UN Call

December 11, 2009 (AFP) – A top United Nations envoy asked Sri Lanka on Friday to release detained Tamil Tiger child soldiers and urged the authorities to re-unite them with their families. The government allowed tens of thousands of civilians held in the IDP camps to go in and out freely from December 1, but aid agencies and reporters are still barred from entering them and speaking with inmates.

“The aftermath of the conflict makes children extremely vulnerable,” he said. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable and preventive measures have to be taken to protect them from any form of abuse such as sexual violence.”

Cammaert said the UN, the International Committee of the Red Cross and Save the Children should be allowed into all camps to help tracing and reunification of unaccompanied and separated children. Retired Major General Patrick Cammaert, the UN special envoy on children and armed conflict, said children who had been conscripted by the Tiger rebels should be allowed to return to their families.

“Hundreds of children are still missing or separated from their parents. They must be reunited as soon as possible,” the Dutch UN official told reporters.

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