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 Post subject: ‘21000 girls in Sri Lanka’s war’
 Post Posted: Tue Apr 26, 2005 3:32 am 
‘21000 girls in Sri Lanka’s war’

@BBC Sinhala
25 April, 2005 - Published 18:07 GMT

Girls are the greatest casualty of war all over the world, a leading charity working with children said on Monday.

A Save the Children report found more than 120,000 girls and young women have been abducted and pushed into conflict worldwide.

It said a "hidden army" of girls is being forced to work for armed groups involved in conflicts worldwide.

The report says an estimated 21,500 girls are thought to be associated with the conflict in Sri Lanka while in the Democratic Republic of Congo another 12,000 are believed to be involved in armed organisations.

Over 43% of all children involved in Sri Lanka’s civil war are girls, it said.

Save The Children’s Information and Communication Officer in Sri Lankan Maleec Calyanaratne said that nearly 2800 children have been handed back to their parents since October 2003.

“This is only the tip of the iceberg because nobody knows exactly how many are actually involved.”

Some of these children were handed to the UNICEF by the LTTE and many others were disbanded by renegade rebel leader Karuna, she told BBC Sandeshaya.

Calyanaratne said the UNICEF rehabilitation camps for former LTTE combatants have been very useful in the process of handing them back to parents.

Apart from children, many other women involved in Sri Lanka's war are also included in the report, she said.

The stalemate in the peace process, however, may increase the fear and uncertainty of their future, she said.

“It will most probably adversely affect this process because these children fear whether they’d be taken back if the war erupts again.”


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