UN: Sri Lanka should allow children to return home

AFP reports Retired Major General Patrick Cammaert, the UN special envoy on children and armed conflict, said children who had been conscripted by the Tamil Tiger rebels should be allowed to return to their families.

“Hundreds of children are still missing or separated from their parents. They must be reunited as soon as possible,” the Dutch UN official said during a visit to Sri Lanka.

Cammaert is in Sri Lanka on behalf of the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy.

The six-day mission, at the invitation of the Government, is aimed at following up on the recommendations of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict on Sri Lanka within the framework of Security Council Resolution 1612 from 2005.

Mr. Cammaert will ascertain firsthand the situation of the children affected by the recent conflict with a view to ensure greater child protection. Particular attention will be paid to the situation of displaced children and the reintegration of children formerly associated with armed groups into civilian life.

He will meet with Government officials, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society representatives and children, and report to the Security Council Working Group when he returns.

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