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Sri Lanka says all former child soldiers freed

English.news.cn   2012-10-19 20:25:14            

COLOMBO, Oct. 19 (Xinhua) -- The Sri Lankan government on Friday said that all former Tamil Tiger child soldiers who underwent rehabilitation after being arrested have been freed.

Sri Lanka's Minister of Plantation Industries and Special Envoy of the President on Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe said that out of approximately 12,000 Tamil Tiger suspects arrested and rehabilitated as of Oct. 1 this year, 10,985 former rebels including 594 former child soldiers have been rehabilitated and reintegrated into society.

"Not a single child combatant remains in rehabilitative care or legal custody today," the External Affairs Ministry quoted Minister Samarasinghe as saying.

He said that the government adhered to a policy of not subjecting ex-combatant children to legal proceedings based on the rationale that they were victims and not perpetrators.

He also said that all child soldiers released were afforded the opportunity of a formal education and that they were reunited with their families.

Sri Lanka has fought a 30-year war against the rebels and eventually won the war in May 2009.

Samarasinghe said that 212 former combatants, who were previously pursuing tertiary education were re-inducted into the university system to follow their undergraduate studies.

"We note with pleasure that Sri Lanka has now been delisted by the UN Secretary-General from Annex II of the UN Security Council Resolution 1612, on Children and Armed Conflict. This is a result of the efforts taken by the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) to inquire into several cases on child recruitment and comply with the recommendations of the Security Council Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict and those of the UNSG's Special Representative," the Minister said.

Editor: Wang Yuanyuan
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