Ilankai Tamil Sangam

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Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Lack of Education for Children in the East

by Shezna Shums, The Morning Leader, March 27, 2007

It was stated that 101 schools are currently closed while 17 are being used as IDP sites in the Batticaloa district alone....

The Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) was informed by rights organisations in Geneva last week that the country has gone back to the pre-ceasefire levels where abductions and human rights violations were rampant.


Refugees waiting for breakfast at a school in Batticaloa

While the total number of IDPs has been recorded as 292,685 persons islandwide, providing education to the displaced children is a cause for worry.
One of the burning issues affecting these IDPs is education for their children. The pressure the IDP movement was having on schools converted into temporary shelters as well as existing schools having to accommodate extra children, and in some cases a drastic decline in school attendance owing to the tension prevailing in the area are causing concern to the authorities as well as parents.

The Eastern Province is currently facing difficulty in providing education to the students in the area, especially in Batticaloa.

Education is also one of the burning issues causing worry to NGOs. It was stated that 101 schools are currently closed while 17 are being used as IDP sites in the Batticaloa district alone.

Other schools within this district are under pressure to admit new IDP children with some schools having doubled their enrolment as more children arrive from new areas.

Schoolgirls in Batticaola November 2005 Police records have also noted that since last Friday there has been a considerable decline in attendance of students at schools close to Batticaloa town.

The police records further showed that only 150 out of 3,000 students of St. Michael’s School had attended school that day, while 96 out of 2,000 students of St. Cecilia School also attended school. The trend was witnessed in other schools in the area as well. Only 500 out of 2,500 students of Vincent Ladies’ College had attended school while 500 out of 1,700 students were present at the Methodist Boys’ School.

Police inquiries had revealed that the reason for this absence was the Batticaloa District TNA MP P.Ariyanethiran’s statement that schools in Batticaloa should be closed to accommodate the refugee inflow into Batticaloa.

The other reason recorded by the police was the tension and anxiety mounted on the students by multi barrel attacks launched from the 233 Brigade close to Webber playground, the police statement read.
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Human rights watchdogs warn Lanka second only to Iraq on HR violations
By Jamila Najmuddin


View across Lake Street in Batticaloa. Life goes on despite the razor wire of an army installation (left) and a soldier guarding the intersection (right), Feb. 7, 2006

Sri Lanka is only second to Iraq on abductions and other human rights abuses, international human rights watchdogs said, warning that the situation would only get worse in the coming months.

The Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) was informed by rights organisations in Geneva last week that the country has gone back to the pre-ceasefire levels where abductions and human rights violations were rampant.

"In 1998 WGEID found that Sri Lanka, even though a small island, ranked as having the second highest number of disappearances in the world next to Iraq. According to today’s WGEID report; 12,319 cases have been transmitted to the government of Sri Lanka and there are 5749 outstanding cases, including 41 cases under urgent action procedures.

This makes it clear that Sri Lanka has once again reached the position of second highest in rank, in numbers of disappearances, exceeded only by Iraq," human rights organisations such as Interfaith International and Amnesty International said.

Human rights organisations also informed the Working Group that they were sad to note that the request made by the WGEID in October 2006 to visit Sri Lanka in early 2007 was not agreed to, by the government. They also warned that due to the absence of any international monitors, the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka will deteriorate fast and called for immediate international intervention.

"While the country’s human rights violations is being termed as outrageous, the country will fall into a further crisis if no action is taken to help ease the situation. We urge both the government and the LTTE to clean up their acts and realise the importance of an international monitoring mission in the country," Asia Director, Human Rights Watch (HRW), Brad Adams said.

Organisations such as HRW and Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) last week warned that a Darfur like situation was evolving in the northeast of Sri Lanka and urged for immediate international intervention in order to protect the thousands of civilians who were trapped in the conflict areas.