ITRO condemns SLAF attack on "Peace Village" with 5 orphanages

[TamilNet, Monday, 14 August 2006, 13:42 GMT]
Chencholai Valaham is the campus among the orphanages at the Peace Village of Vallipunam, said the International Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation (ITRO London), the representative body of the overseas offices of the Tamils Rehabilitation Organisation in a press statement condemning the Sri Lanka Air Force bombing that killed 61 schoolchildren and wounded more than 129. "The area is well known by all parties: the Government of Sri Lanka, the Government Agent, ICRC, UNICEF and all those who work in the Vanni," the organisation said urging the international community to condemn the bombing.

TRO embergency relief workers transporting injured chiildren to hospital

Full text of the press release by the ITRO follows:

14 August 2006

iTRO condemns Sri Lanka Air Force bombing of Orphanage

iTRO calls upon the international community to condemn the bombing of Chencholai orphanage and call for an immediate international investigation of this mass murder of children.

Chencholai Valaham an orphanage for girls in Vallipunam was bombed by Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) Kfir jet bombers at 7 am this morning (14/08/06). The latest information indicates that 61 girls have been killed, with the death toll expected to increase, and over 129 injured.

The location of this children’s home is well know by all parties: the Government of Sri Lanka, the Government Agent, ICRC, UNICEF and all those who work in the Vanni. It has been in existence at the current location since 1998.

This area is a “peace village” with 5 orphanages, which are registered with the Government of Sri Lanka as orphanages, within a 1 km radius:

  • Chencholai Girls Home
  • Bharathy Illam Girls Home (a TRO run home): 160 girls - tsunami and war affected
  • Inniya Valvu Illam (a TRO run home for deaf & blind children): 78 children
  • Vasanthan Children’s home: 60 girls - tsunami and war affected
  • Senthair Ilam (relocated from Mullaitivu after being destroyed by the tsunami): 130 children

Every weekend girls from the surrounding areas come to the orphanage for ‘first aid’ training which includes life and leadership skills training. These children were preparing to go back to their homes when 16 bombs were dropped on them. The surviving children have been severely traumatised by the events of this morning and will require further counselling and support.

TRO calls on the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, International Human Rights agencies (Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch), the Government Agent, and Civil Society investigate this crime against humanity. The climate of impunity that exists in Sri Lanka contributes to the abuse of human rights and extrajudicial killings. The bombing of this orphanage, the execution of the 17 Action Contre la Faim Tamil staff, the abduction of the 7 TRO staff in January, and the continuing denial of humanitarian relief to war displaced in the Trincomalee District are just a few of the recent human rights abuses committed by the government or paramilitaries affiliated with the government.

A building of Sencholai, destroyed in SLAF bombing


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