with impunity of unarmed civilians, arbitrary detention, torture, and abduction and recruitment of children for its Baby Brigade to be trained as Black Tiger suicide bombers.
Madame, it beats me to know that you still want this CFA to continue which died in 2005 for all intent and purposes, thus providing a window of opportunity for human rights violations for the Tamil Tigers. This makes me suspicious of your concerns and as to whether you are on the side of the FBI’s dammed “one of the most dangerous extremist organizations in the world,” Tamil Tiger terrorists. I most definitely smell a nasty rat here.
When UNESCO and UNICEF have failed miserably and could do sweet nothing to rein in the Tamil Tigers to stop human rights violations, who thumbed their noses at you lot, and let you all dance your hosannas at their feet to the tom-tom beats of exploding Claymore mines and hand grenades at every meeting at their headquarters in Kilinochchi, I suppose you have now adapted the adage, if you can’t beat them, let’s join them. And hence the veiled threats at the Sri Lankan government, and wanting the CFA to continue, so that the Tamil Tigers could go on recruiting child soldiers, smuggle in ship loads of sophisticated armoury, build air strips, bring in containers with dismantled planes and helicopters which would be exempt from Custom checks, let the Norwegian government bring in sophisticated communication systems as diplomatic cargo, and permit the Tamil Diaspora stuff its war chest with American and Canadian dollars, sterling pounds, kroners and euros. Madame your intentions are suspect. And little wonder why the current Australian and American administrations have made no secret of their disdain for the UN, and for your Canada to vote against the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
MoD: 16 January 2008
LTTE terrorists ambushed a bus carrying about 80 innocent civilians at Helagama on the Buttala- Monaragala road around 7.40a.m. (January 16). The bus that was carrying large number of schoolchildren, office workers and poor peasants was first attacked with a powerful claymore blast and then fired up on by the terrorists.
One survivor told defence.lk that the terrorists remorselessly shot at the people who were jumping out of the bus following the blast. Many women survived the bomb blast became easy targets of the terror gunmen, he added.
LTTE is a ruthless terrorist outfit that has been fighting for mono ethnic separate homeland for Tamils since 1983. The outfit led by its psychopathic leader V. Prbhakaran is notorious for crimes against women and children. During its three decades of terror campaign against Sri Lankan citizens the outfit has killed and maimed over tens and thousands innocent children in ethnic cleansing raids, indiscriminate bomb attacks and by using child soldiers at the battlefronts. The FBI in its recent report called LTTE as the deadliest terrorist outfit in the world. According to the report, "it's not al Qaeda or Hezbollah or even HAMAS" but the group is called the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) or the Tamil Tigers for short is the deadliest and most dangerous terrorists outfit in the world.
[Full Story + Photos]
The Island: 13 January 2008
Terrorists are evanescent, fleeting. They come and go. Their whereabouts are unknown. They hide among the innocent civilians. They roam about, dressed up like any other civilian. There are no warning signals; a bomb, an explosion, a head flies. Yes, it was a suicide bomber, and the soldiers could not do much about it. It is extremely difficult, almost impossible, to distinguish between this unconventional terrorist posing as a civilian, and the ordinary civilian. The conventional soldier therefore is operating in an environment where the enemy is less recognisable.
How difficult, then, is the task of countering terrorism? Extremely, more than the law could have imagined. No, I am not talking about court orders! I am referring, more specifically, to that body of international law called international humanitarian law (frequently known as the law of armed conflict). The problems relate to the application and enforcement of the law. There is little use if the laws of armed conflict do not, in reality, address some of the grave problems encountered by the soldiers who are directly involved in countering terrorism. The soldier should be the privileged one, and the terrorist, the deprived one. Not vice versa.
International humanitarian law
The complex web of modern humanitarian law treaties includes in particular the four 1949 Geneva Conventions and the two Additional Protocols of 1977. The four Geneva Conventions concern the protection of the wounded and the sick (GC I), the wounded, sick and shipwrecked at Sea (GC II), prisoners of war (GC III) and civilians (GC IV) respectively. Further, Additional Protocol I of 1977 relates to the protection of victims of international armed conflict and Additional Protocol II deals with, for the first time, the protection of victims of non-international armed conflicts.
Application of humanitarian law
The question relating to the application of humanitarian law has been resolved quite convincingly by the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in the case of Tadic, in which the Tribunal held that international humanitarian law applies from the initiation of armed conflicts and extends beyond the cessation of hostilities until a general conclusion of peace is reached. The Tribunal also defined armed conflicts to include any type of conflict. Therefore, there is no great controversy over the applicability of humanitarian laws to armed conflicts.
However, in Sri Lanka, like in any other country in which armed (terrorist) conflicts exist, we do face problems when facing terrorism perpetrated by a non-state actor. It is the problem of a ‘lack of reciprocity’. To ask the question more vividly, how does one expect the LTTE, rooted as it is in the very notions of terrorism and indiscriminate barbarity, to respect and enforce humanitarian laws underlying the most basic and rudimentary norms of justice and humanity? To whom is this non-state actor accountable? To none. Therefore, at the very outset, it should be remembered that there is simply no parity of status. These are different actors, with different responsibilities. Surely, leading a group of terrorists is easier. The battle has not even begun, but Prabhakaran scores a point.
Then, there is the question of regular forces. Does the LTTE meet the requirement of a regular force? The answer is both ‘yes’ and ‘no’. The problem is that while there is an established and identifiable military unit, there is also a considerable group within the terrorist group, which operates in the guise of normal, ordinary civilians, carrying out suicide attacks. There are also the innumerable houses, schools, hospitals, play grounds, orphanages and others which form part of the training camps etc. of the terrorists. Therefore, while the LTTE can operate as an established and distinct unit, the terrorists could also, and in particular their suicide cadres, operate in the guise of civilians, stationed and trained in places which would have otherwise been inhabited by ordinary civilians, or rather, which are in fact inhabited by civilians living under the clutches of the LTTE. A huge bonus - Prabhakaran scores again.
Protecting civilians and terrorists
The conflict begins, and greater difficulty arises in relation to the protection of civilians. A fundamental objective of international humanitarian law is the protection of civilians not engaged in armed conflict. Common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions states very explicitly that "Persons taking no active part in the hostilities … shall in all circumstances be treated humanely …". While direct attack against the civilian population and objects is forbidden, the defending forces should, so far as possible, not locate military objectives in the vicinity of civilian habitation or objects, nor should the presence or movement of civilians used to protect an area from military operations or to shield military objectives from attack. Very laudable objectives, indeed.
However, how could the civilian be protected when there is simply no guarantee that the civilian might not turn up to be a terrorist? The targets on which the Air Force or the Armed Forces might carry out attacks, even after careful planning and strategizing, might well be civilian objects. For instance, it could be a school in which little children study, or a school building in which little child soldiers are trained, and vice versa. The Armed forces cannot shy away from their responsibility. Yet, is it always possible? Take the ‘Sencholai’ incident. The Government Forces were accused of killing innocent girls housed in a ‘home caring for children’. It was pointed out later that the Air Force had carefully targeted and bombed the LTTE training camp. The orphanage had been relocated at Killinochi, and the complex in Vallipurum (Sencholai) had been turned into a Tiger training facility. Hence, the confusion and the barrage of accusations.
This also relates to the issue of ‘indiscriminate attacks’. Indiscriminate attacks are forbidden in armed conflict. This approximates to the requirement of proportionality and the need to distinguish between military and non-military objectives. Article 51(4) of Protocol I defines ‘indiscriminate’ as those not directed at a specific military objective or employing means and methods which cannot be so directed or whose effects cannot be limited as required by the Protocol concerning protection of the wounded and sick (Leslie Green, The Contemporary Law of Armed Conflict). How then would the soldier or the armed forces reasonably distinguish between military and non-military objectives, when homes, schools, hospitals, places of worship etc. are used by terrorist to further terrorist activity? Consider the aerial bombing carried out on the ‘Voice of Tigers’ radio station in Killinochi on 27 November 2007; clearly, an establishment which can be operated via civilians. Yet, it was clearly the propaganda arm of the LTTE, operated by terrorists. It was never a ‘civilian’ radio station in that sense of the term. It was a legitimate target, being that of the LTTE. The Tigers sought protection of the Geneva Conventions. Some others condemned the attack – including the Director General of UNESCO Mr. Koichiro Matsuura, who had studied law at the University of Tokyo, who should have known better.
Rights and privileges to terrorists?
In the law of armed conflict, there are also rights and privileges accorded to detainees and prisoners of war (POWs). The question is whether the ‘prisoner of war’ status applies to a captured terrorist.
John C. Yoo (former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice) has argued, for instance, in an article titled ‘The Status of Soldiers and Terrorists under the Geneva Convention’ that the rights contained in the Geneva Conventions are designed for professional soldiers and not for criminals or terrorists; that the protection afforded for detainees do not legally apply to Taliban and al Qaeda detainees, the denial being legally correct; that the Taliban militia do not meet the standards for ‘legal belligerency’ and hence lacks entitlement to ‘prisoner of war status’; that it is only lawful combatants who are protected under international humanitarian law, and not unlawful combatants; that the prohibition of disadvantageous treatment of POWs implies better treatment for terrorists. All this was in relation to the Taliban and al Qaeda. The US, in arguing so, even formed the justification for torture.
Johannes van Aggelen of the OHCHR, responding to Yoo’s article writes that the Taliban met the requirements of a regular force as ‘they were organised under the authority of a central command of government and did distinguish themselves from the civilian population by wearing black turbans and scarves.’ (‘Response to John C. Yoo’, in the Chinese Journal of International Law, June 2005, p. 167) Yoo’s arguments raise valid points, but need not be accepted without questioning. However similarly, van Aggelen’s argument also cannot be sustained in the Sri Lankan context where there are no black turbans and scarves worn by suicide terrorists. As stated above, distinguishing the ordinary civilian from the terrorist can be extremely difficult.
However, consider the law in question. Captured personnel are the responsibility of the power by whose forces they have been captured. Their rights and status are regulated in accordance with the 1949 Geneva Convention relating to the treatment of a POW (Geneva Convention 3). Article 4 (A) (2) of the Convention contains 4 conditions which need to be satisfied if POW status is to be accorded. They are, that the captured should be i) commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates, ii) having a fixed distinctive sign recognizable at a distance, iii) carrying arms openly and iv) conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.
Now, to the Tiger terrorist in whatever form, (iv) above is never applicable. To the suicide Tiger terrorist, (ii), (iii) and (iv) are not applicable. Also, a POW is entitled to respect for their persons and honour. This covers their right of religious and intellectual freedom (what!), and protection against acts which might demoralise them (what would!). Article 14 together with Article 75(2) of Protocol 1 provides protection against the physical violence or torture. There are a whole host of other rights and privileges accorded to the POW, which need not be specifically enumerated here.
Fine. This should very well be the case. Inhuman treatment is inhuman treatment. Likewise, torture is torture, and there are no good kinds of torture. All such acts should be prohibited and condemned at all times. But consider the case of Menaka – the suicide terrorist who was attempting to target PM Ratnasiri Wickramanayake. In her interview with Jan Goodwin, she explains that the Police, having stopped her for questioning, beat her unconscious. Now, if the explanation stops there, this becomes a case of a grave violation of human rights and humanitarian law. But consider the following: she was sent on a suicide mission, she realised that she was getting exposed, and she wanted to bite the cyanide capsule before she was caught. The police knew her next move. Therefore, she was beaten hard to prevent her from committing suicide. Now, could one truly accuse the Police of violating humanitarian laws?
Privilege of fighting for Self-Determination
There is also another broader issue which should be taken note of. There are special privileges accorded to members of a group fighting for the right of self-determination. Article 1 (4) of Additional Protocol I of 1977 defines an international armed conflict to include a conflict in which peoples are fighting against colonial domination, alien occupation or a racist regime in the exercise of their right of self-determination. The right of self-determination, being necessarily a concept vigorously promoted in the context of decolonization, is highly vague, subjective, complex, controversial and faces the danger, as Judge Rosalyn Higgins has stated (Problems and Process: International Law and How We Use It, p. 128), of being "all things to all men". So, the acknowledgement of the existence of a conflict based on the right of self-determination remains very subjective and a decision which is within each state’s own discretion.
The protection that should be afforded to members involved in a national liberation movement fighting for this right of self-determination is interesting. Members of a national liberation movement acquire the status of combatants, and thus, cannot be considered as committing criminal offences vis-à-vis the armed forces of the State during times of conflict. There are a number of privileges afforded to such combatants (through Protocol I), the most glaring of them being the privilege accorded of not requiring the members of the movement to wear any identifiable uniform, or carry arms openly at all times. The dangers posed, to the innocent civilians as well as the armed forces of a state when such a liberation movement is nothing less than a brutal terrorist organisation, are enormous.
The Armed Forces are fighting a most ruthless terrorist organisation. Suicide terrorism perpetrated by the LTTE is second to no other. It exceeds the ferocity of groups such as Hizballah, Hamas, the PKK and the Al Qaida in the area of suicide terrorism. Hizballah started suicide terrorism in 1983, but LTTE which started its suicide campaigns in 1987 has made Hizballah look amateurish. The task, therefore, of combating LTTE terrorism is extremely arduous.
Gone are the days when clear battle lines were drawn and the two parties to the conflict were distinct and distinguishable. The nature of the conflict has changed. So should the law governing such conflicts. The laws of armed conflict do not seem to provide much hope for the soldier engaged in combating terrorism. Terrorists being such a group which has nothing to lose have much to gain due to the protection afforded by the laws. What then is easier – being a soldier, or being a terrorist?
MoD: 12 January 2008
Let the past bury its dead; so goes the saying. The recent annulment of the CFA was the act of burial of an agreement that died long ago and decomposed for an even longer time. Those who recognised a de facto state that they argued existed by 2002 within the island of Sri Lanka have failed to understand the de facto end of the truce.
A truce ends when it is violated. Thereafter adherence to it is voluntary and in fact there is no de facto ceasefire in place by that time. It is absurd making a big howling about the burial of a dead thing, even a human being.
During the CFA tigers managed to pump up their terrorist capabilities; recruit children as suicide bombers; their new air wing was added during the CFA; their military communications capability was established; sea tigers almost managed to intimidate the SLN to abandon all sea patrols; more than 32,000 mortars mainly heavy mortars were bought from Croatia during the CFA; a large assortment of surface-to-air missiles were added to the tigers arsenal; new bunkers were built within striking distance to defence facilities in Trincomalee, Muhamalai, Batticaloa, Weli Oya, etc.
Asian Tribune: 12 January 2008
Protesting against "the serious threat to the nation posed by Western diplomats, UN officials and foreign-funded NGOs who are incessantly interfering in the internal affairs of the Sri Lanka" 25 organisations in the Sri Lankan diaspora have urged the President to take action against those who are trying to subvert Sri Lankan sovereignty.
Citing the example of Afghan -- a government sustained by Western powers -- expelling a UN and an EU employee for holding an illegal meeting with Taleban, the Sri Lankan organisations are insisting that Peter Duamelle, UNICEF Country Representative, should be expelled for meeting the Tamil Tiger ‘political head' Nadesan and other LTTE operatives in Killinochchi.violating his terms and conditions for working in Sri Lanka.
Immediately following Duamelle's visit, the LTTE issued an outrageous press release, making it very clear that Mr. Duamelle's visit to the Wanni was orchestrated to give the LTTE an opportunity to legitimize its false claims of no longer using child soldiers. The press release also claimed that "The UNICEF Head said that his visit was an introductory meeting with the LTTE Political Head. Among the topics discussed was the work of the United Nations in general in the Tamil homeland." The tone and connotations of the statement were crafted to impress that the UNICEF chief was paying the customary visit of a newly-appointed diplomat to the head of state, in this case, the head of the so-called Tamil homeland. This is a serious threat to Sri Lankan sovereignty and territorial integrity.
SPUR: 11 January 2008
From the beginning to the end, the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) with the Tamil Tiger terrorists has been a calamity for the people of Sri Lanka and to its Government. It was shouldered by Sri Lanka at a great sacrifice to the sovereignty of the Nation. No other nation would ever have stood silently aside, had a similar bondage been imposed on its own self.
And now, finally the Sri Lanka Government has decided to withdraw from the 'ceasefire agreement'. It has done so as there was little reason to continue the impasse, if at all any, after having faced arduous conditions and enormous pressures during the five years in the face of brutal violations of the CFA by the LTTE terrorists. At the beginning, the CFA was an infamous and unlawful agreement signed by the then Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe of Sri Lanka, by-passing the constitutional framework.
This bondage of the CFA was hoisted upon Sri Lanka in February 2002, in the immediate aftermath of the New York terrorist bombings of 11 September. The terrorist LTTE used the master stroke to extricate itself from global wrath against terrorism and the might of US sanctions, by coaxing a weak and feuding Sri Lanka Government to embrace a CFA. Sri Lanka in a totally confused stupor entered this disastrous CFA blindfolded, ignoring the advice & protestations of many leading political and security analysts, and of civil society organisations. It took no account of the advice and concerns of the Sri Lanka Defence Forces, when in contrast the CFA was the brainchild of the armed LTTE terrorists to achieve their own militaristic ends.
Asian Tribune: 11 January 2008
In a letter addressed to the Editor of Asian Tribune, K. Balapatabendi PC, Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner based in Canberra, Australia has written a letter explaining why Sri Lanka abrogated the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA).
The erudite Sri Lanka’s diplomat in Australia has set out the compelling reasons behind the abrogation of the Ceasefire Agreement with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) the separatists Tamil rebel outfit.
The intention of the abrogation of the non-existence Ceasefire Agreement was notified to the Royal Norwegian Government according to the proviso in the Memorandum of Understanding.
Given below the full text of the letter written to Asian Tribune by the High Commissioner with the view to explain the reasons behind the Governments decision to abrogate the ceasefire agreement to the readers of Asian Tribune as well as to the international community:
I wish to keep you informed of the decision of the Government of Sri Lanka to withdraw from the Ceasefire Agreement (CFA) entered into between the then Prime Minister of Sri Lanka in 2002 and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The decision to abrogate the Ceasefire Agreement by the Government of Sri Lanka on the 3rd of January 2008 was for very strong reasons with the main objective of achieving sustainable stability and peace. It is not by any means intended to pursue any kind of military action as an alternative to peace negotiations which has been repeatedly declared within and outside the country, as the Policy of the Government, by the President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The termination of the CFA does not in any manner hamper the process s of moving towards a negotiated political settlement and that in fact, the termination would provide more opportunities and a broader space to pursue this goal through an inclusive process which would involve all minority groups of Sri Lanka which were not engaged in the earlier negotiations due to the restrictions in the said agreement.
In any event the "ceasefire agreement was an interim step intended to suspend aggressive actions, as signified by its dictionary meaning. Under the cover of the CFA, the LTTE continued to take strategic advantage on the ground, as they did in previous peace processes. During the Ceasefire the LTTE smuggled shiploads of weapons, fortified bunkers, recruited thousands of child soldiers and consolidated their strength. The LTTE spurned all opportunities and avoided discussions with the Government and continued its duplicitous action of escalating the violation of the CFA albeit the Government stood by the CFA unless the Armed Forces were forced and compelled to react to certain situations created by the terrorists.
Lanka Web: 08 January 2008
Within just nine days two legislators have been killed in Sri Lanka; within eight days two claymore attacks have taken place. Tigers have brought claymore bombs to Colombo thanks to the loopholes deliberately created by the CFA.Apart from preventive measures, deterrent measures also need to be taken to arrest the situation. Five legislators were killed during the past two and a half years by the LTTE.
Saturday’s attack on a notorious tiger killer is a welcome gesture in the war to eliminate terrorists. There was a notable absentee at the fallen tiger’s funeral; tiger leader Parabakaran was absent to pay last respects for one of his most valuable men. This is a clear sign of tigers’ extreme desperation, fear and defeat. This event would have provided the SLAF with valuable information on the whereabouts of many other top tigers including its Number Two Pottu Amman. Bumping off these perpetual terrorist leaders who had outlived so many governments in Colombo hold the key to LTTE’s internal stability, policy consistency, internal and external relationships, networks, morale of its cadres and trust from its sympathizers. Fighting a headless tiger s going to be much easier than a battle hardened one drenched with experience. A good example is the vacuum created by Tamil Chelvam. Although Nadesan was promptly appointed to the post, anybody can understand that Nadesan is very mush inadequate vis-à-vis his predecessor. This abundantly justify the claim that tiger leaders are irreplaceable; when killed there are no saviors left to lead the child soldiers, at least to their awaiting graves.
Lanka Web: 08 January 2008
The ‘peace’ mission of the Norwegians was a failure from the start. First and foremost it was initiated by petty political desires of Ranil, the then Prime Minister. Norway was chosen by the then President, Chandrika, before they were called to perform the monitoring task. Scandinavians, especially Sweden had a unique specialization in peace-making during the Cold War because of its non-allegiance to either superpower. Finland was also in the same position. Norway was in no way impartial as it was a NATO member country. The few ‘peace’ deals it attempted ended in worse disasters following their intervention.
At the same time the LTTE piled up their weapons; the SLMM paid no attention these activities. Encouraged by the SLMM’s support, the LTTE initiated a large scale recruitment drive of children into its ranks. Repeated appeals by none other than the President of Sri Lanka on child soldiers fell on deaf years. A large number of elite Sri Lanka Army soldiers were killed throughout the country. The LTTE was further encouraged by the SLMM’s silent approval of their conduct and initiated their ethnic cleansing process yet again in order to create a Tamil mono-ethnic homeland for the 80 million Tamils the world over.
Lanka Web: 04 January 2008
Sri Lanka has a right to defend itself from terrorists, parasites, separatists, religious extremists and cannibals. In deed there are deep meanings behind all these elements as Sri Lanka and the world at large have battled all of them and continue to battle them. When Britain was attacked by the Nazis, there were no argument about war or surrender; it was war only. The same applies to all nations that have saved themselves throughout history; they survive today while those who surrendered have vanished from the face of the earth. Therefore the Sri Lankan war must be won by Sri Lankan forces to guarantee Sri Lanka’s continued existence.
If anyone says war cannot bring peace and prosperity just visit the villages of once evicted farmers around Mavil Aru or the fishermen in Muttur, or the famers in Vaharei. They are living examples of peace and prosperity brought about by war. The bogus ‘peace’ and ‘ceasefire’ couldn’t do that. Of course, the terrorists are not going to practice innocent suicide of themselves and in the process of killing them, civilian casualties and short term economic upheavals are inevitable. The present attrition warfare by the SLDF has done enormous damage to the LTTE as their precious few fighters (including child soldiers) are dying like sprats. Informed sources from Vanni has told relief missions that LTTE casualties are overflowing in Vanni hospitals; mothers are hacking LTTE officers to death when they come to break the news that their sons were killed; more and more people are providing information to the army on LTTE hideouts, etc. Amidst all this, the pride of Sri Lanka – the Tamil only DPU which is the elite commandoes of the army aka ‘the Reeri Yaka Brigade’ – makes vital inroads deep into Vanni. It is expected that at any moment the government will unleash all hell on tigers and harvest a large number of terrorists in the process.