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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2526

“Bring the LTTE leaders before International Court of Justice to face charges for war crimes against Children.”

New York, 03 August, (Asiantribune.com): An organization called ‘Sri Lankan Patriots in the United States of America’ has urged UNICEF to take necessary steps to bring the leaders of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) before the International Court of Justice to face charges for war crimes against children.

The organization has also decided to stage peace rally on 13 August across from the UN Headquarters at 47th &1st Avenue, Manhattan New York to protest against the child exploitation of the LTTE.

Organizers have appealed, “As Sri Lankans we need to help our children in the North and East.” Also added, “If you are a Sri Lankan living in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut please join the peace rally with all your friends and family to protest against child exploitation of the LTTE. “

In a press release regarding the Peace Rally in front of the UN Organization, the organizers have pointed out:

*”We need to tell the world how LTTE is recruiting children for their "Baby Brigade" and how many thousands of children LTTE has killed.”

* ”Urge the UN to take steps against LTTE, the killer of more than 65000 thousand people, massacre of civilians, mass suicide bombers, the world's number one terrorist organization. “

* “As Sri Lankans we need to help our children in the North and East, Organizers pointed out.

Furthermore, the organizers in a petition http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/LTTEwarOnChildren addressed to Ann M. Veneman, Executive Director of UNICEF demanded action against the “LTTE’s war on children"

In their petition addressed to the UNICEF Chief, they have urged the UNICEF to take this matter to the International Criminal Court (ICC) where the Rome Statute may be invoked for a swift and appropriate resolution.

The full text of the petition is given below:

Ann M. Veneman
Executive Director
UNICEF
UNICEF House, 3 United Nations Plaza
New York, New York 10017

Dear Ms. Veneman:

We, the undersigned, write to express our deep concern about the plight of Sri Lankan children, primarily in the northern and eastern parts the island, where, for more than two decades, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam have been fighting to set up a separate state based on ethnic lines.

The Tigers’ brutal campaign of violence has included a facet that may be termed ‘The LTTE’s War on Children.’ This facet includes:

* Abduction and conscription of children from the Tamil and Muslim
communities to be trained as fighters and suicide bombers

* Deliberate targeting of children in attacks on civilian targets

As the head of UNICEF, you are already well aware of the details surrounding ‘The LTTE’s War on Children.’ Our purpose is to urge that UNICEF apply greater diligence and a more decisive stand in its approach to this crisis. Year after year, UNICEF officials have visited Sri Lanka and obtained promises from the LTTE that they will halt the abduction and conscription of children. Year after year, the Tigers have reneged on their promise and have, instead, only intensified their campaign for recruiting children.

In the meantime, an entire generation of children whose families have not been able to escape the clutches of the LTTE, have been denied the birthright to a proper education, a life with their parents, and a chance to achieve their potential as human beings. They have been turned into mindless fighting machines. By UNICEF’s own estimates there are about 5000 such children.

Specifically, we urge UNICEF to take this matter to the International Criminal Court (ICC) where the Rome Statute may be invoked for a swift and appropriate resolution. In March of this year, as allowed under the Statute, the ICC arrested Mr Thomas Lubanga Dyilo, a Congolese national and alleged founder and leader of the Union des Patriotes Congolais (UPC) and charged him, among other war crimes, for conscripting and enlisting children under the age of fifteen years and using them to participate actively in hostilities.

A ‘blueprint’ for how UNICEF can engage the Security Council, and, in turn, the ICC to effect similar action against the LTTE was provided in the Policy Symposium on Children and Armed Conflict organized by the Harvard Program on Humanitarian Policy and Conflict Research in cooperation with several children’s advocacy groups, including UNICEF, at UNICEF House, New York , on November 8, 2002. we urge swift and firm - action.

- Asian Tribune

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