Child rights in SRI LANKA
Thousands and thousands of children in the NorthEast have been affected by the war in Sri Lanka: those who have been displaced, missed their schooling, suffered malnutrition, been traumatised by bombings and shellings, lost their parents, maimed by land-mines, disabled ' all are in Children's homes and receive no government help.
TAMIL CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS - TCHR/CTDH
CENTRE TAMOUL POUR LES DROITS DE L'HOMME
(Established in 1990)(UN accredited NGO to the World Summit on Information Society)www.tchr.net
(An appeal and a report on "Child rights in Sri Lanka" was submitted by TCHR to Mr. Manuel Rodriguez, the Chairperson of the 62nd session of the UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva. It was handed over on 27th March 2006 to Mr. Manuel Rodriguez, Ambassador of Peru to the UN office in Geneva)
Distinguished Sirs / Mesdames,
Since TCHR was established, we have regularly submitted reports, statements and press releases on violations of human rights, especially on thematic issues. Child rights are no exception to this. We have defended the rights of children without discrimination ' the fundamental Rights of the Child, rights affected by Child labour, Child prostitution and the issue of Child soldiers.
International law enshrines standards for excellent protection of the Rights of the Child. The UN Charter, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Convention on the rights of the Child and its optional protocols and other covenants and conventions contain crucial articles protecting these rights.
Out of one hundred and ninety-one member states in the United Nations, not many have signed and ratified all the conventions, covenants and optional protocols. Some have signed, with reservations to certain articles but have never ratified, thereby preventing UN scrutiny.
Countries in conflict have their own olitical agenda with regard to Child rights. They use certain instruments for their political lobby and ignore others. Thereby the Child rights continue to be neglected in those countries.
As far as Sri Lanka is concerned, Child rights suffer pathetically at the hands of politicians. Instruments are used selectively and the international community, international NGOs, local NGOs and others are smartly manipulated by the government of Sri Lanka to promote its agenda.
A typical example of this are the two Optional Protocols (OP) to the Convention on the rights of the Child (CRC): (1) OP CRC on the involvement of children in armed conflicts (2) OP CRC on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. Both optional protocols were adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession on 25 May 2000. Sri Lanka signed the first OP - on the involvement of children in armed conflicts - on 21 August 2000 and ratified it on 08 September 2000, whereas the second OP ' on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography was signed on 08 May 2002 but has never been ratified until today.
When we look at the reality of the situation in Sri Lanka, it is very sad to note that Sri Lanka is known as "Paradise for Paedophiles". According to media and NGOs, nearly 100,000 Children are involved in child prostitution in Sri Lanka. But there is no outcry by the government and some NGOs because this business generates massive income in foreign currency. Also as this business is run by those who have strong links with senior government officials, the problem in not raised and pressure is not exerted on Sri Lanka to ratify the "Optional Protocol on child prostitution and child pornography".
The Children in this business in the South, along the beaches are badly affected by HIV and various venereal diseases. This situation has persisted in Sri Lanka for many years.
Another important Children's rights issue is Child Labour. According to various media and specialised organisations, it is estimated that there is a minimum of 150,000 child labourers in Sri Lanka.
At the same time, more than 110,000 Sri Lankan army deserters have caused another problem affecting children in the South. As the government did not find suitable replacements for these army deserters, the army started recruiting under age school children in the South with bogus birth certificates. It is important to note that when the optional protocol on children in armed conflict was initiated, Sri Lanka was one of the countries which lobbied heavily for the recruiting age for the State to be fifteen years old.
The matter of the non-state party to the conflict recruiting those of the same age has been repeatedly and strongly raised by the international community, as a child soldier issue. Credible reports have announced that the recruiting has been stopped.
Thousands and thousands of children in the NorthEast have been affected by the war: those who have been displaced, missed their schooling, suffered malnutrition, been traumatised by bombings and shellings, lost their parents, maimed by land-mines, disabled ' all are in Children's homes and receive no government help. These well-run children's homes are helped purely by the Tamil diaspora.
These figures and facts have been systematically hidden from the international community by the government Sri Lanka. The attached report gives facts and figures on Child rights in Sri Lanka.
We respectfully urge you, the Chair and distinguished members and delegates of the Commission to seriously consider our appeal, and to take strong and immediate action. We kindly request you to urge the Sri Lanka government to sign and ratify the CRC's Optional Protocol on the Sale of Children, child prostitution and child pornography. We recommend that the Special Rapporteur with that mandate, carry out a field mission to Sri Lanka and report on the situation.
Child rights in Sri Lanka
S. V. Kirubaharan
Von: 31 March 2006 http://www.tamilcanadian.com Source: TAMIL CENTRE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS - TCHR/CTDH