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Butterflies

Last year was belonged to children. It was named as butterfly’s year. This was asuggestion by Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapakse. Did they compare children to butterflies with true or honest intention? Or was it an attempt to gain politicalbenefits?

Sri Lankan children affected by tsunami tragedy in 2004. Since the end of 2006 their healings not cured. The children at Tsunami camps faced various difficulties. Right to food, Right to education and other rights were violated. They didn’t have a better environment to continue their studies. Their protection was in danger. Some child abuses were reported.

After the election of President Mahinda Rajapakse the war has started once again. The rights of children in the north and the east were violated. Children were killed, wounded, raped and sabotaged their education. The allegation of child soldiers made against the LTTE and the karuna fraction which alleged to get the support from the government. Child recruitment to armed conflicts is a clear violation of international human rights law. It is a war crime. Sri Lanka is a state party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. According to the article 38 of the convention state parties shall take all feasible measures to ensure that children under 15 years of age have no direct part in hostilities. No child below 15 shall be recruited into the armed forces. States shall also ensure the protection and care of children who are affected by armed conflict as described in relevant international law.

The infants in war affected areas faced milk food shortage. North and East children lived in fear. They are familiar with joney buttas, mortars, migs and shells while the children of war lords and who appreciated war in other parts of the country may enjoy KFC, Macdonalds and Harry Porter.

The rights of children in the other parts of the country especially in remote areas were violated through out the year 2006. Some schools were under the threat of closing down. According to the article 28 of the convention the child has a right to education and the States duty is to ensure that primary education is free and compulsory to encourage different forms of secondary education accessible to every child and to make higher education available to all on the basis of capacity. School discipline shall be consistent with the child’s rights and dignity. The State shall engage in international co operation to implement this right.

One cancer in local schools is torture. Although butterflies year 2006, school authorities in considerable number of schools tortured students. Torture committed by government authorities is prohibited from the country’s supreme law the article 11 of the 1978 constitution. According to the article 37 of the UN child rights convention no child shall be subjected to torture, cruel treatment or punishment, unlawful arrest or deprivation of liberty. Any arrest should be according to law. Children deprived of liberty should be separated from adults. A child who is detained shall have legal and other assistance as well as contact with the family.

When a tortured child filled FR case against the perpetrated teacher the staff members, principal, village priest, authorities of the education appeared for the rescue of the perpetrated teacher. Torture is harmful to child’s personality. Children refused to attend school because of this kind of inhumanity of teachers and principals. Torture may cause serious physical injuries and long time mental disorders. Unfortunate to say some prefects at schools tortured other students. The school authorities tried to protect these perpetrated prefects. In Sri Lanka child detention centers are not in good condition. Government which had the lack of attention to develop these centers violated the rights of butterflies.

In 2006 government showed inability and unwillingness to protect child rights. They named the year as butterflies year. But butterflies were killed, wounded, tortured , their right to education and food were violated. Was the word butterfly a mask to cheat the whole nation?

We are in the middle of 2007. The situation of the majority of children is similar to 2006. If this continued further the future of younger generation changed badlyto worse. Remember corrupt authority ‘the butterfly ‘is the father of the true accountability of future authority.

Harshi Chitrangi
(Law student)