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Child soldiers: U.N. report puts LTTE, Karuna faction in dock

B. Muralidhar Reddy

COLOMBO: A latest United Nations report said children in the north and east of Sri Lanka continue to be abducted for conscription by both the LTTE and the Karuna faction.

Tentative findings by Allan Rock, the UN Special Representative who toured parts of eastern and northern Sri Lanka a few weeks ago, that a section of the Sri Lanka Army aided and abetted the Karuna group in recruiting child soldiers upset the Government.

The Government accused Mr. Rock of making unsubstantiated charges and challenged him to produce evidence to back his claims. The latest UN report, issued on Tuesday, confirmed Mr. Rock's claims. Referring to the report, Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy said it showed the UN's ongoing attempt to end the global scourge of recruiting children as soldiers.

The 20-page report covered the period from November 1, 2005 to October 31, 2006, and noted that the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) had received reports of the LTTE recruiting hundreds of children while the Sri Lanka Army did so for the Karuna faction.

The office of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict said the report would be examined by the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict during its meeting next month.

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