All ex child combatants freed

The government says all former LTTE child soldiers who underwent rehabilitation, have been freed.

Minister of Plantation Industries and Special Envoy of the President on Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe told the third committee of the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York yesterday that with regards to the rehabilitation and reintegration of ex-combatants, out of approximately 12,000 persons as of 1 October 2012, 10,985 persons, which included 594 LTTE child soldiers have been rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.

“Not a single child combatant remains in rehabilitative care or legal custody today,” the Minister said.

He said that the government adhered to a policy of not subjecting ex-combatant children to legal proceedings based on the rationale that they were victims and not perpetrators.

He also said that all child soldiers released were afforded the opportunity of a formal education and that they were reunited with their families.

He also said that 212 former combatants, who were previously pursuing tertiary education were re-inducted into the university system to follow their undergraduate studies.

“We note with pleasure that Sri Lanka has now been delisted by the UN Secretary-General from Annex II of the UN Security Council Resolution 1612, on Children and Armed Conflict. This is a result of the efforts taken by the GOSL to inquire into several cases on child recruitment and comply with the recommendations of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict and those of the UNSG’s Special Representative,” the Minister said. (Colombo Gazette)