Tigers request talks on child soldiers with UN
In a letter sent to Olara Otunnu, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC), the Tamil Tigers had requested for a dialogue on the issue of child soldiers.
The Security Council of the United Nations had recommended taking forward the implementation of its previous resolutions on child soldier recruitment. The declaration was made at the end of a day-long debate the 15-member body. The debate was initiated by an earlier report issued by the Secretary General Kofi Annan.
According to a statement issued after the discussion, the new steps would be taken for, "ending the recruitment or use of child soldiers in violation of applicable international law and other violations and abuses committed against children affected by armed conflict situations, and promoting their reintegration and rehabilitation."
Earlier, some media agencies commented that the debate would lead to concrete action against those who recruited children. However, the statement issued at the end of the debate did not make clear whether it would impose sanctions or "targeted measures" against those who recruited children, a key request made earlier in the day by Olara Otunnu, the Secretary-General's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC).
Exclusion from any governance structures
Suggested targeted measures included the imposition of travel restrictions on leaders and their exclusion from any governance structures and amnesty provisions, the imposition of arms embargoes, a ban on military assistance and restriction on the flow of financial resources to the parties concerned.
According to the UN statement, The LTTE of Sri Lanka, named in this year's report, notified Olara Otunnu in a letter, of "their readiness to enter into dialogue, using the framework of the monitoring and reporting mechanism," he said.
Olara Otunnu called on the LTTE leadership to “embark immediately on tangible actions, leading to a time-bound action plan to end, once and for all, the practices of recruitment, abductions and use of children as soldiers.”
Mr. Otunnu concluded his remarks by reciting from a Bob Marley song, "Hear the children cryin'."
More than 30 speakers addressed the Council, including its 15 members.