Two Deadly Blows aimed at the LTTE
In the following article the veteran journalist HLD Mahindapala draws attention to a report by the UN Secretary General (UNSG) on the recruitment of children for military service which is a violation of the Charter of Children's Rights. In particular he draws attention to the recommendation in the report that "targeted measures be undertaken against LTTE political and military leadership" on this score. This report is to be discussed on February 9 2007.
Certainly any condemnation of the illegal activity of the LTTE by an international body must be welcome. The UN like other international bodies has been tardy in condemning the crimes of the LTTE, many of which are far more severe than the recruitment of children for military service. However condemnation of the recruitment of children is a good place. There are some 11 points in the report of the UNSG not all of which are in the true interests of Sri Lanka.
If HLD looks at Point 6, to which he draws attention, some of his elation at the condemnation of the LTTE may be dimmed. Here the UNSG stresses "the need for the Government to immediately investigate allegations of certain elements of the Sri Lanka security forces involvement in aiding recruitment and /or abduction of children by the Karuna faction in the East and invite immediate support from UNICEF and other relevant agencies to address these allegations". Even though this may not be direct accusation of GOSL of child recruitment it does accuse GOSL of complicity in the recruitment of children by the Karuna faction.
Quite apart from the issue of the alleged recruitment of children most of the report of the UNSG can be considered as supportive of negotiation with terrorists. The very first point asks both parties to "cease all violence and re-engage in the peace process". This despite the fact that the peace process had led nowhere, and is not likely to lead anywhere. There is no outright condemnation of LTTE terrorism, and in fact both parties are placed on the same level. At many other places the foreign involvement in the SL problem starting with the Norwegians is praised.
Thus on a rational analysis the balance of the UNSG's report is against the interests of Sri Lanka.
The other issue which pleases HLD is the Indian statement that it supports the sovereignty and territorial integrity of SL. This is a position which not only India but all countries claim to support. But the fact is that India is even-handed in its treatment of the two sides to the SL conflict. This is shown by the coldness of reception to President Rajapakse's recent visit to India which was soon followed by a similar audition to the TNA delegation. In fact it was India which initially armed the LTTE and saved it from extinction at crucial times as with the Rajiv Gandhi intervention.
Thus HLD's "two deadly blows" directed at the LTTE turn out on closer inspection to be less than deadly.
In one of the biggest blows to the internationally banned Tamil Tigers the UN Secretary-General's report on Sri Lanka has recommended that that "targeted measures be undertaken against LTTE political and military leadership" for violations of children's rights.
This is the first time that the UN has recommended to the international community that the Tamil Tiger leadership be targeted. The report was submitted to the Security Council on January 11, 2007. Any chance of the banned Tamil Tigers getting a reprieve from the international community was snuffed out with the UN Secretary-General's report which is due to be discussed on February 9, 2007.
The full text of the recommendation published exclusively in the Asian Tribune reads: "Although limited progress has been made in the release of some children from the LTTE over the last three years, the LTTE's refusal to completely cease recruitment and use of children, release all children remaining on the UNICEF database, and engage in transparent procedures for release and verification of demobilization merits that targeted measures be undertaken against LTTE political and military leadership."
Earlier this week the Tamil Tigers were also hit hard by the Indian Foreign policy statement on Sri Lanka which stated that India's commitment to Sri Lankan sovereignty and territorial integrity was not dependent on any future solution that would appease the Tamils.
These are two deadly blows to the Tiger political lobby and its propaganda machine. These two body blows have weakened the Tigers who are already buckling under the military attacks of the Sri Lankan forces.
Political observers note that the Tamil Tigers are not likely recover from these international attacks on its military and political leadership, its political ideology and its violent strategies. From a global perspective this is a decisive turning point which will push the Tamil Tigers into a corner from which they cannot escape unless they re-enter the peace process with a total commitment find a negotiated settlement.
Political observers also note that the Government of Sri Lanka has not been accused heavily or directly in involvements with recruiting child soldiers, as feared earlier after the statements of Alan Rock. The Secretary General merely "stresses the need for the Government to immediately investigate allegations of certain elements of the Sri Lanka security forces involvement in aiding recruitment and /or abduction of children by the Karuna faction in the East".
The following recommendations of the United Nations Secretary General that are now before the Security Council will come up for consideration on the 9th February: