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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 857

UN says: "Target LTTE political and military leadership"

H. L. D. Mahindapala

In one of the biggest blows to the internationally banned Tamil Tigers the UN Secretary-General’s report on Sri Lanka has recommended that that “targeted measures be undertaken against LTTE political and military leadership” for violations of children’s rights.

This is the first time that the UN has recommended to the international community that the Tamil Tiger leadership be targeted. The report was submitted to the Security Council on January 11, 2007. Any chance of the banned Tamil Tigers getting a reprieve from the international community was snuffed out with the UN Secretary-General’s report which is due to be discussed on February 9, 2007.

The full text of the recommendation published exclusively in the Asian Tribune reads: “Although limited progress has been made in the release of some children from the LTTE over the last three years, the LTTE’s refusal to completely cease recruitment and use of children, release all children remaining on the UNICEF database, and engage in transparent procedures for release and verification of demobilization merits that targeted measures be undertaken against LTTE political and military leadership.”

Earlier this week the Tamil Tigers were also hit hard by the Indian Foreign policy statement on Sri Lanka which stated that India’s commitment to Sri Lankan sovereignty and territorial integrity was not dependent on any future solution that would appease the Tamils.

These are two deadly blows to the Tiger political lobby and its propaganda machine. These two body blows have weakened the Tigers who are already buckling under the military attacks of the Sri Lankan forces.

Political observers note that the Tamil Tigers are not likely recover from these international attacks on its military and political leadership, its political ideology and its violent strategies. From a global perspective this is a decisive turning point which will push the Tamil Tigers into a corner from which they cannot escape unless they re-enter the peace process with a total commitment find a negotiated settlement.

Political observers also note that the Government of Sri Lanka has not been accused heavily or directly in involvements with recruiting child soldiers, as feared earlier after the statements of Alan Rock. The Secretary General merely “stresses the need for the Government to immediately investigate allegations of certain elements of the Sri Lanka security forces involvement in aiding recruitment and /or abduction of children by the Karuna faction in the East”.

The following recommendations of the United Nations Secretary General that are now before the Security Council will come up for consideration on the 9th February:

1. I urge all parties to the conflict to immediately cease all violence and re-engage in the peace process in order to reach a negotiated settlement. Such a peace settlement should include provisions to ensure the protection of children, thereby preventing grave violations and abuses against children.

2. Although limited progress has been made in the release of some children from the LTTE over the last three years, the LTTE’s refusal to completely cease recruitment and use of children, release all children remaining on the UNICEF database, and engage in transparent procedures for release and verification of demobilization merits that targeted measures be undertaken against LTTE political and military leadership.

3. The LTTE must immediately cease the release of children to the ESDC and instead release them directly to their families as stipulated in the action plan, with adequate information shared with UNICEF for the purpose of timely verification.

4. The LTTE must respect the right of freedom of movement of IDPs to leave areas of conflict and cease all use of civilians as human shields.

5. The TMVP and its military wing, the “Karuna faction” should cease all recruitment and use of child soldiers, including abductions with immediate effect and engage with UNICEF, as a matter of priority, to release all children among its ranks, ensure a transparent verification process and devise procedures for age verification with UNICEF, to prevent further recruitment, failing which, targeted measures may be considered.

6. I stress the need for the Government to immediately investigate allegations of certain elements of the Sri Lanka security forces involvement in aiding recruitment and /or abduction of children by the Karuna faction in the East and invite immediate support from UNICEF and other relevant agencies to address these allegations.

7. I encourage the Co-chairs and the Norwegian Facilitation to approach the parties to include a substantial child protection component into the mandate of the peace monitoring mission, in order to intensify efforts to monitor and verify compliance by parties listed in annex II of the 2006 Secretary General’s report on children and armed conflict.

8. The UN country team stands ready to support the Government of Sri Lanka in rapidly devising child-appropriate release and interim care for “surrendees” from armed groups in the custody of the Government of Sri Lanka.

9. The international community should support the work of UNICEF and other relevant agencies to increase the capacity of the monitoring and reporting mechanism, including the necessary funding to increase the capacity of the Sri Lankan Human Rights Commission and the National Child Protection Agency.

10. I urge all parties to recognize and commit toward maintaining the neutrality and security of schools, hospitals, and religious institutions as “safe zones” in conflict-affected areas.

11. I call on the Government of Sri Lanka and all relevant parties to ensure open and safe access to humanitarian actors in Sri Lanka to affected areas.

- Asian Tribune -

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