THE BEST WAY TO ATTACK THE LTTE
A Recipe for Expatriates
By Shyamon Jayasinghe,
You know the best way to attack the LTTE? Expatriate Sri Lankan patriots
should make of note of it. The best way is to campaign against LTTEs
practice of recruiting and training of child soldiers. Pressurise your
host-country governments in every way you can, so that they in turn
will be hard on the LTTE. Write to your media and keep writing and petitioning.
Why would this strategy be effective? In the first place, child soldiers
are vital for the LTTE because the adult drop- out rates for its army
has become serious. This happens with many years of fruitless war. In
order to sustain a sizeable force, the army recruits kids. Secondly,
brainwashed kids provide the most motivated force one can think of.
When minds are programmed from such a young age the motivation for effort
is difficult to dissipate. The LTTE accordingly brainwashes kids to
hate the Sinhalese and to go for them wherever they find them as if
hunting for animals.
Thirdly, on the side of Western countries, the latter view the practice
of training kids for armed conflict as something distinctly hideous
and abhorrent. Their human rights industry can be made to wake up by
siren calls from us.
Fourthly, in view of the publication of the report of the United Nations
Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), Mr. Olara
Otunnu, an anti-child soldier campaign is most timely. The CAAC initiative
is a landmark. Thus far, the United Nations Secretary General, the UN
special organs like UNICEF etc have been complacent with merely issuing
condemnations and doing nothing after that. The latter have been satisfied
by setting international norms surprisingly not realising
that terrorist groups dont respect norms. As expected, the LTTE
has not taken such overtures with even the level of seriousness of treating
a Vanni mosquito. Sometimes, they have cheated the UN by first releasing
a few child soldiers and subsequently re-recruiting them.
The CAAC, on the other hand, goes further toward a level of implementation
by proposing a regular monitoring and reporting procedure and by recommending
to the UN Security Council proposals to ensure LTTE adherence to a time-bound
program to end this heinous practice. The proposals include the imposition
of travel restrictions on leaders of the LTTE, their exclusion from
any governance structures, and restrictions on the flow of financial
resources. The CAAC recommendations also add that where governments,
weakened by years of conflict, are unable to do so, the U.N. Security
Council, the General Assembly, the International Criminal Court, the
Commission on Human Rights and regional organisations should supplement
the efforts of national mechanisms. In other words, direct UN
intervention is mooted
Mr. Olara Otunnu must be congratulated for his initiative. He has obviously
lost patience with the Tigers after the latter had reneged on their
promises both to him in 1998 and to the United Nations Childrens
Fund in 2003.