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UN strikes country from 'list of shame'

Report says welfare programs prompted removal from child conflict blacklist,reporter, Colombo
Sri Lanka

June 13, 2012

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The United Nations has struck Sri Lanka from its child conflict blacklist following a report released this week which says that significant progress has been made in promoting children’s welfare. The annual UN report on Children and Armed Conflict said all parties to previous conflicts in Sri Lanka were taken off the "list of shame" after successfully completing Security Council-mandated programs to end the recruitment and use of child soldiers. "Progress is continuous but the list of parties to conflict who harm girls and boys will always be too long,” said Radhika Coomaraswamy, the UN secretary-general’s special representative for children and armed conflict after the report was published on Monday. The world body had put Sri Lanka on the list because of the recruitment of child soldiers by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) during the country’s civil war. The LTTE had been accused of knowingly recruiting and using child soldiers as front-line troops. The UN report also praised efforts being made in health and education programs for minors and in trying to trace almost 1,400 missing children who were recruited to fight in the war. “No new cases of recruitment of children by armed groups have been reported since October 2009. However, the whereabouts of 1,373 children from a total of 6,905 who were recruited by the LTTE remains unknown,” the UN report said. “Sri Lanka had made serious efforts to trace those children and that is the reason the country had been removed from the UN’s list,” it said. Fifty-two countries are named on the blacklist, with Syria, Yemen and Sudan among the more recent additions. Related reports Protesters seek pardon for LTTE rebels Fonseka gets presidential pardon

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