Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Under-Secretary General and Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict, said she was impressed and pleased with the current situation regarding children who had been forcibly drawn into the armed conflict by the LTTE.
She made this observation during bi-lateral discussions with President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the United Nations in New York.
She expressed satisfaction at the steps being taken to rehabilitate and provide both education and training to the children who had been caught in the conflict.
She said that once the issue of four children who had so far been unaccounted for was resolved; the entire matter of child soldiers in Sri Lanka could be considered closed.
President Rajapaksa outlined to Dr. Coomaraswamy the steps being taken by the government to provide good education, skilled training and other facilities to children who had been denied their childhood by the LTTE, and said that both parents and children of the affected families were highly appreciative of the initiatives taken by the Government in this regard.
He also said the UN and other international organizations could contribute to and participate more in this work, which had been given priority by the Government.
Dr. Coomaraswamy was also informed that the situation on the ground, especially regarding former child soldiers, as well as other children who were the victims of terror, were far different from what was often reported in the western media, where the reality and true impact of government initiatives in this regard were either not reported or distorted in reportage.
External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary, External Affairs Romesh Jayasinghe, Mr. Namal Rajapaksa MP, Mr. Sri Ranga MP and Dr. Palitha Kohona, were associated.
Source: Daily Mirror – 23.09.2010