UN: Tamil group abducting children

The UN has accused a breakaway Tamil Tiger rebel faction of increasing its recruitment of child soldiers, with 30 cases reported in the past week.

    The UN says young Tamils are often forced to join rebel groups

    The UN childrens fund, UNICEF, called on the Sri Lankan government to halt the abduction of child soldiers by a Tamil rebel group led by V Muralitharan - also known as Colonel Karuna.

    "Over the past week, the agency has verified reports of 30 cases in (the eastern) Batticaloa district," UNICEF said in a statement.

    "Reports of abduction and  forced recruitment of boys under the age of 18 have increased since March," it added.

    "These gross violations of their rights will also expose children to brutality and extreme violence with lifelong consequences," the statement said.

    The main Tamil Tiger rebel group released 33 children last month, saying that they had lied about thier ages to join the organisation.

    New York-based Human Rights Watch, in a November 2004 report,  said UNICEF had documented 3,516 new cases of underage recruitment by the Tamil Tigers between February 2002, when a ceasefire was reached with the government, and October 2004.

    Poverty, abuses by Sri Lankan security forces, rebel propaganda and coercion often fuel the recruitment of children, the rights watchdog said.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.