Abduction and Conscription of Child Soldiers by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)
Posted on March 1st, 2021

Mahinda Gunasekera Toronto, Canada

84 Tambrook Drive
Agincourt, ON Canada
M1W 3L9

Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada

Right Honourable Prime Minister,

Canada’s efforts to prevent the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict is greatly appreciated. Your statement on the 12th of February 2021 reaffirming Canada’s commitment to draw attention to this inhumane practice with the longstanding intent of ending such conscription along with nearly 100 UN Member States endorsing the Vancouver Principles on ‘Peacekeeping and the Prevention of  the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers’ is most commendable.

The Late, Honourable Lakshman Kadirgamar, Sri Lanka’s former distinguished Minister of Foreign Affairs too devoted a great deal of time in campaigning for the same laudable objectives and also canvassing international support towards the aims envisioned in the Vancouver Principles and peace in Sri Lanka. He was unfortunately gunned down on August 12, 2005, by a sniper belonging to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), which group was designated as an international terrorist movement by the UNSC in September 2001, as he was emerging from the swimming pool at his residence in Colombo.

The LTTE was one such organization that abducted and conscripted children several of whom were as young as ten years over a long period, that came to the attention of UNICEF that recorded a total in excess of 7634 such child soldiers. After a short period of training they were unleashed on remote villages in the north and east of Sri Lanka settled by Sinhalese farming communities who were set upon in the middle of the night to be hacked and shot to death while they slept to make them combat ready. The last such village that was similarly attacked was Gonagala in the Ampara district in the year 2000 where 62 persons were put to death, with the lucky ones escaping to the jungle to be rescued later by Sri Lanka’s security forces. Despite the LTTE signing a pledge with UNICEF’s Special Rapporteur, Olara Otunnu in 1998, and thereafter making repeated promises to the UN officials, they continued to conscript under age children to their fighting forces.  They would abduct them on their way to school or homeward bound children after school hours, and by instilling fear and making threats to the parents. Subsequently, they forced each family to release a child for their separatist war effort.

These child soldiers were given combat training and were equipped with an AK47 automatic weapon and a cyanide capsule strung around their neck to be bitten into in the event of their being captured. They were used as storm troopers in the LTTE’s unceasing waves military strategy adopted in battles against the Sri Lanka Army, with many of them becoming casualties in combat.  Their bodies were laid to rest in the special cemeteries set up to bury the LTTE’s martyrs, with no mention of their dates of birth and only the date of death being recorded on the gravestones in order to hide the fact that they had conscripted under age children below 15 years, which was a war crime. Some of the children so conscripted were brainwashed to become suicide bombers, with the LTTE holding the world record
having exploded around 377 human bombs.

Those responsible for the disruption of schooling and family living and care for Tamil children in Sri Lanka are present in Canada as well that raised funds for the terrorist war engaged in by the LTTE   through extortion of Tamil expats and Tamil owned businesses, drug and human smuggling, passport fraud, and numerous other illicit activities.  Following the military defeat of the LTTE in May 2009 and ending of the three decade long separatist terrorist war in Sri Lanka, these LTTE activists in Canada have donned the cloak of human rights activists to spread their fabricated stories, doctored videos and unsubstantiated wild allegations of IHL violations and war crimes supposed to have been committed by the Sri Lankan security forces during the last phase of the armed conflict during the period January 1 to May 18, 2009. It is a shame that these allegations have been swallowed by the powerful countries in the west that continue to harass Sri Lanka at the UNHCR and other fora based on these unproven alleged violations citing Ban ki-Moon’s one sided three member panel report headed by Marzuki Darussman which has been locked away for 20 years till the year 2031.

Unlike these bogus allegations emanating from born again pro-LTTE Human Rights activists, Sri Lanka rescued about 300,000 Tamil civilians held by the LTTE as a human shield in the final battleground at Mullivaikkal on the northeast coast, sheltered them in welfare camps in Vavuniya where they were fed, provided with education, vocational training, psychiatric help,etc. till the land area of almost 1,000 sq. km was cleared of land mines, houses and infrastructure restored, and made safe for resettlement in their former villages.  Among those surrendering were nearly 12,600 former LTTE fighters including the remaining 594 child soldiers who were rehabilitated with new livelihood skills and released to their families and society where they could be gainfully employed under the restorative justice principles adopted in their case.

*A new 12 minute video documentary has been produced under the title ‘Truth Behind Dare’ using video clips provided by the rehabilitated ex-LTTE fighters which shows the military training given to the children who were abducted and conscripted as soldiers for armed warfare, most of whom perished in battle.* Some scenes show parents handing over their children to the LTTE terror organization as part of their propaganda to claim willingness of the civilian population to give up their children for the separatist cause, which obviously fails as the parents faces shows the immense pain they suffer at the time as the alternative is violence being directed at them and their children still risking being abducted on their way to or from school.  Other scenes shows Adele Balasingham, the Australian nurse
who was married to the LTTE’s ideologist in military attire participating in a Passing Out Parade of women cadres most likely trained by her who were being garlanded with the signature ‘Cyanide Necklace’ for committing suicide in the event of capture.  Adele Balasingham today resides freely in the UK probably supported with the tainted funds raised by the LTTE with no questions asked about her being part of a designated international terrorist movement. *The LINK to this revealing video is given here:

<https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fpz8Cl_-YpM&feature=youtu.be> . Please watch the video to learn the facts behind the rigged version that is propagated by the pro-LTTE organizations which has been sold to the western powers who seek to punish Sri Lanka for geopolitical reasons best known to them.

Mahinda Gunasekera
Toronto, Canada


*Statement made by  the Right Honourable Prime Minister of Canada on the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers*

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
February 12, 2021
Ottawa, Ontario

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the International Day Against the Use of Child Soldiers, also known as Red Hand Day:

Children have the right to grow up in a safe environment, to access basic care, to pursue an education, and – above all – to be children. Taking them away from their families and putting them on the front lines of conflict robs them of these fundamental rights.

Whether they are trained to fight, armed with deadly weapons, used as spies, sexually exploited, or forced into marriage, child soldiers face unimaginable violence and abuse, and suffer long-lasting, scarring effects. These horrible practices must stop.

That is why, every year on this day, we reaffirm our long-standing commitment to help end the recruitment and use of children in armed conflicts. Since 2017, Canada has mobilized close to 100 countries to endorse the Vancouver Principles on Peacekeeping and the Prevention of the Recruitment and Use of Child Soldiers <https://www.international.gc.ca/world-monde/issues_development-enjeux_developpement/human_rights-droits_homme/principles-vancouver-principes.aspx?lang=eng>. These commitments, which were developed in partnership with the Dallaire Institute for Children, Peace and Security, the United Nations, UN Member States, and other organizations, help protect children through education, training, and prevention.

No child should bear the brunt of conflict and be forced to participate in acts of violence. Canada will continue to be an unwavering advocate against the use of child soldiers and to bring countries together to endorse and implement the Vancouver Principles. Children have the right to be children, away from the atrocities of war.”

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