Schools should be peace zones
[TamilNet, Sunday, 31 October 1999, 06:47 GMT]
The Resident Representative of the United Nations Children's Fund in Sri Lanka and Maldives, Mr. Colin Glennie said yesterday morning that schools, playgrounds and hospitals should be declared as peace zones during military operations.
He was addressing a commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, held at McHeyzer Stadium, Trincomalee.
This function was organised by the Child Rights Group and the North East Department of Social Welfare.
Mr. Glennie further said that it was very difficult to preserve the rights of children when the war was going on. Children lose their rights during armed conflict, he said.
He added he knew how the war was hurting the children of the country and added that every child was affected by the war.
The services of teachers, parents and volunteers of non- governmental organisations are not enough to safeguard the rights of the children during armed conflicts, said Mr. Glennie.
He urged that children should come forward to preserve their rights. Children must tell the authorities concerned to treat schools, playgrounds and hospitals as peace zones, he said.
Action should be taken to identify these places as peace zones by hoisting flags or by putting up banners on buildings, Mr. Glennie further said.
Other speakers included the Director of the North East Department of Social Services Mrs. Kamala Sivasithambaram, the Chairman of the Trincomalee District NGO's Consortium, Mr. T. Thavasilingam, Ms Kanthi Perera of the Child Rights Group and the Chief Guest Miss Sakila Sittampalam, a student of Trincomalee St. Mary's Girls College.