Tuesday, February 17, 2009

More children victims of the conflict, says UNICEF

COLOMBO, 17 February 2009 – With a growing number of children being recruited by the LTTE and scores of children being killed or injured in fighting, UNICEF today expressed its gravest concerns for children, as Sri Lanka’s conflict enters a new phase.

“We have clear indications that the LTTE has intensified forcible recruitment of civilians and that children as young as 14 years old are now being targeted,” said Mr Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF’s Representative in Sri Lanka. “These children are facing immediate danger and their lives are at great risk. Their recruitment is intolerable.”

From 2003 to the end of 2008, UNICEF has recorded more than 6000 cases of children recruited by the LTTE. “Child soldiers suffer physical abuse, traumatic events and face death. Instead of hope, fear defines their childhood,” said Duamelle.

UNICEF also said it was extremely alarmed at the high number of children being injured in the fighting in the northern area of Sri Lanka known as the Vanni. “Scores of injured children have been evacuated in the past week,” said UNICEF’s Duamelle. “Children are victims of this conflict by being killed, injured, recruited, displaced, separated and denied their every day needs due to the fighting.”

Full story on UNICEF

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