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UNICEF: Children are victims of the conflict in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO/NEW YORK/ GENEVA, 15 August 2006 – The bombing on Monday of a Vallepuram compound in Mullaitivu district that reportedly killed dozens of girls and wounded many more is a shocking result of the rising violence in Sri Lanka, UNICEF, said today. 

“These children are innocent victims of violence,” said Ann M. Veneman, UNICEF Executive Director.   “We call on all parties to respect international humanitarian law and ensure children and the places where they live, study and play are protected from harm.”

According to press reports, the compound in Vallipunam in the northern part of the country was bombed, reportedly killing as many as 40 adolescent girls. Some 100 children were wounded, many critically.  Girls from various schools in the districts of Mullaituvu and Kilinochchi were staying overnight at the compound, attending a two-day course in first-aid.

UNICEF staff from a nearby office immediately visited the compound to assess the situation and provide counseling services to those in need.

This latest incident comes amidst escalating hostilities in Sri Lanka in recent weeks, where tens of thousands of children were displaced from their homes.  Hundreds of children have been injured, lost family members, and live in constant fear of the violence and continuous shelling of their communities.

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About UNICEF

For 60 years UNICEF has been the world’s leader for children, working on the ground in 156 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:

Kathryn Donovan, UNICEF Media New York: Tel + 212 326-7452, kdonovan@unicef.org

Wivina Belmonte, UNICEF Media Geneva: Tel + 41 22 909 5712, wbelmonte@unicef.org

Junko Mitani, UNICEF Media Colombo: Tel +  94 -777416742, 94-11-2555270 ext 250, jmitani@unicef.org


 

 

 

Audio

15 August 2006:
UNICEF Representative in Sri Lanka JoAnna Van Gerpen describes the bombing incident in which dozens of schoolgirls were killed.
AUDIO listen

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