SL military, southern traders, encourage child labour in Vanni

[TamilNet, Thursday, 20 January 2011, 07:57 GMT]
Children have become scavengers of scrap metal for their livelihood in the war ravaged Vanni and this ‘economic activity’ finds the blessings of occupying military and re-cycling metal traders coming from the south. Damaged and abandoned vehicles, fittings of un-resettled houses and other buildings, and other vestiges of war are targeted for this trade that actively deploys children to collect the metal. Such conditions of child abuse is a direct result of international community conceding a nation ‘conquered’ in a civil war to the genocidal conquerors and its military. None of those who were talking of ‘child soldiers’ earlier come forward to help the situation now, commented an NGO worker in Vanni. He made a particular note of UNICEF inaction.

Hundreds of children who either lost their parents in the war or who have no earning members in the family have entered into various kinds of labour in Vanni in recent times.

They don’t go to school. First of all there are no facilities. Besides, neither their living conditions nor their emotional atmosphere is conducive for schooling.

The latest lucrative trade that exploit the children is scavenging metal. Many children, most of them less than 15 year-old, from places like, Visuvamadu, Tharumapuram, Naachchikkudaa, Neththaliyaa’ru, Pearaa’ru and Redbarna village of Ki’linochchi and Mullaiththeevu districts have now taken up the job of collecting metal. Sometimes they even cut metal out of roofs and other parts of the buildings that are not resettled in Vanni.

Many traders come from the south every day under the patronage of top SL military officers occupying the Tamil country.

As the occupying army will be cultivating the lands, fisheries encroached and not permitted, trade monopolised by people from the south, and education deliberately discouraged and destroyed, very soon the Eezham Tamils, especially their younger generation will turn into slaves for the advantage of those who speak inside and outside of the island about a ‘home-grown’ solution, commented the NGO worker.


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