UN urged to probe child abuse in Sri Lanka

May 20th, 2009 - 9:20 pm ICT by IANS  

London, May 20 (IANS) Children under 18 years are being abducted from refugee camps and from Vavuniya town in northern Sri Lanka by paramilitary groups who enjoy the tacit support of the Sri Lankan government, the Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers said Wednesday.
The Coalition welcomed the initiative by the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) on children and armed conflict to send a special envoy to Sri Lanka to investigate these and other abuses against children.

The Sri Lankan government is reported to have agreed in principle to such a visit.

“The last phase of fighting in Sri Lanka has had a catastrophic impact on children. The special envoy’s visit needs to take place without delay,” said Victoria Forbes Adam, director of the Coalition.

The Coalition has received verified reports of abductions of under-18s from inside and outside internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in Vavuniya as well as about the recruitment and re-recruitment of children by paramilitary groups in the districts of Batticaloa and Trincomalee.

Some children appear to have been abducted for alleged links with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), while others are kidnapped for ransom, it said.

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