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Lanka to open more rehabilitation units for ex-child soldiers – Express India

[MISC, Tuesday, 10 November 2009 11:15 No Comment]

In a bid to expedite rehabilitation of 11,000 former LTTE child soldiers, Sri Lanka has decided to open seven more centres for them apart from the existing 14. Seven more centres will come up for the rehabilitation of LTTE child soldiers, who are in the state protective custody following their surrender before the Sri Lankan security forces, an official statement said.

It said 11,000 such child soldiers are under the protection of troops and being provided with education in addition to vocational training.

Fourteen Rehabilitation Centres are in operation and with the proposed seven additional ones, the total number of such centres will increase to 21, it said.

Justice Minister Milinda Moragoda yesterday inspected the the premises where the new Rehabilitation Centres are to come up.

He also went to the Rehabilitation Centre at Thampamaduwa in Vavuniya and interacted with the former child soldiers.

"They (ex-child combatants) said the government is meeting all their requirements," according to the statement. The government’s intention is to get their support for the development of the country by making them good citizens and granting them vocational education, it said.

Meanwhile, the government has taken steps to help 142 former LTTE child cadres get admission in a school in Colombo after having completed their stint at a rehabilitation camp in northern Vavuniya.

The children, who are being admitted to the Hindu College school at Ratmalana in Colombo suburbs for further studies, were rescued by soldiers during the war with the LTTE, the statement said.

In August this year, as many as 100 ex-LTTE child soldiers took the high school exams at the Vavuniya welfare camps, weeks after giving up guns.

Besides the ex-LTTE combatants, 1187 displaced children also sat for the Advanced Level Examinations in Vavuniya during the period.

Many of the children prepared for the exams after studying from the make-shift schools set up hurriedly in the camps in Vavuniya.

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