Sunday Observer Online


News Bar »

News: TMVP releases child soldiers, does not carry guns in public - UN ...           Political: PC Polls smooth: UNP in desperation ...          Finanacial News: Rs. 3.5 m investment to woo more Gulf travellers ...          Sports: A great trier Kaushalya won Observer Schoolboy Cricketer award in 2000 ...

DateLine Sunday, 11 May 2008





Marriage Proposals
Government Gazette

TMVP releases child soldiers, does not carry guns in public - UN

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP), the political party which is transforming itself from an armed group to a party contesting elections released 39 child soldiers to a Government led rehabilitation program and restricted its armed recruits to the interior forest in the Eastern Province and they no longer travel in public carrying guns.

The UN body also reported that Sivasuntharai Chandrakanthan, the TMVP leader has pledged publicly that he would not allow any child recruitment to the group.

The following is the UN report:

“The Karuna faction, the Tamil Tiger breakaway group, which has been transforming itself from an armed military group into a political party, released 39 underage recruits last month.

“The group, officially known as the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pullikal (TMVP) released 28 children on April 24 after 11 were released on April 11.

“The TMVP was formed by the former eastern military commander of the LTTE. Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan, alias Karuna, after he broke away from the Tigers in April 2004. It now controls all nine local governing divisions in its native Batticaloa district in eastern Sri Lanka following a clean sweep in elections on March 10 and contested the Eastern Provincial Council election yesterday as a coalition partner of the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance.

“The TMVP is now led by Karuna’s chief lieutenant Sivasuntharai Chandrakanthan, alias Pillayan, the party’s candidate for the Chief Minister of the province, who was taken pains to rehabilitate the party’s image.

In addition to the release of children into a Government-led rehabilitation program supported by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), it has restricted its armed members to camps in the interior forests in the eastern province or inside its compounds in more populated areas and they no longer travel in public carrying arms.

The TMVP told IRIN it had voluntarily decided to release the children, who it said had sought protection. “We never gave these children armed training, they came to us for protection.” TMVP spokesperson Azad Moulana told IRIN. “There were 48 children under the age of 16 with us and we have released 39 so far. We will release the rest before the eastern election,” he said.

However, according to a UNICEF database, 76 recruits younger than 18 are still with the TMVP, down from 131 end March.

UNICEF has intensified its monitoring mechanism recently, according to the agency’s officials in Colombo. UNICEF officials visited and interviewed families of child recruits remaining with the TMVP to verify each case. “We absolutely verified every single case in the books by visiting the families,” said Gordon Weiss. UNICEF chief of communications in Sri Lanka.

“A year back there was a lot of fighting (in the East) and families reported their children being forcibly recruited,” said Weiss. “Now there is no fighting and our hope is that there is a genuine change in policy by the TMVP on child recruitment.” Chandrakanthan had told campaign meetings that the party would not engage in underage recruitment.

“The Sri Lankan government welcomed the releases, the largest by the group, as a clear sign of the return of the rule of law to the East. “The government views the release of these children as further signs of strengthening democracy and returning to conditions of normality in areas of the Eastern Province,” said the Ministry of Human Rights and Disaster Management.

“The Government, as part of its zero-tolerance policy on the recruitment of children for use in armed conflict, has taken steps to secure the release and initiate programs of rehabilitation for children caught up in armed conflict.”

Courtesy: Asian Tribune



Gamin Gamata - Presidential Community & Welfare Service
Ceylinco Banyan Villas

| News | Editorial | Financial | Features | Political | Security | Spectrum | Impact | Sports | World | Plus | Magazine | Junior | Letters | Obituaries |


Produced by Lake House Copyright © 2007 The Associated Newspapers of Ceylon Ltd.

Comments and suggestions to : Web Editor