Author Topic: Cablegate:Sri Lanka:Tmvp Releases15 Child Soldiers;Promises To Free 25More(2009)  (Read 1037 times)

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Sri Lanka: Tmvp Releases 15 Child Soldiers; Promises To Free 25 More
OriginEmbassy Colombo (Sri Lanka)
Cable timeMon, 26 Jan 2009 12:29 UTC
ClassificationUNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Sourcehttp://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/01/09COLOMBO87.html

UNCLAS COLOMBO 000087
 
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
 
DEPARTMENT FOR SCA/INS
 
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KOCI PHUM MARR CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA: TMVP RELEASES 15 CHILD SOLDIERS; PROMISES TO FREE 25 MORE
 
REF: A. COLOMBO 053
     ¶B. 08 COLOMBO 1108
     ¶C. 08 COLOMBO 1102
     ¶D. 08 COLOMBO 975
     ¶E. 08 COLOMBO 654
     ¶F. 08 COLOMBO 462
 
PARAMILITARY RELEASES 15 CHILD SOLDIERS
----------------------------------------
 
¶1. (U) On January 23 the TMVP released 15 child soldiers to
UNICEF and pledged to release an additional 25 within the
coming weeks.  The TMVP's action represents the first
significant large-scale release since April 2008 and the
first positive step towards resolving the child soldier
problem since TMVP head Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan ("Colonel
Karuna Amman") returned from his detention in the UK on July
3, 2008 (ref E).  On January 12 DCM, (and separately, UNICEF
Sri Lanka head Philippe Duammelle and GSL Justice Secretary
Suhada Gamalath) met Karuna and pressed him to deliver
results on child soldiers (ref A). As of January 26 UNICEF
was still determining how many of the 15 released children
represented cases already documented in UNICEF files.  (Note:
in general UNICEF estimates that its records probably capture
about one-third of the total child soldier cases.)  At the
end of December 2008 UNICEF reported 53 children still under
18 serving in the TMVP.
 
WHAT WOULD CONSTITUTE "EFFECTIVE MEASURES"?
-------------------------------------------
 
¶2. (SBU) If the TMVP follows through on its commitment and
frees 25 additional children, these two significant releases
together would represent substantial progress toward
eliminating the problem of child soldiering within the TMVP.
However, before Post could recommend to the Secretary a
certification to Congress that the GSL was taking "effective
measures" to end the problem, we would:
 
-- Await UNICEF's determination of how many of those 40
children were on already their lists and therefore how many
outstanding cases remained.  Post does not believe that
UNICEF would have to clear its books and reduce that number
to zero (the fate of some of the children may never be
known).  However, we would expect to see a substantial
reduction in the total number of known cases remaining.
 
-- Verify that at least two months have passed without any
new or re-recruitment by the TMVP.  Otherwise, we could have
little confidence that the resolution of the problem was on a
sustainable basis. While the overall number on UNICEF's roles
has decreased over the course of 2008, in each month new and
re-recruitment, albeit in very small numbers, has occurred in
the Eastern Province.
 
-- Confirm with UNICEF that it is receiving access to TMVP
camps and offices for unannounced inspections. The Action
Plan signed by the GSL, TMVP and UNICEF commits the TMVP to
open up their camps to UNICEF for spot inspections.  Such
inspections should reveal no new cases to UNICEF.
 
-- Witness the beginning of a broad public awareness campaign
by the GSL.  The public awareness campaign UNICEF and the GSL
hope to launch on or about February 23 would represent a
valuable effort to communicate the government's zero
tolerance policy to the general public.  It would be a
further indication of the GSL's firm commitment to end the
use of child soldiers in the country.
Blake

Source/Full cable: http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/01/09COLOMBO87.html