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UNICEF says children in tsunami relief camps being recruited as child soldiers

[JURIST] UNICEF [official website] spokesmen said Thursday that they have evidence that Tamil Tiger rebels [factional website] in northern and eastern Sri Lanka have recruited children in tsunami relief camps as child soldiers to help their ongoing struggle for autonomy against the Sri Lankan government. More than 30,000 Sri Lankans were killed in the tsunami on December 26, leaving thousands of children homeless. Before the tsunami, UNICEF believed the Tamils to have had about 1300 children in their ranks. The Tigers have denied that they are recruiting children from the tsuanmi relief camps. BBC News has more. As of April last year, some 115 countries have signed the 2000 Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict [official text], establishing 18 as the minimum age for direct participation in hostilities, for compulsory recruitment, and for any recruitment or use in hostilities by non-governmental armed groups. Additional information is available from the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers [advocacy website].

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