Jan 14 (LBO) – The United Nations on Tuesday called on the Sri Lankan government and Tamil rebels to keep protection of children in mind at upcoming peace talks in Geneva.
Of particular importance remains the unresolved situation of child recruitment, which led UNICEF to yet again appeal to Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to cease the recruitment of children and to release all children within its ranks, a statement from UNICEF said.
The UN agency says recruitment of children has reduced over the past four years, and the average age of recruitment has increased from 14 to 16 years.
However, child recruitment is a serious violation of international law and the Convention of the Rights of the Child.
While recruitment of children in the last six months declined to an average of 43 a month, only 79 children were released and reunited with their families during the same period. says Ms. JoAnna VanGerpen, UNICEF Representative in Sri Lanka.
UNICEF is mandated by the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE to monitor child rights violations under the Action Plan for Children Affected by War.
Since January 2002, the UN body has record