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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.”

The compound 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 nearby district of Mullaitivu 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 to provide fuel and supplies for the hospital as well as counselling support for the injured students and the bereaved families.

 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.

For further information, please contact:

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

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

Junko Mitani, UNICEF Media Colombo, 94777416742, 94112555270 ext 250, jmitani@unicef.org

 

 

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