A child means every human being below the age of 18 years. Children have rights as adults. Unfortunately these rights violate by the society which create and rule by adults. Children do not commit wrongs. That is one reason why we call them children.
In Sri Lankan society, on going war has established a hell for children. The convention on the rights of the child adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1989. Sri Lanka is a state party to this convention. The children in the North and the East have faced various difficulties.
The most aggrieved parties in this ethnic conflict are women and children. Article 38 of the UN convention said 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.
A significant numbers of children have recruited by the LTTE and TMVP (the Karuna Amman faction) for military purposes. Some children have abducted by these two parties. So it is very concerned and worried situation when defense ministry web site described the TMVP led by Karuna Amman as a political party.
Tens and thousands of children displaced because of this War. Their rights to food, shelter, freedom, and education are violated. We all know the child’s life in a refugee camp. It is miserable.
The article 39 of the convention said the state has an obligation to ensure that child victims of armed conflicts, torture, maltreatment or exploitation receive appropriate treatment for their recovery and social reintegration.
It was reported in media that the Sri Lankan delegation at the UNHRC made a statement that the government regards the recruitment of child soldiers as a zero tolerance and ensuring protection for all children affected by the armed conflict.Is this another tactic to calm and quite the voice of the international community?
The government doesn’t have a peaceful solution to this ethnic conflict. Unfortunately some authorities insist military solution in publicly. The children of these powerful people are not deprived of rights. It is all right. But what happened to the other marginalized children? All of these children who belong to elite class or marginalized groups are the trustees of the future of this beautiful island.
The state has a duty to make life of all most all children happy. The article 27 said every child has the right to a standard of living adequate to his or her physical, spiritual, normal and social development. Parents have the primary responsibility to ensure that the child has an adequate standard of living. The state’s duty is to ensure that this responsibility can be fulfilled and is. The state’s responsibility can include material assistance to parents and their children.
By Harshi Chitrangi Perera