Fears for displaced children

[TamilNet, Monday, 01 October 2001, 19:13 GMT]
Several key officials of the North East Provincial Council (NEPC) Monday said that future of children of displaced people and refugees in welfare centers and orphanages in the Tamil dominated province is still uncertain due to the ongoing conflict. "The war is continuing resulting in the increase of refugees, displaced people and orphans," said Mr.S.M.Croos, Provincial Director of the Department of Social Welfare, presiding over the International Children's Day celebrations held Monday evening at Trincomalee Town Hall.

"Several questions have been raised by number of social welfare institutions about the future of children now languishing in refugee camps and other institutions in the northeast. Social activists ask whether these children could be made to become full-developed responsible citizens of tomorrow under the present context", lamented Mr.Croos.

Mr.G.Kirushnamoorthy, Chief Secretary of the NEPC participating as the chief guest said that the present war is playing havoc in the lives of children in the northeast province making them wandering here and there as orphans and displaced with no future.

Mr.S.Amirthalingam, Provincial Secretary to the Minister of Rehabilitation, Reconstruction, Social Welfare, Buildings and Women Affairs as special guest at the event said "not only government institutions but non-governmental organizations also must play a vital role to ensure better future to the children of the northeast now suffering in welfare centers and orphanages as victims of the present brutal war.

Ms K.Roobini, Secretary to the Provincial Co-operative Employees' Commission asked "whether there is any meaning to observe the International Children's Day at a time when thousands of children flee from Afghanistan due to fear of a war and children in northeast province especially in Vanni and other areas in Sri Lanka suffer due to the present conflict."

Monday morning the Millennium City Lions Club in Trincomalee observed International Children's Day with the students of Trincomalee Vigneswara Maha Vidyalayam. Mr.Y.Jeyamurugan, Treasurer of the club addressing the students' assembly said that "children of displaced living in Uppuveli Allesgarden Welfare center are seen wandering along the seashore of the area without going to schools. Some are seen searching for food in the rubbish strewn around the premises of the welfare centre."

He further said some more children are found employed in liquor stalls and other illegal trade centres as labourers. He blamed the conflict as the sole cause for all these ills.

Students of Vigneswara Maha Vidyalayam Monday morning were seen in front of the school holding placards demanding "children rights ensured by the UN Children Charter be safeguarded by the society and authorities concerned".

Alles Garden refugee camp ( TamilNet library photo)


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