A desperate Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) had forcibly cut the hair of displaced Tamil girls to prevent them from fleeing as girls with short hair could be suspected of being Tiger cadres, a new UN report has said.
The report, which according to Daily Mirror online has been compiled by secretary general Ban-Ki moon's office, said that at least 199 children were killed and 146 were maimed between January 1 2009 and May 19, 2009, adding that the actual number of casualties was likely to be higher.
"Interviews with internally displaced persons also indicated that during the months leading to the end of the conflict, there were reports of rape during the fight and of sexual harassment, especially towards former female LTTE cadres, including girls," the UN report said without identifying who the perpetrators were.
"Some women and girls trying to flee the conflict areas had their hair forcibly cut by the LTTE as a deterrent to fleeing, knowing that women with short hair would be suspected by the Sri Lankan Army of being LTTE cadres and would likely be treated differently from other internally displaced persons," the Daily Mirror online, quoting from the report, said.
It added that some young girls were forced by their families to marry their relatives to avoid forced recruitment by LTTE during the final stages of the war.
The report comes at a time when the Sri Lankan government is fending off renewed allegations of war crimes committed during the final stages of the war in 2009.
The government was quick to react to the report, saying that the UN report has come a little too late and proves that the world body is not pious as it had claimed to be.
Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, commenting on the UN report to Daily Mirror online, said that it was a well known fact that the LTTE committed war crimes during the war and not the military as alleged by various human rights groups.