Sri Lanka rebels pledge not to recruit child soldiers, UNICEF reports
A rebel group in Sri Lanka has assured the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) that it will not recruit anyone under the age of 18 years into their armed forces, the UN agency said today.
The agreement between UNICEF and the Liberation Tamily Tigers Eelam (LTTE) complies with the provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, which prevents the recruitment of child soldiers.
Under this common understanding, reached between Mr. Pulithevan of the LTTE’s political wing and senior officials of UNICEF, the UN agency would maintain a central information system of all confirmed cases of underage recruitment for a follow-up during regular discussions between the two entities.
While actively advocating for the prevention of under age recruitment by the LTTE, UNICEF has also been taking up the cases of children who have been already drafted, resulting in the successful disengagement of over 60 young Sri Lankans from the rebel group.