UN committee tells Sri Lanka to transfer military run schools

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A United Nations (UN) committee has urged Sri Lanka to ensure that all schools currently run by the military are transferred back under the Ministry of Education.

The recommendation was made by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in its findings on Sri Lanka released today.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child examined Sri Lanka, Guatemala, Panama, Seychelles, Spain, Solomon Islands, Palau and Marshall Islands during its latest session from 15 January to 2 February in Geneva.

The findings cover how the respective State is doing with regard to children’s rights, detailing positive developments, main areas of concern, and recommendations for action.

The Committee on the Rights of the Child is composed of 18 international independent experts, who monitor implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, ratified to date by 196 States.

They also monitor implementation of the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography (OPSC) and the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict (OPAC), ratified by 174 States and 167 States respectively.

In its recommendations for Sri Lanka, the Committee urged the State party (Sri Lanka) to implement its commitments under the Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1 in an effective and timely manner, while ensuring that children, and those who were children at the time, be given a voice in national reconciliation and transitional justice processes and be supported as victims, witnesses or claimants.

In particular, the Committee urged the State party to strengthen its efforts to operationalize a fully independent Office of Missing Persons with a special attention to addressing cases of individuals who were children at the time of conflict and are still missing and ensure that all persons responsible for recruitment and use of children in the course of the armed conflict are brought to justice.

The Committee also recalled its previous recommendations and urged the State party to consider formalizing its commitment not to prosecute children or persons who were children involved in armed conflict, provide psychological support to former child combatants to address the trauma and other mental health issues, and children who have been internally displaced and/or deprived of a family environment owing to violence and/or enforced disappearance, ensure that all schools currently run by the military are transferred back under the Ministry of Education, ensure that training of the Cadet Corps does not include military activities and consider acceding to the additional protocols to the Geneva Conventions
and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. (Colombo Gazette)

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