Thursday, May 22, 2008

LTTE accused of continuing to recruit child soldiers

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) continued to recruit and use children, despite repeated commitments not to do so, a global report on child soldiers released on Tuesday (May 20) said.

Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 published by the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, a non governmental organization based in London, UK said that the LTTE, which had recruited under-age fighters for many years, pledged on June 18 2007 to rid its ranks of all under-18s by the end of 2007.

Despite the pledges LTTE had not committed to the full release of children under 18, it said.

“The LTTE consistently denied that it knowingly recruited children and it claimed that children sought to join by disguising their age. However, there is overwhelming evidence of recruitment, often forced, throughout areas under LTTE control as well as from government-controlled areas in the north and east.

The recruitment of children typically followed a pattern of increased recruitment during the season of temple festivals and a fall during periods of international condemnation,” the report noted.

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