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17-year-old SLA soldier killed in Vanni battlefront

[TamilNet, Sunday, 28 December 2008 19:33 No Comment]

28_12_08_vanni_x_17_74513_445 One of the Identity Cards recovered with a dead body of a young Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldier revealed that the SLA trooper killed in the offensive forefront in Mullaiththeevu district on Saturday was a 17-year-old boy. LTTE officials displayed photos for reporters in Vanni on Sunday. According to the Article 1 of the the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, signed and ratified by the Sri Lankan government, the government (State Party) should ensure that members of their armed forces who have not attained the age of 18 years do not take a direct part in hostilities.

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The LTTE has earlier said that the dead bodies of SLA soldiers recovered in the battlefront in Vanni displayed victimisation of young generation Sinhalese into the war by the Sri Lankan state.

The latest Child Soldiers Global Report of 2008 has listed Sri Lankan government among 14 countries that recruited, and in some cases used in hostilities, children in auxiliary forces, civilian defence groups or in illegal militias and armed groups acting as proxies for official armed forces.

Sri Lanka signed the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict on 21 August 2000 and ratified it on 08 September 2000. The Optional Protocol was adopted on 25 May 2000 at the fifty-fourth session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.
Earlier, the Tamil Tigers had been accused of under-age recruitment. During the peace process following the Ceasefire Agreement of February 2002, the UNICEF, the LTTE and the GoSL were committed to comply with an Action Plan for Children Affected by Conflict.

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were eliminating the recruitment and use of child soldiers, according to a report by US State Department in March 2008 in its annual human rights report. "The LTTE had not complied with its promise to end the practice by end of 2007, but its policy of recruiting one person from each family targeted those 18 years or older," the report said.

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