A report by UN Secretary General Ban-ki moon, handed over to the UN Security Council on Children and Armed Conflict, notes in a section on Sri Lanka that the LTTE had forcibly cut the hair of girls trying to flee the conflict during the last stages of the war to mislead the military into thinking they were Tiger cadres.
Meanwhile the annual report which had once listed the LTTE and the TMVP led by Karuna Amman and later Pillayan as outfits involved in child recruitment, now does not have their names listed with the end of the war but yet carries the name of Karuna supporter Iniya Barrathi as a child recruiter.
“Some women and girls trying to flee the conflict areas had their hair forcibly cut by the LTTE as a deterrent to fleeing, knowing that women with short hair would be suspected by the Sri Lankan Army of being LTTE cadres and would likely be treated differently from other internally displaced persons,” the report seen by Daily Mirror online said.
The report also said that some young girls were forced by their families to marry their relatives to avoid forced recruitment by LTTE during the final stages of the war.
The report comes amidst allegations by human rights groups of serious human rights abuses by the government during the final stages of the war which ended in May last year, allegations which the government has denied.
The Annual Report gives an overview of the situation of children affected by conflict and action taken for their protection over the reporting period. In mid-June the report will be discussed in the Security Council Open Debate on Children and Armed Conflict.
“Interviews with internally displaced persons also indicated that during the months leading to the end of the conflict, there were reports of rape during fight and of sexual harassment, especially towards former female LTTE cadres, including girls,” the UN report said without identifying the who the perpetrators were.
The report meanwhile says there has been no evidence of significant recruitment by the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulighal (TMVP) in 2009. TMVP, formerly led by Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan (also known as Karuna), has been reconstituted and is now under the control of former LTTE cadre Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan (also known as Pillayan).
However it said that during a mission to Sri Lanka by a UN Special Envoy last December, a number of reports were received on recruitment of children and threats of re-recruitment by Iniya Barrathi, who was part of the TMVP breakaway faction, under Karuna’s leadership, and is referred to as “commander” in Ampara district in the Eastern province.
In the districts of Killinochchi and Mullaitivu a total of 199 cases of children killed and 146 cases of children maimed were reported from 1 January 2009 to 19 May 2009, although the actual number of casualties is likely to be higher, the UN report said. (Daily Mirror online)