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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2900

Playing with the innocent children : Tamil Tigers use Diaspora Children for fund raising propaganda Switzerland

Geneva, 14 September, (Asiantribune.com): Tamilischer Kulter Verein Thurgau, another active front organization of LTTE in Switzerland had organized a fund raising event in Thorau recently, in the guise of raising funds ‘displaced persons in the north’. Certain sections of the Tamil community and Swiss nationals who attended the above event organized under the banner of cultural festival in Thurgau were shocked to see Montessori school children as young as eight years enacting a drama dressed as child combatants using replicas of most lethal weapons.Invitation flier of Tamilischer Kulter Verein Thurgau -  another active front organization of LTTE in Switzerland had organized a fund raising event in ThorauInvitation flier of Tamilischer Kulter Verein Thurgau - another active front organization of LTTE in Switzerland had organized a fund raising event in Thorau

At the event, Senior LTTE activists controlling the chain of Tamil schools under Thamilchollai administration in Europe have given explicit orders to all the teachers that the policy of “Eelam (Tamil separate state) first” should be incorporated into the school syllabus. This event is believed to have been organized under the order of Thamilchollai administration.

What shocked the Tamil Diaspora members, especially the women and the middle-aged and the elderly was that young school children were dressed in combat uniforms carrying replicas of most dangerous weapons from rocket launchers, missiles and machine guns with capacity to kill hundreds within seconds.A Swiss Tamil child  with lethal weaponA Swiss Tamil child with lethal weapon

While a handful of young parents watched the dances of their children with pride in their hearts, the vast majority of Tamils in the audience were shocked and dismayed about this display and openly expressed apprehensions about the long term psychological impact on young minds when such violent behaviors are glorified.

“Nobody should have a right to play games with such gullible children,” a Swiss national who went to see the ‘Tamil culture’ with his Tamil friends. “This is a blatant violation of child rights and all international conventions against recruitment of child soldiers. Swiss authorities should take action against the or gazers of the event as use of children for glorification of violence and subject children such practices could lead them to grow up as social misfits who believe in violence,” he pointed out.A Swiss Tamil children  seen with lethal weaponsA Swiss Tamil children seen with lethal weapons

A leading member of the Swiss Tamil Diaspora expressed his dismay at the “sick minds of the people who stoop to such levels to raise funds for a militant movement”. He added that only die-hard militants and ignorant parents would approve such practices of brain-washing young gullible young minds.

He pointed out that the Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 details how near global consensuses that children should not be used as soldiers and strenuous international efforts have failed to protect tens of thousands of children from war.

“It is very dangerous to play with child’s mind. Early years of child’s life is very important as that will have a lasting impact on his adult life,” Dr Carlton Moulin, a psychologist said. What the children see in tender years will touch the rest of their lives for good or for ill. Some children may live their lives in situations of peace and security. For countless others war continues to be all too real. Over this aspect of the adult world they have little say and no control, he pointed out.

He added that these children of Tamil diaspora will be influenced by the violent acts they are asked to perform although they have no experience at all about the theatre of war. "They live in peaceful and prosperous Switzerland and as they are citizens of this country, the harm will be to the Swiss society," he lamented.A Swiss Tamil children duplicating  Wanni child soldiersA Swiss Tamil children duplicating Wanni child soldiers

The last Global Report was published by the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers (Coalition) in November 2004. Since then the movement to end the use of child soldiers has seen continued progress towards a universal consensus against their use in hostilities, witnessed by the fact that over three-quarters of states have now signed, ratified or acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict.

A small number of militant groups like the LTTE persist not only in recruiting children but also in exposing them to the physical and psychological dangers of combat. Despite repeated denials by the LTTE spokespersons, there is evidence that Tamil Tigers continues to recruit large numbers of children into its armed forces – often forcibly through intimidation, coercion and violence – and to use them in a range of combat and non-combat roles.

Sri Lankan soldiers found several dead bodies of young Tamil children in LTTE camouflage uniforms after a fierce battle in the north two months ago and the dead bodies were returned through the representatives of the ICRC. At the LTTE training centres in Kilinochchi, there are unconfirmed reports that untrained children as young as 15 were given weapons and sent to the battlefront.

Under the intensive campaign for long term recruitment drive, use of weapons and killing instincts are often inculcated in the educational and recreational settings where children’s physical and intellectual formation takes place. In the schools in LTTE controlled areas, it is compulsory for all schools to include drills and other military training for young secondary-school students. For senior students from age 14 onwards, the LTTE has introduced military training.

The Optional Protocol permits the admission of under-18s into schools operated by or under the control of the military, but requires them to operate in accordance with Articles 28 and 29 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. However, in some military schools run by the LTTE proxy institutions, children wear military uniforms, live in military-style barracks and are subject to military discipline. Some offer a standard school curriculum, while others provide a narrow education involving hard physical drill and weapons handling.

The events of this nature clearly demonstrates how Prabhakaran makes use of LTTE administered Thamilchollai schools in Europe as in Wanni to inculcate violence and terrorism in the minds of the children of the Tamil diaspora and also to develop hatred between Sinhala and Tamil communities in a subtle manner in order to secure the support of the next generation of Tamils for the Eelam cause.

- Asian Tribune -

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