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Sri Lankan gov't says no more child combatants

(Xinhua)

15:05, September 15, 2011

COLOMBO, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- The Sri Lankan government has informed the United Nations Human Rights Council that investigations have found that there are no more child combatants in the country.

A UN body had recently said that there were fears over some children who remain missing after being believed to have been recruited as combatants by an armed group in the east of the country soon after the war.

However the Sri Lankan External Affairs Ministry said on Thursday that the Nations Human Rights Council, which is currently meeting in Geneva, was informed that child recruitment for combat purposes has completely stopped.

The UN Special Representative of the secretary General for children and armed conflict was told during the council session that anyone found to be still involved in child recruitment for combat purposes will be arrested, the External Affairs Ministry said.

Tamil Tiger rebels and a breakaway faction were known to recruit children for combat purposes during the conflict which ended in May 2009 with the defeat of the rebels.

However, the breakaway faction of the Tamil Tigers known as the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pullikal was accused of recruiting children even after the war. The Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pullikal fought against the Tamil Tigers and supported the Sri Lankan military during the war.

The Sri Lankan External Affairs Ministry said that most child combatants who had been arrested during the war have been rehabilitated and released back into society.

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