While calling on all armed groups in Sri Lanka to stop using child soldiers and to send all such victims of the conflict home, UNICEF is also appealing to the Government of Sri Lanka to investigate all abductions and ensure that children in affected areas are given the full protection of the law.
Recruitment of children often takes place in circumstances designed to add to a climate of fear in communities. This is already being seen in falling attendance at schools in the area. These gross violations of their rights will also expose children to brutality and extreme violence with lifelong consequences.
UNICEF is working with communities and parents to verify exact details of cases that are reported to the agency.
Note to editors:
Reports from the field suggest that in the past week there have been abductions and forced recruitment of children in the areas of Santhiveli, Kiran, Mankerni, Valachchenai and Iruthayapuram (Manmunai North).
For 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 155 countries and territories to help children survive and thrive, from early childhood through adolescence. The world’s largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children from violence, exploitation, and AIDS. UNICEF is funded entirely by the voluntary contributions of individuals, businesses, foundations and governments.
For further information, please contact:
Junko Mitani, Communication Officer, UNICEF Sri Lanka,
tel: 94-11-2555276 ext 250 Mobile: 94-(0)-777 416 742
Frances Mead, Communication Officer, UNICEF Sri Lanka,
tel: 94-11-2555270 ext 282 Mobile: 94-(0)-773 165 379