UNICEF condemns abduction and recruitment of Sri Lankan children by the Karuna group
22 June 2006: UNICEF in Sri Lanka is calling for immediate action to halt the abduction and forced recruitment of children by the Karuna group. Over the past week, the agency has verified reports of thirty cases in Batticaloa district. Reports of abduction and forced recruitment of boys under the age of 18 from the area have increased since March of this year.
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 further information, please contact:
Junko Mitani, Communication Officer, UNICEF Sri Lanka, tel: 94-11-2555276 ext 250 Mobile: 94-(0)-777 416 742