TMVP releases 11 child soldiers
The TMVP on Monday handed over eleven children believed to have been involved in the armed conflict to the Commissioner-General of Rehabilitation, Suhada Gamalath. The government has directed relevant authorities to commence a programme of rehabilitation for these children with immediate effect.
A press release by the Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights said:
"The eleven children are being housed at a Government facility outside Colombo and measures are underway to move them to a purpose-built rehabilitation centre shortly. The parents of the children will be given access to them and the children will undergo psychological evaluation and counselling in addition to programmes aimed at education, vocational training and skills development in order to enable them to successfully integrate into society as useful citizens in the future."
"The Government appreciates the commitment shown by the TMVP, now that conditions of normality have been restored in the East, to ensure the release of children and their rehabilitation and takes it as a clear indication that the organization has taken this measure in consequence of its entry into the democratic mainstream. The Government has earnestly requested all armed groups to release any children they may have in their custody with a view to the rehabilitation and reintegration of these children and the securing of a better future in a country devoid of conflict and terrorism."
"The release of the children was facilitated by the Batticaloa Police in cooperation with the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process (SCOPP) and was witnessed by UNICEF and officials of the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human Rights. UNICEF has pledged its supports to the Government's efforts to rehabilitate children involved in and affected by armed conflict in Sri Lanka."