Rights group accuses Sri Lanka over child soldiers

Nov 28, 2006 (AFP) – Sri Lanka must stop helping a pro-government Tamil rebel faction to recruit child soldiers, a human rights group warned Tuesday. The New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) renewed charges that government security forces were assisting the “Karuna” breakaway group to recruit boys and girls as combatants.

HRW said its investigations supported the findings of senior UN official Allan Rock that troops were involved in rounding up children for the Karuna group.

“A Human Rights Watch report to be published next month finds that the Sri Lankan military and police are complicit and, at times, directly cooperating with the ‘Karuna’ group,” the rights group said in a statement.

Led by renegade Tiger leader, V. Muralitharan, better known as colonel Karuna, the rebel splinter group has abducted hundreds of boys and young men in eastern Sri Lanka this year, HRW said.

“We have clear and compelling evidence that government forces are helping Karuna forces abduct boys and young men,” said Jo Becker, HRW children’s rights advocate.

“The government should stop the abductions and help kidnapped children go home.”

Colombo ha