On August 29, Sri Lanka appointed a committee to investigate allegations of child recruitment by the Karuna group, a Tamil armed group allegedly linked to the government. In our January 2007 report, Human Rights Watch exposed patterns of abductions and the recruitment of child soldiers by the Karuna group with the complicity or willful blindness of the Sri Lankan government. We released press statements and op-eds, testified publicly, and held face-to-face meetings to press for an official investigation and urge the government to halt its involvement in the use of child soldiers.
Since the resumption of major hostilities last year between the government of Sri Lanka and the armed secessionist group Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), we have documented ongoing abuses by the LTTE and the Karuna group, as well as a dramatic increase in abuses by government forces with a disturbing rise in abductions and "disappearances." Going forward, we will keep pressure on the government, the Tamil Tigers, and the Karuna group to curb abuses, and we will press for accountability for all who have been responsible for committing abuses.