Thursday, March 19, 2009

The UN shamed

The LTTE has graduated from taking UN workers hostage to forcibly recruiting their offspring as cannon fodder. It has already conscripted a 16-year-old daughter of a UN staffer. If the UN workers and their children are not safe from the LTTE, the vulnerability of others goes without saying.

Ironically, the forcible conscription of the UN worker's precious child has come at a time the LTTE activists are protesting in Geneva against the war and UNICEF is campaigning to save child soldiers. Those who have been urging Sri Lanka to resolve the conflict through a dialogue should realise that no negotiated settlement is possible with an intransigent murderous outfit that does not give two hoots for even the apex international organisation. The critics of Sri Lanka's war on terror including the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay must be asked to come forward and secure the release of the UN workers and their progeny through negotiations with Prabhakaran and his fellow criminals.

The UN has come to such a pass that not only does it lack the courage to stand up to a terrorist outfit in a small country but finds itself under tremendous pressure to rise in defence of the very terrorists who are abducting UN personnel and their families! At this rate, the day may not be far off when terror backers in the UN ranks force the world body to extend associate membership to terrorist organisations. Sympathy of some Security Council members is certainly with the LTTE terrorists, if their persistent efforts to pass resolutions against Sri Lanka vis-à-vis her successful military operations against terrorism are any indication.

All prominent UN member states, save a few, indulge in bashing Sri Lanka and condemning her failure to bring perpetrators of human rights violations to book. They cannot be faulted, given the high incidence of human rights abuses here. But, strangely, none of them have ever called upon this country to crack down on terrorists and save innocent men, women and children under their jackboot. She is under pressure to hunt down all criminals but not the savage terrorists responsible for crimes against humanity like massacres and ethnic cleansing. Why? Are these countries cherishing a delusion that terrorism and democracy can co-exist? If so, what is the use of the US-led global anti terror drive?

Meanwhile, the child recruitment at issue smacks of a well calculated move by the LTTE to help the closet Tigers in the UN to jolt the Security Council into throwing a lifeline to Prabhakaran and his partners in crime under the guise of a humanitarian operation to rescue the trapped UN staff. It behoves the government to adopt preemptive measures.

>> Full Story: Island - Editorial