A report on BBC Tamil service says, the “1,800 rehabilitated LTTE fighters released on Friday, September 30th after having rehabilitated them with skills development”, are yet to be re-united with their parents.
According to a Sri Lanka Department of Information report, “ex-LTTEers underwent a two year rehabilitation programme at 24 rehabilitation centres in the North and the East”.
The “reintegration” event was held under the theme titled in Sinhala as “Ekvenu Sema Nagamu Rata” (Lets get together and uplift the country) and presided by President Rajapaksa and government ministers in the presence of foreign dignitaries, ambassadors and High Commissioners.
The Sri Lankan officials have said that a delay in readiness of issuing skills obtained certificates etc. prevented the ex-cadres joining parents the same day, but anticipate it happening in a matter of days, according to BBC Tamil Service.
At least one other news report has also surfaced with varying views on the recent ceremony of “releasing 1,800 ex-combatants” as well as about the Sri Lanka government run ”rehabilitation” programme.
John Dowd – president of the International Commission of Jurists in Australia is quoted in a news report in The Age of October 3, 2011 as having “condemned the program in the camps as ‘re-education, not rehabilitation’”.
John Dowd who is a former New South Wales attorney-general, also said “Australia was lending legitimacy to a regime that refuses to allow an investigation of alleged war crimes during the country’s vicious civil war”. He was commenting on the participation of Australia’s high commissioner to Sri Lanka, Kathy Klugman at the event on Friday, Sep 30th at the Temple Trees.
According to The Age, “A Foreign Affairs Department spokesman said Australia had not provided any funding for Sri Lanka’s rehabilitation programs.
”Nor has Australia supported activities relating to ex-combatants in detention. Australia has urged the Sri Lankan government to charge or release ex-combatants,” he said”.
In December 2009 during a fie day visit to Sri Lanka UN special envoy on children and armed conflict Maj-Gen Patric Cammaert said examples from across the world showed that children recovered better from trauma when living with their families.
“Hundreds of children are still missing or separated from their parents. They must be reunited as soon as possible,” the Dutch UN official told reporters.
“The aftermath of the conflict makes children extremely vulnerable,” he said. “Women and girls are particularly vulnerable and preventive measures have to be taken to protect them from any form of abuse such as sexual violence.”