Press Releases, 12/1/2006
Declaration by the Presidency on behalf of the European Union on the situation of children affected by armed conflict in Sri Lanka
Press release 502/2006
1 December, 2006
The European Union remains deeply concerned about the situation of children affected by armed conflict in Sri Lanka.
The EU stresses the need to protect children in all circumstances. It is especially important during armed conflicts where children, as the most vulnerable group of all, often fall victims of grave human rights violations.
The deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka has left children in a growingly insecure situation. The recruitment of children to hostilities has continued as have abductions of children from their families in order to recruit them, both of which are in violation of applicable international law.
The European Union urges the LTTE to immediately cease the deplorable and inhumane practice of recruiting child soldiers, and release any children recruited in that manner without delay. The European Union is also deeply concerned that the Karuna group is also abducting children, that this is taking place in areas under the government's control, and reports that government security forces are involved. It urges the Government of Sri Lanka to take immediate steps to release all children being held by the Karuna group, and immediately commence credible investigations of the alleged involvements of certain elements of government security forces, and bring to justice those responsible for these crimes.
The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, and the EFTA country Liechtenstein, member of the European Economic Area, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration."
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process