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Media distorted Rock's remarks: Lankan Govt

The Govt said it had a long-standing zero-tolerance policy on the recruitment of children as soldiers, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Nov 14, 2006 18:43 IST

The Office of the Sri Lankan President charged on Tuesday that a large section of the media had "distorted" the remarks made by the UN official Allan Rock on the government's alleged complicity in child abductions.

Setting the record straight, the Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga said that the government had a "long-standing zero-tolerance policy on the recruitment of children as combatants."

But it was regrettable that certain conclusions that Ambassador Rock had made public had led to many "distorted" media reports, he said.

"During Ambassador Rock's visit to Sri Lanka the government provided him with unlimited access to all areas and facilitated meetings with a cross section of government actors, as part of a long-standing policy of openness and constructive engagement with UN Human Rights Mechanisms."

"Ambassador Rock brought to the attention of President Rajapaksa certain allegations of some elements of the security forces supporting the abduction and forced recruitment of children by the Karuna faction."

"In response to the President said that if there is credible evidence of such incidents he would have them investigated.

Ambassador Rock expressed his appreciation to the President for this response," Weeratunga said.

First Published: Nov 14, 2006 18:36 IST