The Needs of Children and Women

[TamilNet, Sunday, 24 November 2002, 16:47 GMT]
It is estimated that more than 300,000 children have been directly affected by the conflict in the North and East. The right of these, and the 700,000 other children estimated to live in the region represents a challenge to society. For the children of these war-torn areas these rights are today being infringed upon.

Safety and Care
All children have a right to safety and care. As a result of the war, thousands of children are without this basic necessity either because both parents have been killed or only one breadwinner exists in the family being unable to cope with the demand. Orphanages are crowded and under-funded.

Health Needs
Inadequate health services are a serious problem for all sections of society. For mothers, and children in their formative years, it results in long-term suffering and deprivation.

Lack of investment and damage and destruction to the infrastructure facilities severely limit the provision of basic services. Poor sanitation and lack of safe drinking water contribute to the prevalence of disease.

Respiratory infections are common in the North and East, and outbreaks of diarrhoea are frequent. Malaria is resurgent and is epidemic in these areas and over 60 % of the total number of cases reported is from the North and East. Due to the inadequate medical supplies, these diseases can be fatal in the North and East. Surveys have shown a considerably higher degree of malnutrition among children in formative age and lactating mothers, than in other parts of the country.

The absence of Medical Officers of Health and support systems are impeding delivery of preventive care. The same applies to the working conditions for Family Health Workers.

Hospitals in the North and East are dilapidated and deteriorating for want of maintenance. Most hospitals lack adequate basic facilities. There had been very little investment in the secondary curative care facilities since 1980.

Nearly 1 million children had been living in a highly militarised environment and are subject to stress and trauma. As a result, both the physical and the cognitive development of these children are impaired. Their ability to concentrate in school is low. This also has contributed to high dropout rates in schools.

School-aged children who are out of school in the conflict areas are very much higher than the island wide figure of 15%.

One of the main reasons for the high school drop-out rate is an acute shortage of trained teachers. This has resulted in excessive reliance on untrained voluntary teachers. Children are also compelled to join the labour force in order to supplement the inadequate family income. Dilapidated conditions of the educational institutions and lack of transport facilities act as further deterrent to attending classes regularly.

It must be added, that this situation is prevailing in a society that for centuries has held education in the highest esteem, and where one therefore knows that the local society will do its utmost to keep these institutions going.

On Children’s Rights
The statement above only refer to three of the many areas of concern related to children, but provides in the Committee’s opinion, ample evidence of the trying circumstances for the coming generation.

The Committee is of the opinion that children belong with their parents or close relatives, or, when this is not possible in institutions that can provide adequate care. Their place is in schools and educational institutions - not in the workplace – whether civilian or military.

Ongoing Activities and Level of Support
The GOSL with finances from and in co-operation with UN agencies, WB, ADB and bilateral donors are involved in a number of ongoing projects and programmes in order to improve the areas of water-supply, health, education and child care.

In the implementation of projects in the North and the East, UN agencies, Development Banks and other donors have been consulting the LTTE.

The above activities are of considerable importance to the population in general, but it must be emphasised that the needs are considerably greater than what the present activities can cover. It must also be recognised that the services are geographically unevenly provided and large parts of the population – particularly in the areas Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Mannar, as well as areas of Trincomalee and Batticaloa have so far benefited little from more concerted efforts in rectifying the short-comings.

Priority Activities
SIHRN will in connection with prioritising activities draw inspiration from "The Rights of the Child".

Priority will be given to assist children without guardians or breadwinners, and to facilitate the safe return of children traumatised or otherwise affected by war to normal life.

Improving educational facilities and ensuring that children of the school-going age are relieved from their working duties and returned to education will be given importance.

The same applies to ensuring that the health sector is given the necessary support in strategically vital areas, in order for the whole system to become more effective and responsive to the needs of the population.

Widows and Single Breadwinners
The war has resulted in more than 30,000 widows. Widowed and abandoned, women have been forced to take on the traditionally male role as the primary breadwinner of the family. This task has proven to be extremely difficult due to the lack of education/vocational skills as well as social infrastructure needed. Access to credit is another area that tends to create more problems for women than men in their attempt to secure self-employment and livelihood. Therefore, it is necessary to embark upon activities that with immediate effect target these women in particular.


Latest 15 Reports
04.02.24 15:40   Photo
சியோனிசம் காணும் தோல்வி ஈழத்தமிழருக்குப் பலன் தரவல்ல படிமை மாற்றத்தின் அறிகுறி
24.04.22 05:44  
தீவின் நெருக்கடிச் சூழலில் ஈழத்தமிழர் தேசம் கடைப்பிடிக்கவேண்டிய நிலைப்பாடுகள்
09.04.22 14:44   Photo
குறிதவறும் ஈழத்தமிழர் தலைமைகளுக்கு வரலாறு தருகின்ற எச்சரிக்கை
21.01.22 07:24   Photo
ஈழத்தமிழர் தேசத்தின் தலைமைத்துவம் தேர்தல் அரசியற் கட்சிகளுக்கு அப்பாலானது
02.11.21 15:32   Photo
13 ஆம் சட்டத்திருத்தத்தால் கட்டமைக்கப்பட்ட இன அழிப்பை எதிர்கொள்ள முடியுமா?
15.09.21 08:19  
English version not available
17.05.21 19:23   Photo
Ananthi blames war criminal Silva for blocking collective memorial at Mu'l'livaaykkaal
09.04.21 14:46  
English version not available
23.03.21 12:41   Photo
No focus on Tamil genocide, geopolitics gets played out in Geneva in favour of QUAD formation
21.03.21 13:34   Photo
Navi Pillay explains ‘human rights’ limitations in Geneva on Tamil genocide
15.03.21 20:36   Photo
Deceived Tamil activists in UK falsely claimed ‘substantial changes’ to Zero draft
09.03.21 21:34   Photo
UK repeatedly wronged Tamils says hunger-striker, demands genocide justice
26.02.21 11:53   Photo
Tamils witness false dilemma in Geneva as geopolitical formations pit against each other
19.02.21 14:02   Photo
UK not prepared to push for ICC option in new UNHRC Resolution
07.02.21 23:16   Photo
Unprecedented P2P uprising paves the way for rights-oriented politics of Tamils and Muslims
Find this article at: