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II. Recommendations

To the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE):

  • Immediately stop all recruitment of children, including efforts to re-register or re-recruit child ex-combatants from Karuna’s forces;
  • Release all children from LTTE forces and give those recruited before age eighteen the option to leave:
  • Inform families throughout the North and East of Sri Lanka of the LTTE’s commitment not to recruit children under the age of eighteen through public announcements and use of the local media, including the LTTE’s own media channels, and ensure that all recruitment materials clearly identify eighteen as the minimum age for recruitment;
  • Take all appropriate steps to ensure LTTE commanders and other cadres do not recruit children under the age of eighteen into LTTE forces, “voluntarily” or otherwise and provide the international community (through UNICEF) with documentation of disciplinary actions taken against LTTE cadre responsible for such recruitment;
  • Fulfill all commitments agreed under the Action Plan for Children Affected by War;
  • Approve for immediate dissemination the child rights awareness campaign messages submitted to the LTTE by UNICEF in January of 2004;
  • Allow UNICEF access to all military training camps to assess the age of recruits, and identify children for demobilization;
  • Create a high-level task force to resolve outstanding cases of under-age recruitment;
  • Establish a hotline or rapid response mechanism to act on reports of new recruitment and designate focal points in each district who will be accountable for acting on any complaints;
  • Publish the status of inquiries into cases raised by UNICEF on a routine basis.

To the Government of Sri Lanka:

  • Ensure that an end to child recruitment and immediate demobilization of children from the LTTE are part of any new peace agreement with the LTTE ;
  • Take all appropriate measures in areas under its control to protect children from LTTE recruitment, including increasing a government presence near schools, temple festivals and other places where children are likely to be abducted;
  • Improve relations between the Sri Lankan army and police with the Tamil population, including by increasing the number of Tamil speakers within the security forces and providing language training to non-Tamil speakers;
  • Grant a formal amnesty to all former child soldiers for their participation in the LTTE;
  • Ensure that all eligible persons (including former child soldiers without discrimination) are issued national identity cards;
  • Waive traditional entry requirements for state-run vocational colleges for former child soldiers in order to encourage their enrolment;
  • Support the deployment of international human rights monitors under the auspices of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, as envisioned in the Hakone talks;
  • Ratify the Rome statute for the International Criminal Court.

To the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF):

  • Set firm benchmarks and deadlines for LTTE compliance with its commitments to end child recruitment and release children from its forces; if the LTTE fails to meet the benchmarks by the specified deadline, suspend operations at the transit centers, including any funds going to the TRO for center operations;
  • Continue and strengthen efforts to prevent child recruitment, including re-recruitment of former child soldiers;
  • Strengthen communication and working relationships with local communities and local nongovernmental organizations in order to effectively monitor child recruitment, put in place effective prevention strategies, and better support affected families, including their efforts to resist child recruitment;
  • Intervene rapidly in cases of child recruitment by raising cases with the LTTE as quickly as possible and accompanying families, when possible, in requesting the return of their children;
  • Publish recruitment and release statistics on a regular basis, together with the status of LTTE responses.

To the International Labor Organization (ILO):

  • As the lead implementing partner for vocational training programs for former child soldiers, create vocational training opportunities, when appropriate, that utilize former soldiers’ non-military training in the LTTE (e.g. medical training). 

To the Northeast Commission on Human Rights (NECOHR):

  • Issue a public statement condemning child recruitment and develop with UNICEF and the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka complementary strategies to prevent the recruitment of children and to secure the release of children from the LTTE.

To the Government of Norway:

  • As a facilitator of the peace process, ensure that an end to child recruitment and immediate demobilization of children in the LTTE are part of any new peace agreement.
  • Negotiate a clear understanding with the parties that “political work” conducted under the cease-fire agreement may not include any form of child recruitment.

To the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM):

  • Actively and consistently monitor and report on child recruitment, in accordance with the cease-fire agreement’s prohibition on intimidation, abduction, extortion, and harassment of the civilian population;
  • Regularly and consistently raise issues of child recruitment with the LTTE, including specific cases;
  • Establish a human rights unit, dedicated to systematically monitoring the violations of international law stipulated in the cease-fire agreement and staff it with trained human rights monitors.

To Donors (including Japan, the United States, the European Union, and Scandinavian countries):

  • Create a donor task force for close liaison with UNICEF and other local actors and to make urgent interventions with the LTTE in cases of new recruitment;
  • Provide financial and logistical support for the deployment of international human rights monitors in support of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka as envisioned in the Hakone talks;
  • Consider the appropriateness of channeling economic assistance through agencies, such as the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization, that are linked to the LTTE;
  • Use economic leverage to pressure the LTTE to put an end to all child recruitment by the LTTE and to promote the release of all children currently in the LTTE’s ranks.

To the Tamil Diaspora:

  • Express public opposition to the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict by the LTTE and other serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law in Sri Lanka. 
  • Ensure that funds provided to organizations in Sri Lanka do not directly or indirectly benefit the LTTE so long as it recruits and uses child soldiers or otherwise commits serious rights violations;

To Governments of Countries with a Significant Tamil Diaspora (including Canada, Switzerland, Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Scandinavia):

  • Clearly communicate condemnation of the LTTE’s child recruitment practices to members of the Tamil diaspora through both the Tamil and mainstream media and meetings with leaders of the Tamil diaspora.

To the United Nations Security Council:

  • In accordance with Security Council Resolution 1539 on children and armed conflict (April 22, 2004), paragraph 6, adopt targeted measures to address the LTTE’s failure to end child recruitment. Such measures could include the imposition of travel restrictions on leaders and their exclusion from any governance structures and amnesty provisions, a ban on the supply of small arms, a ban on military assistance, and restriction on the flow of financial resources;
  • Local Colombo missions of the Security Council should meet with the LTTE to insist on progress in the release of children, in accordance with Security Council resolutions on children and armed conflict.

To All United Nations Member States:

  • In accordance with Security Council resolution 1379 on children and armed conflict (November 20, 2001), paragraph 9, use all legal, political, diplomatic, financial, and material measures to ensure respect for international norms for the protection of children by the parties to the conflict. In particular, states should unequivocally condemn the LTTE’s continued recruitment and use of child soldiers and withhold any financial, political, or military support to the LTTE until it ends all child recruitment and releases all children currently in its ranks.

<<previous  |  index  |  next>>November 2004