- Kohona calls for fair assessment
By Easwaran Rutnam
Sri Lanka has called on the UN Security Council and Working Group on Children in Armed Conflict to remove the country from the “naming and shaming” list of the UN Secretary General
A report titled Conflict Dynamics International, launched under the auspices of Canada and Germany, has led to Sri Lanka remaining on the “naming and shaming” list despite the end of the war two years ago.
The Sri Lankan Mission in New York, last week, expressed serious reservations about the report to the UN Security Council saying it contained a “sadly incomplete and misleading” assertion that individuals implicated in crimes against children in Sri Lanka continued to hold high Government positions.
Stressing that a breakaway faction of the LTTE known as the “TMVP” had ceased to be an armed group and joined the political process as a registered party, Dr. Palitha T.B. Kohona, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations said it was clear that the child soldiers of the defeated rebel movement had been used as cannon fodder and sent to an early grave.
Urging the Council and the Working Group to ensure that the information it collected was objective, accurate, reliable and verified by experts, he said inaccurate reporting would cast doubt on the credibility of both the reporting sources and the Secretary-General’s report itself.
He noted a recent UNICEF report which indicated that more than 60 per cent of the Tigers’ fighting force from 1982 to 2002 had consisted of boys and girls under 18 years of age.
Despite Sri Lanka’s progress in undertaking action to address the situation of children in armed conflict, it remained on the “naming and shaming” list of the Secretary-General’s annexes, Dr. Kohona told the UN Security Council last week.
He called on the Council and its Working Group to undertake a “holistic and fair” assessment of the Sri Lankan case and de-list the country..