Tamileelam Legislature enacts Child Protection Act

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 25 October 2006, 22:29 GMT]
Tamileelam Child Protection Act 2006 (Act No. 03 of 2006), enacted by Tamileelam Legislature Secretariat and which became effective on October 15, brings into law measures to protect the Rights and well-being of children from inception of life through adolescence, Head of Tamileelam Judiciary, E. Pararajasingham, told TamilNet Wednesday. The Act, containing 83 sections, makes education compulsory upto grade 11, mandates registration of all child births, outlaws enlisting of children under 17 years in Armed Forces, makes participation of under 18-year olds in armed combat illegal, and proscribes all forms of child labour.

Regulations related to enlistment in Armed Forces is dealt with in Sections 36, 37(a), 37(b), 38(a) and 38(b) in Chapter 04 of the Act.

Section 21 of The Child Protection Act defines the Armed Forces as the Army, Navy, Air Force of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), and the Tamileelam Police.

Mr. E. Pararajasingham, Head of LTTE's Tamileelam Judiciary
"Our vision is that a fair and impartial Judiciary is the backbone of our society—that is what our struggle is about," says Mr. Pararajasingham.

Mr. Pararajasingham told TamilNet that the Tamileelam Legislature Secretariat started working on formulating the Child Protection Act in May, soon after completing the Tamileelam Land Act of 2006. "We were directed by LTTE Leader Pirapaharan to formalize into law the Rights of children, and penalties for violating these rights, within a framework consistent with the deeply held values of Tamil culture, tradition and history, and the international covenants on Rights of Child," Mr Para added.

The legislators studied various child protection acts of other countries including Malaysia, Australia, the United Kingdom and Norway, and the existing international instruments.

The Act specifies Children's Rights on Education (Chapter 02), Protection (03), Enlistment in Armed Forces (04), Investigating Delinquent Children (05), Employment of Children (06), Birth (07), Parental Responsibilities and Rights (08), Penalties for Child-offenders (09), Custody and Guardianship (10) and Miscellaneous (11).

Sections 05 - 09 of Tamil Eelam Child Protection Act
The LTTE's Tamileelam Legislature has earlier enacted Tamileelam Penal Code and Tamileelam Civil Code in 1994.

The Act prescribes Criminal Procedure and penalties for offences committed against children, Mr Pararajasingham said.

The Tamileelam Child Protection Act prohibits employment of children below the age of 16, and prescribes employment of child labour as a crime punishable by two years of imprisonment.

Children between 16 - 18, could only be employed with legal permission according to the Act.

Sexual abuse, and exploitation of children for sexual purposes are punishable offenses with maximum 20-years and minimum 05-years of imprisonment.

The Act attributes gratis education as State responsibility.

Child welfare centers run by charitable organisations and NGOs are mandated to comply with Sections 75 - 81 in Chapter 10 of the Act. Only organisations approved by Tamileelam Administration are allowed to operate children's homes, and these organisations are expected to register with the district level administration.

LTTE Political Head S.P. Thamilchelvan, Head of Tamileelam Judiciary E. Prararajasingham, and Pon. Thiyagam, Director of LTTE Heroes Secretariat, at the 4th convocation of Tamil Eelam Law College in Kilinochchi in 2004

Tamileelam Judiciary has 7 District Courts, 2 High Courts, an Appeal Court, and a Special Bench.

There are 26 Judges and more than one hundred lawyers in Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) controlled territories, serve in the Tamil judiciary where laws are passed in Tamil.

"The Thamil Eelam Law College was established at Chunnakam (in Jaffna) in 1993 to uphold the Rule of Law, fundamental rights and human rights and respect for human values. We have over the years won the confidence and trust of our people with the expeditious and equitable processes of our judicial system. Tamileelam courts have heard more than 39,000 cases and have ruled on 33,000 of those cases," Mr Pararajasingham said.

Sri Lankan judiciary is in force in Sri Lanka Army (SLA) controlled areas in NorthEast. Nearly 50 lawyers carryout law practice under the Sri Lankan judiciary in the NorthEast.

Sri Lankan Judicial system has been criticised as biased against Tamils and for having consistently failed to rule against members of the Sri Lanka armed forces who have committed mass murders and other gross human rights violations.

Related Articles:
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10.11.04   "Tamils have right to make their own constitution" – Mavai
25.01.04   Rule of Law, values said basis of Tamil society
30.10.03   Thamil Eelam judiciary said a basis for rebuilding northeast
21.06.03   Negotiating Tamil sovereignty
10.01.03   Sri Lanka judiciary's failure led Tamils to take arms - Rani..

External Links:
HRW: Child Rights
UN: Study on Violence Against Children
ILO: World Day Against Child Labor
UN: Children and armed conflict


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