Sri Lanka is worried over the possibility of the UN Security Council (UNSC) accepting a report by Allan Rock, Special Advisor on Children and Armed Conflict in Sri Lanka, in which he had alleged that a section of the armed forces was helping a pro-government Tamil militant group led by Karuna recruit children for its combat units.
The UNSC is to discuss this issue on January 15.
Even as top government leaders, led by Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera, discussed strategies to meet this threat, the state-run Sunday Observer saw a UN plot to use the Rock report to militarily intervene in Sri Lanka on the grounds that the government there was unable to guarantee human rights, including the safety of children.
"This could perhaps be the final episode of a UN drama in which Allan Rock and Radhika Coomaraswamy (UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict) are playing major roles to bring UN intervention in the North East conflict in Sri Lanka," said Y King in his column 'Commonsense'.
"The purpose of the drama obviously is to tell the world that the Sri Lankan government, as an elected government, is unable to maintain the discipline of its forces, whereas some of the elements support the Karuna group to abduct children for weapon training.
Therefore, it is high time the UN intervened in the conflict and sent its troops to avoid such untoward incidents," the columnist said.
Ambassador Rock's report, based on "credible evidence" gathered during a two-day visit to the war-affected East, is challenged by the Sri Lankan government on the grounds that it is based on inadequate and "biased" information gathered over a very short period.
According to media reports, the Sri Lankan government is working on two options. One is to insist that the UNSC consider its version and the other is to set up a Presidential Commission to examine Rock's charges. But indications are that the former option would be taken.
The international community is going to have a bearing on Sri Lanka in other ways too. The co-chairs of the 2003 Tokyo donors' conference (US, EU, Norway and Japan) are to meet this month to take stock of the Sri Lankan situation.
Key elements of the situation
The key elements of the Sri Lankan situation are as follows:
• Sri Lankan Army's decision to go to war to take over the North-East from the LTTE, Ceasefire Agreement or no Ceasefire Agreement.
• LTTE's determination to take on the Sri Lankan state and people in a no-holds barred way.
• Complete sidelining of the Norwegian peace brokers.
• Virtual withdrawal of the Scandinavian truce monitors from the war-affected North-East.
• Expected toughening of the EU's stand under the presidency of Germany which only recently stopped aiding tsunami relief in Sri Lanka complaining of a lack of security.
• India's displeasure over the separation of the Northern and Eastern Provinces and the continuing displacement of Tamil civilians with a possible adverse impact on politically sensitive Tamil Nadu.