LTTE official criticizes child rights double standards

[TamilNet, Sunday, 29 February 2004, 15:51 GMT]
"More than twenty five thousand Tamil children, from a three month old infant to eighteen years old youth, were killed in massacres and murders during the two decades of war against our people. No one raised their voice against it then. But today the Sri Lankan state and representatives of some foreign organizations are accusing us of violating children’s rights. You should understand the politics behind this crass hypocrisy," said Mr. S. Elilan, the head of the LTTE’s political division in Vavuniya addressing a function Sunday to gift equipment to the school in Othiyamalai in Mullaithivu.

Elilan, Head of LTTE Political Wing in Vavuniya
Sri Lanka army massacred 32 people and razed the village to the ground on 2 December 1984.

"You can see that we are the ones who care most for our children – for their education, health, and nutrition. The Sri Lankan state destroyed their schools, indiscriminately arrested, killed and raped their parents. Hundreds of children were tortured and jailed under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. Sri Lankan armed forces deliberately bombed schools, killing and maiming hundreds of our children. No one uttered a word against these atrocities then. Today our children are able to live in an environment free of discrimination, oppression, fear and state terror only because thousands of Tigers laid down their lives," Mr. Elilan said.

"An American academic who met me recently said while his country appreciates the LTTE in many ways, America’s only problem with us is that we are spreading gun culture among our children. I told him no child in our society can buy or have free access to guns as in the US. Despite the trauma of the long war, we have endeavored to make life normal for children. I pointed out to him how an American schoolboy shot his teacher and fellow students with a gun he had bought in a shop. I explained to him how our Police and judicial system ensure a social environment free of violence against women and children, brutality, crime, discrimination and intimidation," the LTTE official said.

Mr. S. Thangan, the deputy head of the LTTE’s political division, said that the Tigers are supporting the Tamil National Alliance to reiterate the Tamil people’s political unity and to express their aspirations.

He charged that the Sri Lankan is using some groups in the forthcoming elections to divide Tamil society to weaken it politically. "We should show these lackeys and the Sri Lankan state that we are united and strong," Mr. Thangan said. On 2 December 1984 SLA troops surrounded the village and asked all able-bodied men to gather in the local library. They were all shot and hacked to death as SLA soldiers pillaged Othiyamalai, raping women and looting homes. The village school, library, and community center were razed to the ground.

Troops set fire to the whole village later in the day. Survivors, along with the wounded, trekked for days through the jungle to find safer areas. They were provided food and shelter with the assistance of local organizations and students of the Jaffna University.

SLA pillaged and torched twenty-four and settlements in the southern part of the Mullaithivu district in 1984. Othiyamalai was made part of the network of Sri Lanka army camps and armed Sinhala settlements of Weli Oya after the 1984 December massacre.

Armed forces of the LTTE captured the area in November 1999 during two weeks of operations during which the Sri Lanka army abandoned vast areas in the Vanni and retreated in confusion.

The Liberation Tigers de-mined Othiyamalai and its environs, including the fertile rice fields that had lain fallow for more than 18 years and helped families resettle here.

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