Sri Lanka – Parties Must Return To The Negotiating Table For The Sake Of Children

New York, 15 August 2006– "The latest shocking developments in Sri Lanka show once again that children continue to bear the brunt of this conflict", said United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy, calling on all parties in Sri Lanka to cease all hostilities and return to the negotiating table.

"Independent sources have verified that a compound in Kilinochchi was bombed reportedly killing around 50 adolescent schoolgirls and injuring 100 others. These schoolgirls were injured while taking part in a training course on first-aid. Fearing reprisal, the Government has closed all schools disrupting the education of children throughout the island", she said.

The LTTE continues to recruit children and use them in their fighting forces on the battlefield.

Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy fully supports the co-chairs of the Tokyo process and the Secretary-General in reminding the parties that there is no military solution to this conflict. "They should work toward reinstating the peace process to protect their people, especially children from further hardship", she added.

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For further information, please contact:

Laurence Gerard, Communications Officer, Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children Affected by Armed Conflict, United Nations, New York. Telephone: 1 212 963 0984. E-mail: gerardl@un.org.