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Last updated: 28 November, 2006 - Published 15:28 GMT
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"Stop aiding child recruitment" says Human Rights Watch
The international group Human Rights Watch has urged the Sri Lankan government to stop its forces helping the breakaway group Karuna faction recruit child soldiers.

“The Sri Lankan security forces must immediately stop assisting abductions of boys and young men by the Karuna group and help those abducted return safely to their families”,Human Rights Watch said.

In their news release Jo Becker, children’s rights advocate at Human Rights Watch said “We have clear and compelling evidence that government forces are helping Karuna forces abduct boys and young men”.

Earlier this month, the United Nations advisor on children and armed conflicts Alan Rock made a simliar allegation of government’s involvement in Child recruitment.

 We have clear and compelling evidence that government forces are helping Karuna forces abduct boys and young men
Jo Becker, Child Rights Advocate at Human Rights Watch

Sri Lanka monitoring mission supported the allegations made by Alan Rock and stressed that SLMM has sufficient evidence to prove the government forces are involved in child recruitment.

The government denied these allegations made by the United Nations special representative.

The Chairman of the Child Protection Authority Padmini Wettawa told Sandeshaya that she could not belive that the government is recruiting child soldiers. "We are investigating on the issue but there are no evidence to suggest the Government is assisting Karuna Group", she said.

The full report of the Human Rights Watch is due to publish next month and the news release stated that Sri Lankan military and police are complicit and, at times, directly co-operating with the Karuna group.

It also claims that Karuna’s group has abducted hundreds of boys and young men in eastern Sri Lanka this year.  

However, the Child Protection Authority chairman Wettawa has rejected these allegations.

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