Sri Lanka has rehabilitated nearly 600 child soldiers recruited by LTTE within one year.
Addressing the meeting on the rights of the child at the 19th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council Thursday, Sri Lanka highlighted the enormous challenge it faced to rehabilitate and reintegrate 595 LTTE child soldiers who were in the care of the government after the end of the conflict in May 2009.
The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) and the Office of the Commissioner General of Rehabilitations have successfully introduced and implemented a scheme for comprehensive rehabilitation and reintegration of the former child combatants, Sri Lanka's delegate Ms. Priyanga Wickremasinghe told the Council.
All former child soldiers were rehabilitated under a UNICEF-assisted program and returned to their families. Despite their participation in terrorist activities and not a single combatant was prosecuted, Sri Lanka said.
The child soldiers have been given the opportunity and assistance to return to school to pursue their studies and some have taken the GCE Advanced Level Examinational and even passed to gain university admission, the Council was told.
The NCPA has introduced a foster care program named "Surakna" for the benefit of the conflict-affected children in the Northern Province.
Under the program, the children who have lost both parents and living with relatives are eligible for monthly financial support from the State. The program aims to prevent institutionalization of the children and to ensure their well-being.
The delegate told the Council that the NCPA is in the process of bringing laws to mete out severe punishment to the child abusers and to the people convicted of all crimes against children.
The LTTE continued the practice of child recruitment until the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009.