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UN Human Rights Council 12th session reports

September 20, 2009

12th Session
Item 3

Report and statement of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General On Children in Armed Conflict

“Such has been the case in regards to the armed conflict in Sri Lanka. The continuing harping on �child soldiers� of the LTTE by many actors played an important role in the international demonising not only of the LTTE but also of the Tamil people as a whole. It was particularly distressing to be a witness as the Tamil people as a whole were ruthlessly attacked in the final days of the conflict and when Tamil children were suffering unfathomable violations at the hands of the government forces. The severe burdens of the armed conflict suffered by the Tamil children as a whole were ignored in favour of the continuing focus of these actors on a handful of child soldiers. We ask the Special Advisor to explain why she was part of that and what her purpose was in doing so at that time.

Hundreds of thousands of Tamil children in the detention camps and elsewhere in the North/East of the Island suffer from malnutrition, with unacceptable numbers at the level of stunted to �wasting� and we consider it an ominous sign for children that the Sri Lankan authorities have expelled Mr. James Elder, the representative of UNICEF. We are pleased that the Special Advisor intends to send Major-General Patrick Cammaert to visit Sri Lanka as soon as possible and we await specific and concerted immediate action to protect the hundreds of thousands of Tamil children who are victims of this armed conflict and whose rights and lives are in severe jeopardy.”


Agenda item 3

Report of C. deAlbuquerque on human rights and access to safe drinking water and sanitation

“Relating to context-specific solutions, we would like to draw to the attention of the Independent Expert the unique situation of internally displaced persons who are forced by circumstances to reside in IDP camps, where the governments in question have an absolute obligation to ensure adequate safe drinking water and sanitation. In this light we point out that the Tamil people, detained against their will in the so-called �welfare camps�, which are clearly detention camps, have grossly inadequate access to safe drinking water, and water for bathing, cooking and sanitation. The recent rains at one of the largest camps (Melik Farm) resulted in a situation in which raw sewage was over one foot deep in one whole sector. We also point out the water and sanitation situation in the camps where civilians from Darfur reside in conditions nearly as appalling as in the Tamil camps in Sri Lanka. We ask the Independent Expert if she will request on-site missions to these areas, as these situations are totally degrading to the persons involved.”

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