Killinochchi children transit center opens on Friday

[TamilNet, Thursday, 02 October 2003, 10:36 GMT]
The first of three transit centers under the Action Plan for Children Affected by War (APCAW) established in Killinochchi in Vanni region will be declared open Friday. Regional Director of UNICEF South Asia Mr.Sadig Rasheed and UNICEF Sri Lanka representative Mr. Ted Chaiban are scheduled to attend the opening event of the Killinochchi center, UNICEF sources said.

The construction work on the other two centres at Kadatkaraichcenai in Muttur east in Trincomalee and Batticaloa districts are in progress and will be opened in the near future, sources added.

The Action Plan is based on the best interest of the child, on children being with their families and on adopting an integrated approach to programming for the welfare of children. Monitoring of the implementation of the Action Plan will be undertaken by a Steering Committee comprising the Tamils Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) and Ministry of Social Welfare, and facilitated by UNICEF, sources said.

The implementation of the US $ 14 million Action Plan will facilitate vulnerable children return to their homes, and provide support to the children's families and communities to ensure a protective environment for the reintegration of these children through access to health, education, vocational training, income generating activities and psychosocial support, UNICEF sources said.

According to UNICEF sources, North East Provincial Director of Social Welfare, Probation and Child Care Ms N. Ranjini, senior government officials and about twenty media representatives will be attending the event.

“Children in the northeast province have been affected by two decades of war. Many have undergone large scale displacement and have been separated from their families. The health and education infrastructure have been destroyed and the children have been exposed to the risk of land mines and threat of recruitment into armed forces. Children in these areas have special vulnerabilities, and may be engaged in hazardous labour, become street children, or be recruited as child soldiers," the preamble of the Action Plan said.

”To restore normalcy in the lives of affected by war, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) with the active support of the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and United nations Children’s Fund have developed the APCAW.

"Developed as a direct response to decisions reached at Oslo and Berlin rounds of peace talks, the Action Plan is a muliti sectoral, multi agency plan to address the needs of war-affected children,” the Action Plan said.

The following areas are covered in the Action Plan: -

  • Child right training- Provision of child rights training for the LTTE, government armed forces and communities, which commenced in April 2003.
  • Awareness campaign- Increasing parental and community awareness of ways they can protect vulnerable children and prevent abuses of child rights.
  • Release and Reintegration of underage recruits, and children seeking recruitment- Children will be released to transit centres co-managed by the TRO and UNICEF, following which they will be reintegrated back into their communities.
  • Monitoring of Child Rights- UNICEF with the support of international and national agencies, will monitor and report on the rights of children affected by war in the North east
  • Micro credit facilities and income generation activities- Provision of revolving loan funds and micro-credit facilities for single headed households and families of vulnerable children, with the support of the UNDP.
  • Vocational training- Development of vocational training opportunities through mobile units, apprenticeships and center based skills development, with the support of Internal Labour Organization (ILO)
  • Education- All vulnerable children most affected by war should have access to quality learning opportunities through formal and non-formal education and literacy centers. The strengthening of School development Societies that ensure attendance in school and focus on awareness among parents and communities of the importance of education, is included in the Action Plan
  • Health and Nutrition-Provision of essential health care and nutrition services for children affected by war at family and community level
  • Provision of psychosocial care, reinforcement of social work infrastructure and alternative care for children unable to return to families.

 

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