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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 81

Rights groups hail EU travel ban on LTTE

[b]Rights groups hail EU travel ban on LTTE[/b]

By Thalif Deen - Inter Press Service

[b]United Nation, 04 October, (IPS): [/b]Human rights organizations are urging the international community to follow the lead set by the European Union (EU), which has imposed a travel ban on leaders of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a Sri Lankan rebel group notorious for recruiting child soldiers.

"The EU should continue to refuse LTTE delegations until political killings and child recruitment stop," Jo Becker, children's rights advocacy director of the New York-based Human Rights Watch, told IPS. She also urged "other U.N. member states to consider similar action".

"We welcome the recent EU agreement that LTTE delegations will no longer be received in (the 25) EU member states", Casey Kelso, international director of the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, told IPS.

He said the recruitment of any child under the age of 18 for military purposes -- whether enforced or voluntary -- is contrary to international human rights norms, which are based on recognition of children's special needs and vulnerabilities.

"The recruitment of children under the age of 15 is defined as a war crime by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. These obligations exist independently of any peace process," Kelso added.

Established in May 1998, the London-based Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers comprises some of the world's leading international human rights and humanitarian organisations.

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