Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has reiterated the Sri Lankan Government policy of zero tolerance towards child soldier recruitment at a meeting with the UN Under - Secretary General and Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy, who called on him at the Foreign Ministry today (15 August 2008).
The Foreign Minister stated that the Government accorded the highest priority for the rehabilitation of ex-child soldiers who had been rescued or released. In this regard, great care is taken in handling these children who have been traumatized, to ensure that they are able to be re-integrated into society, after a period of counselling, and vocational training, so that they would become law abiding citizens.
Dr. Coomaraswamy briefed the Minister on the role and functions of the UN Working Group on Children and Armed Conflict. She said that the Working Group was very keen to secure the release of all child combatants and work for their rehabilitation. Minister Bogollagama expressed confidence that the armed conflict in the country would be over soon, and the issue of child soldiers in Sri Lanka would be history. The Minister and Dr. Coomaraswamy also exchanged views on other matters connected to UN - Sri Lanka cooperation.
Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona and senior officials of the Foreign Ministry were present at the meeting.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
15 August 2008