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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2613

Sri Lanka: Karuna denies allegation of recruitment and use of children and volunteers to work with the UN

New York, 08 December, (Asiantribune.com): Colonel Karuna a.k.a V.Muralidharan, has emphatically denied all allegations of children recruitment leveled against his Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP). While strongly registering his denial, he has agreed to allow UNICEF Monitors to visit his camps to ensure that no children remain associated with his armed group. But in the case of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, they have so far refused to allow UNICEF Monitors to visit their camps to ensure that no children are associated with them.

Karuna has officially contacted UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict to deny all allegations of child recruitment leveled against his political organization by the UNICEF, UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict and Allan Rock, Advisor to the Special Representative.

Karuna’s denial and his volunteering to work with the UNICEF are highlighted in a statement released yesterday by the office of the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict. This is said to be a commendable act to safeguard children forthcoming from Colonel Karuna, leader of the politico-military organization.

The press release revealed, "On Monday 4th December 2006, Colonel Karuna a.k.a V.Muralidharan, leader of the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) in Sri Lanka, contacted the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict regarding the listing of his group (Karuna faction-TMVP) in Annex 2 of the latest report of the Secretary General to the Security Council on children and armed conflict."

According to the press release, "During the conversation, Colonel Karuna denied engaging in such a practice."

"However, he said he will collaborate with UNICEF to ensure that children are protected," the press release pointed out.

In the meantime, Radhika Coomaraswamy, UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict has welcomed Karuna’s statement.

Karuna has also confirmed that he would take the following actions which will be formalized in an action plan negotiated between Karuna’s group (TMVP) and UNICEF.

1) Re-issuing a policy statement to inform all the commanders of the Karuna faction in the field that using and recruiting children is not an acceptable practice.

2) Training all commanders in the field on child’s rights with all necessary assistance from the International Community.

3) Releasing children who may be found among Karuna ranks to their families, in collaboration with relevant NGOs and/or UNICEF
4) Giving free access to the Karuna camps for UNICEF monitors to ensure that no children remain associated with the armed group.

The Special Representative, Radhika Coomaraswamy while welcoming Colonel Karuna’s statement, said "This is a major step forward that will help to prevent children from being used by armed groups in Sri Lanka. I hope that this will lead to effective actions on the ground."

The statement added that the Office of the Special Representative hopes to receive a similar commitment from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) granting access for independent verification to their camps in the near future.

In the meantime it is learnt that Kofi A. Annan, UN Secretary General in his latest report to the Security Council listed LTTE and the TMVP as parties and armed groups who recruit and use Children.

As of now, TMVP leader Colonel Karuna has volunteered to dispel suspicion and cooperate with the UNICEF, it is most likely that TMVP would be dropped from the list of the UN Security Council.

According to a UN diplomat, the new report is expected to be submitted to the UN Security council with request for action against LTTE for the criminal act of recruiting children.

It is further said that there is every likelihood of UN Security Council declaring LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakaran as the most wanted man to be tried in a tribunal for crimes against thousands of underage children and crimes against humanity.

The full text of the statement released by office of the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict

Sri Lanka Karuna Commits To Work With The UN To Prevent Recruitment And Use Of Children

On Monday 4th December 2006, Colonel Karuna a.k.a V.Muralidharan, leader of the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) in Sri Lanka contacted the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict regarding the listing of his group (Karuna faction-TMVP) in Annex 2 of the latest report of the Secretary General to the Security Council on children and armed conflict.

During the conversation, Colonel Karuna denied engaging in such a practice. However, he said he will collaborate with UNICEF to ensure that children are protected. He confirmed that he would take the following actions which will be formalized in an action plan negotiated between Karuna’s group(TMVP) and UNICEF:

1) Re-issuing a policy statement to inform all the commanders of the Karuna faction in the field that using and recruiting children is not an acceptable practice.

2) Training all commanders in the field on child’s rights with all necessary assistance from the International Community.

3) Releasing children who may be found among Karuna ranks to their families, in collaboration with relevant NGOs and/or UNICEF

4) Giving free access to the Karuna camps for UNICEF monitors to ensure that no children remain associated with the armed group.

The Special Representative, Radhika Coomaraswamy welcomes Colonel Karuna’s statement. "This is a major step forward that will help to prevent children from being used by armed groups in Sri Lanka. I hope that this will lead to effective actions on the ground," she said. The Office of the Special Representative hopes to receive a similar commitment from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) granting access for independent verification to their camps in the near future.

The annual report of the Secretary General to the Security Council Children and Armed Conflict includes 2 annexes listing parties and armed groups who recruit and use children. The latest report (A/61/529–S/2006/826) was presented to the Security Council on November 28th 2006. Both Karuna faction and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were listed.

- Asian Tribune -

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