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News Image 32314 - LTTE uses children for fund raising propaganda- Geneva
Sunday, 14 September 2008 - 12:05 AM SL Time - Some news pictures are worth a million words

Lankan News Photo From : LTTE uses children for fund raising propaganda- Geneva
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LTTE uses children for fund raising propaganda- Geneva

The vast majority of Tamil diaspora members and Swiss nationals who attended a cultural festival in Thurgau in Switzerland were shocked to see schoolchildren as young as eight years enacting a drama dressed as child combatants using replicas of most lethal weapons.

The event, organised by the Tamilischer Kulter Verein Thurgau, an organisation purportedly for promotion of Tamil culture and art was held in Thoreau for fund-raising for `displaced persons in the North`.

However, the entire event turned out to be a down and out fundraiser of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Senior LTTE activists controlling the chain of Tamil schools under Thamilchollai administration in Europe have given explicit orders to all the teachers that the policy of `Eelam (Tamil separate state) first` should be incorporated into the school syllabus.

This event is believed to have been organised under the order of Thamilchollai administration.

What shocked the Tamil diaspora members, especially the women and the middle-aged and the elderly was that young school children were dressed in combat uniforms carrying replicas of most dangerous weapons from rocket launchers, missiles and machine guns with capacity to kill hundreds within seconds.

While a handful of young parents watched the dances of their children with pride in their hearts, the vast majority of Tamils in the audience were shocked and dismayed about this display and openly expressed apprehensions about the longterm psychological impact on young minds when such violent behaviour is glorified.

`Nobody should have a right to play games with such gullible children,` said a Swiss national who went to see the event with his Tamil friends. `This is a blatant violation of child rights and all international conventions against recruitment of child soldiers.

Swiss authorities should take action against the organisers of the event as the use of children for glorification of violence and subjecting children to such practices could lead them to grow up as social misfits who believe in violence,` he pointed out.

A leading member of the Swiss Tamil diaspora expressed dismay at the `sick minds of the people who stoop to such levels to raise funds for a militant movement`.

He added that only diehard militants and ignorant parents would approve such practices of brain-washing young gullible young minds.

He pointed out that the Child Soldiers Global Report 2008* *details how a near global consensus that children should not be used as soldiers and strenuous international efforts have failed to protect tens of thousands of children from war.

`It is very dangerous to play with child`s mind. Early years of child`s life is very important as that will have a lasting impact on his adult life,` Dr Carlton Moulin, a psychologist said. What the children see in tender years will touch the rest of their lives for good or for ill. Some children may live their lives in situations of peace and security.

For countless others war continues to be all too real. Over this aspect of the adult world they have little say and no control, he pointed out. He added that these children of Tamil diaspora will be influenced by the violent acts they are asked to perform although they have no experience at all about the theatre of war.

`They live in peaceful and prosperous Switzerland and as they are citizens of this country, the harm will be to the Swiss society,` he lamented.

The last Global Report was published by the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers (Coalition) in November 2004. Since then the movement to end the use of child soldiers has seen continued progress towards a universal consensus against their use in hostilities, witnessed by the fact that over three-quarters of states have now signed, ratified or acceded to the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict.

A small number of militant groups like the LTTE persist not only in recruiting children but also in exposing them to the physical and psychological dangers of combat. Despite repeated denials by the LTTE spokesperson, there is evidence that the LTTE continues to recruit large numbers of children into its armed forces - often forcibly through intimidation, coercion and violence - and to use them in a range of combat and non-combat roles.

Sri Lankan soldiers found several bodies of young children in LTTE camouflage uniforms after a fierce battle in the north two months ago and the bodies were returned through the representatives of the ICRC. At LTTE training centres in Kilinochchi, there are unconfirmed reports that untrained children as young as 15 were given weapons and sent to the battlefront.

Under the intensive campaign for long-term recruitment drive, use of weapons and killing instincts are often inculcated in the educational and recreational settings where children`s physical and intellectual formation takes place.

In the schools in the uncleared areas, it is compulsory for all schools to include drills and other military training for young secondary-school students. For senior students from age 14 onwards, the LTTE has introduced military training.

The Optional Protocol permits the admission of under-18s into schools operated by or under the control of the military, but requires them to operate in accordance with Articles 28 and 29 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

However, in some military schools run by the LTTE proxy institutions, children wear military uniforms, live in military-style barracks and are subject to military discipline. Some offer a standard school curriculum, while others provide a narrow education involving hard physical drill and weapons handling.

Sri Lanka is aware of the dangers faced by the LTTE child combatants and the Defence Secretary has given strict instructions to protect the LTTE child combatants who surrender and hand them over to the nearest civil authorities for rehabilitation and care.

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LK Information  13 Sep 2008 17:08:13 GMT  Report for Abuse  
The parents of these kids have no brains!
Wonder if the kids belong to them?
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LK Information  13 Sep 2008 17:09:28 GMT  Report for Abuse  
Pathetic!!!... still there are some idiots who support these terrorists!
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LK Information  13 Sep 2008 17:14:11 GMT  Report for Abuse  
This diaspora who get their children to play with these things are idiots, no common sense and they went overseas simply because of so many Banks that LTT robbed and thanks to LTT - fake passports.

Some of these children end up as criminals
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LK Information  13 Sep 2008 17:15:35 GMT  Report for Abuse  
Some of these children end up as criminals

God forbid!
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LK Information  13 Sep 2008 17:18:29 GMT  Report for Abuse  
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LK Information  13 Sep 2008 17:20:57 GMT  Report for Abuse  
It sucks !

Whats the message behind this drama ??
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LK Information  13 Sep 2008 17:24:55 GMT  Report for Abuse  
an organisation purportedly for promotion of Tamil culture and art

Promoting Tamil gun culture.

These buggers are digging their own grave.
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LK Information  13 Sep 2008 17:25:30 GMT  Report for Abuse  
I'm really shocked to see this. No matter who you support, this is inexcusable. What are the parent's of these children thinking? I've no idea why you've to have something like this to raise funds.
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LK Information  13 Sep 2008 17:37:14 GMT  Report for Abuse  
Man....WTF is this, what else you want to do with these little flowers....Bloody Idiots.
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LK Information  13 Sep 2008 17:42:20 GMT  Report for Abuse  
Oh hell! This is bad! Needs more publicity!
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