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Radhika welcomes situation of former child soldiers
Wednesday, September 22, 2010 - 04.00 GMT

Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy, Under-Secretary General and Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children & 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 yesterday (21).
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, skills 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 indicatives taken by the Government in this regard. He also said the UN and other international organizations could contribute 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.
President Rajapaksa welcomed the participation of UNICEF and other UN organizations concerned with children in the rehabilitation and retraining work being done by the Government, which position was also welcomed by Dr. Coomaraswamy.
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, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka in the UN were associated with President Rajapaksa in the discussions.



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