ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday February 24, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 39

Child soldiers: Lanka seeks UN sanctions against LTTE

By Thalifdeen

UNITED NATIONS -- Sri Lanka has asked the UN Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict to persuade the Security Council to impose targeted sanctions on the LTTE for its continued recruitment of child soldiers. The Working Group, which is the creation of the Security Council, has the authority to recommend sanctions on the LTTE, including travel restrictions on its leaders, a freeze on overseas funds and a ban on arms supplies.

If the SC decides on sanctions on the Working Group’s recommendations, they will be binding on all member states. Asked whether this is feasible, Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona told the Sunday Times: "We are confident that the Security Council will adopt a practical way to impose sanctions on the LTTE, including restrictions on fund-raising and money transfers."He said the 15-member Security Council, which is usually pragmatic, has always been cautious when imposing sanctions on any entity.

"It is not easy to impose sanctions on such a shadowy group as the LTTE. Despite the bans adopted by the US, Canada and the European Union, the LTTE and its front organisations still operate with impunity," said Kohona, the former chief of the UN Treaty Section.

Addressing a meeting of the Working Group last week, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Prasad Kariyawasam urged the Working Group to consider recommending to the Security Council a host of targeted measures against the LTTE, including the denial of access to foreign chanceries. But he did not call for similar sanctions against the Karuna faction, which along with the LTTE, has been singled out as recruiters of child soldiers. The accusations were in a report by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

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