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Thursday, May 22, 2008 - 6.42 GMT
LTTE recruits over 6000 children


The total number of children recruited by the LTTE since January 2002 to September 2007 was well over six thousand, Child Soldiers Global Report 2008 issued by Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers said.

Children in the east were forcibly recruited and used by the Karuna group too.

The Report said that there is overwhelming evidence of recruitment, often forced, throughout areas in north and east although the LTTE consistently denied that it knowingly recruited children and it claimed that children sought to join by disguising their age.

"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 said.

The LTTE, which had recruited under-age fighters for many years, pledged on 18 June 2007 to rid its ranks of all under-18s by the end of 2007. However, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict reported that that the LTTE had assured her special advisor that they would accelerate the release of all children under the age of 17, but had not committed to the full release of children under 18.

The Report details a new village-based military training by LTTE, in which all civilians in uncleared ares aged between 15 and 50 were compelled to participate. In addition, there were reports of a new type of six-month residential military training being run by the LTTE, after which people were allowed to continue their civilian lives, but had to remain available for military duties.

The LTTE was listed as a party recruiting and using children in hostilities in the Annex to the Secretary-Generalís annual report on children in armed conflict between 2003 and 2007. The Karuna group was listed for child recruitment and use in 2006 and 2007.







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