THE IMPACT OF ARMED CONFLICT ON CHILD DEVELOPMENT

HEALTH AND NUTRITION PROMOTING PSYCHOLOGICAL RECOVERY AND SOCIAL REINTEGRATION EDUCATION: INVESTING IN THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN Back to Contents

"Even if they have never seen a gun, millions of children suffer from wars, as resources that could have been invested in development are diverted into armaments. Indeed, one of the most distressing realities of our time is that most wars have been fought in precisely those countries that could least afford them."State of the World's Children, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), 1996. The wounds inflicted by armed conflict on children - physical injury, gender-based violence, psychosocial distress, are affronts to every impulse that inspired the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Armed conflict affects all aspects of child development - physical, mental and emotional. Such effects accumulate and interact with each other. To be effective, assistance must take account of each. The impact of armed conflict cannot be fully understood without looking at the related effects on women, families and the community support systems that provide protection and a secure environment for development. Children's well-being is best ensured through family and community-based solutions that draw on local culture and an understanding of child development. The disruption of food supplies, the destruction of crops and agricultural infrastructures, the disintegration of families and communities, the displacement of populations and the destruction of educational and health services and of water and sanitation systems, all take a heavy toll on children. Article 39 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child states that "States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of: any form of neglect, exploitation, or abuse; torture or any other form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment; or armed conflicts. Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment which fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child." Ensuring that health and nutrition, psychosocial well-being and education are priority components of humanitarian assistance is the best way to ensure children's physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration.

HEALTH AND NUTRITION
Armed conflict is a major public health hazard that cannot be ignored. Any disease that caused as much large-scale damage to children would long ago have attracted the urgent attention of public health specialists. When armed conflict kills and maims more children than soldiers, the health sector has a special obligation to speak out. Thousands of children are killed every year as a direct result of fighting - from knife wounds, bullets, bombs and landmines, but many more die from malnutrition and disease caused or increased by armed conflicts. In Mozambique alone, between 1981 and 1988, armed conflict was the cause underlying 454,000 child deaths. Many of today's armed conflicts take place in some of the world's poorest countries, where children are already vulnerable. Children are the most vulnerable to collective assaults on health and well-being. At the height of the conflict in Somalia, more than half the deaths of children in some places were caused by measles. Diarrhoea is another common and often deadly disease. Cholera is a constant threat as exemplified in refugee camps in Bangladesh, Kenya, Malawi, Nepal, Somalia and Zaire. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that half the world's refugees may be infected with tuberculosis, as crowded conditions in refugee camps provide a breeding ground for infections. Malaria and acute respiratory infections, including pneumonia, also claim many lives. Disrupted health services and food supplies In most wars, health facilities come under attack, in direct violation of international humanitarian law. Those facilities that remain open during a conflict are often looted or forced to close down, and the remainder are sometimes difficult to reach because of curfews. Restrictions on travel also hamper the distribution of drugs and other medical supplies, causing health systems' referral services and logistic support to break down. Many of the health services of a country are diverted to the needs of military casualties. Hospitals are forced to neglect the regular care of patients or to shift them to health centres. A concentration on military needs also means that children injured in a conflict may not get effective treatment or rehabilitation. Children living with disabilities get little, if any, support. For children, a dangerous implication of the breakdown of a country's health facilities during conflicts is the disruption of vaccination programmes. Children as "zones of peace" Claiming children as "zones of peace" has become an important concept of humanitarian relief programmes. Commitment to this principle by all warring parties has taken various forms. In El Salvador, beginning in 1985, Government and rebel forces agreed to three "days of tranquillity" during which 250,000 children were immunized against polio, measles, diptheria and other diseases, a process that was repeated annually for six years until the end of the civil war. In Afghanistan in 1988-1989, health teams were permitted to operate in both Government and rebel-held areas, raising vaccination levels in some areas above 80 per cent. In the case of Operation Lifeline Sudan, arrangements were made for "corridors of peace" so that relief supplies and vaccines could be delivered during relative lulls in the conflict.

make it imperative that reproductive health care be given high priority. become fearful of working on plots of land too far from their homes. increased sexual exploitation and rape. Farmers. As conflicts proceed. in the early 1980s in Ethiopia. is even more dangerous in unsettled circumstances. social structures and networks break down. and inadequate health services. the Government's scorched earth policies destroyed hundreds of thousands of acres of foodproducing land. especially those under three years of age. Breastfeeding may be endangered by the mother's loss of confidence in her ability to produce milk. reduces the incidence and severity of infectious diseases and contributes to women's health. the massacre of cattle reduced livestock from around 1.the fragmenting of family and community. warring parties may block relief supplies or divert them for their own use. malnutrition. Breastfeeding provides ideal nutrition for infants. who are often women and older children. and their water sources. Warfare also takes its toll on livestock. Reproductive health The effects of armed conflicts . including many farm households. The general disruption in routine can separate mothers from their children for long periods. care and counselling are especially important for women and girls who have been raped or who have been forced into .000.5 million to 50. it is important to support women's capacity to breastfeed by providing adequate dietary intake for lactating women and ensuring that they are not separated from their children. Sometimes. In times of armed conflict. They reduce the area under cultivation. In the Kongor area of Sudan. risky at all times. rely on market purchases to meet their food needs. In contravention of international law. mothers may experience hunger. landmines prevent the use of agricultural land. Feeding centres for children and vulnerable groups are frequently bombed or attacked. Knowledge about breastfeeding is passed from one generation to the next. hygiene and the time parents have available to care for children. the way children are fed. In many countries. Malnutrition can affect all children. and this can be lost when people flee and families are broken up.One of the most immediate effects of armed conflict is the disruption of food supplies. Most households in developing countries. including poor ante-natal care -. systems of irrigation and flood control may also be destroyed. Malnutrition and the importance of breastfeeding Adequate nourishment depends on the way food is distributed. they can breastfeed adequately despite severe stress. reducing people's ability to buy food. This creates particular problems for young children who rely on milk as part of their basic diet. exhaustion and distress that can make them less able to care for their children. but it causes the greatest mortality and morbidity among young children. Unless mothers are severely malnourished. Health education. Restrictions on movement limit access to such necessities as seeds and fertilizers and stop farmers from taking their produce to market. rapid social change. damage to food systems is deliberate. Economic disarray heightens unemployment. For example. the breakdown of support systems. Yet artificial feeding. During conflicts.

humanitarian and human rights organizations. should encourage paediatricians and all other doctors and health workers to disseminate child rights information and to report rights violations encountered in the course of their work. In war-affected populations. should be ensured to facilitate the fullest possible social integration. water sources and agriculture infrastructures in order to minimize disruption of food supply and production capacities. in collaboration with professional. to enhance local capacities to improve household security on a self-reliant and sustainable basis. whether expatriate or from the host country. The breakdown of health services. An obstacle to the full use of health services in emergencies is that they are often dominated by men. for cultural or religious reasons. gynaecological and paediatric health services are often unavailable. many women and girls. The potential for the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. WHO. One way to overcome this obstacle is to increase the numbers of available female health and protection professionals. As a result. . o Child-focused health needs assessments involving local professionals. o During conflicts. health and care factors and the coping strategies likely to be used by the affected population. Governments and non-State entities should be encouraged to facilitate "days of tranquillity" or "corridors of peace" to ensure continuity of basic child health measures and delivery of humanitarian relief. increases dramatically during conflicts. and should take into account food. and blood transfusion services lacking the ability to screen for HIV/AIDS. contribute to the increase in transmission.prostitution. o Emergency relief should give attention to the rehabilitation of agriculture. Some recommendations for action o Parties to a conflict should be obliged to maintain basic health systems and services and water supplies. young people and communities should be speedily carried out by organizations working in conflict situations. such as the provision of artificial limbs for injured or permanently disabled children. o Parties in conflict should refrain from destroying food crops. o Special attention should be paid to primary health care and the care of children with chronic or acute conditions. including HIV/AIDS. Adequate rehabilitative care. underutilize the services despite risks to their health. livestock and fisheries and to employment or income-generating programmes. o Health professionals must be advocates of the rights of the child.

the ways in which people express. murder or rape. Armed conflict destroys homes. For increasing numbers of children living in war-torn nations. separates families. Helping war-affected children to build on their own strengths and resilience. When children have experienced traumatic or other events in times of war. undermining the very foundation of children's lives. is an important strategy in the process of healing. those concerned with the situation of children during armed conflict have focused primarily on their physical vulnerability. and more than one third of these had actually witnessed the murders. As bad as these experiences are. childhood has become a nightmare. and have been threatened with death themselves. nearly 80 per cent had lost immediate family members. All phases of emergency and reconstruction assistance programmes should take psychosocial considerations into account. In a UNICEF survey of 3. while avoiding the development of separate mental health programmes.030 children in Rwanda in 1995. or they may have nightmares or trouble sleeping. cultural and political contexts and are based on different belief systems. When journalists or researchers encourage a child to relate "horror stories". lose their appetites and withdraw from contact. the . in collaboration with trusted caregivers. Ethical issues and confidentiality must be carefully considered. feel hopeless about the future or develop aggressive behaviour. Although many symptoms of distress have universal characteristics. such explorations with children should take place in a stable. Younger children may have difficulty concentrating in school. splinters communities. many children have witnessed their parents' torture. breaks down trust among people and disrupts health and education services. such as preventing family separation. Older children and adolescents may become anxious or depressed. supportive environment. undertaking practical measures to prevent gender-based violence. they may suffer from increased anxiety about being separated from their families. most children will achieve a sense of healing. Seeing their parents or other important adults in their lives as vulnerable can severely undermine children's confidence and add to their sense of fear. Such programmes should also give priority to preventing further traumatic experiences. The psychosocial concerns intrinsic to child develoment must be taken into account. and avoiding the isolation and stigmatization that can result from institutionalization. Integrating modern knowledge of child development and child rights with local concepts and practices will result in more effective and sustainable ways to meet children's needs. embody and give meaning to their distress are largely dependent on social. grief and fear a child has experienced must also be taken into account. by caregivers who have solid and continuing relationships with the child. Exploring a child's experience with violence and the meaning it holds in her or his life is important to the process of healing and recovery. While many forms of external assistance can help to promote psychosocial recovery. Best practices for recovery Experience has shown that with supportive caregivers and secure communities. But the loss. They may cease playing and laughing.PROMOTING PSYCHOLOGICAL REINTEGRATION RECOVERY AND SOCIAL Historically.

providing children with the intellectual and emotional stimulation through structured group activities such as play. a traditional cleansing ceremony was held to rid her of all the bad things that had befallen her. and providing the opportunity for expression. Rather than focusing on a child's emotional wounds. and was herself forced to serve for two years as a concubine for rebel soldiers. At the girl's wish. and face increased impoverishment.interview can open up old wounds and tear down a child's defenses. washing clothes and working in the fields. This is especially true of children who have been attacked or abused by people previously considered neighbours or friends. After finally managing to escape. including the rites and ceremonies related to growing up and becoming an adult. In addition to having contracted a sexually transmitted infection. These include establishing daily routines such as going to school. It is important that those who wish to help with the healing process have a deep understanding of and respect for the societies in which they are working. A number of activities have been identified as supporting healing by fostering in children a sense of purpose. . Through training and raising awareness of central caregivers. drama and story-telling. sports. A nurse realized there was something particularly wrong with the girl. An African girl at the age of 10 was made to witness her mother's rape and murder. as well as those associated with death. but it is particularly important for those who are a part of children's daily lives. Encouraged by the nurse's soft and caring treatment. Rebuilding the ability to trust is a universal challenge in the wake of conflicts. as happened in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia. they should also understand local culture and practices. including a fundamental loss of trust in others. burial and mourning. economic and cultural factor in child development. where she developed a close relationship with her foster mother. both physically and emotionally. programmes should aim to support healing processes and re-establish a sense of normalcy. Children who have been continually exposed to violence almost always experience a significant change in their beliefs and attitudes. including parents. caring and nurturing relationship with adults. attachment and trust that comes from a stable. self-esteem and identity. families are worn down by conflicts. Aside from knowing the basic principles of child development and the way it is understood locally. she was very withdrawn and sad. preparing food. Empowering families and communities in the healing process The family is essential to children's care and protection and is an important social. she went for treatment at the provincial hospital. But often. Children who are photographed and identified by name can become vulnerable to additional harassment. She repeated it later to a social worker and was moved to a foster home. teachers and community health workers. drawing. the girl told her story. a diversity of programmes can enhance the community's ability to provide for children and vulnerable groups.

They should also give priority to preventing further traumatic experiences. and an understanding of political and social realities and children's rights. Often. This could involve mobilizing a refugee community to support suitable foster families or extended family systems for the care of unaccompanied children. promote justice and respect for human rights and enhance peace. They should mobilize the community care network around children. o Programmes to support psychosocial well-being should include local culture. o Rather than focusing on a child's emotional wounds. Institutional approaches can contribute to isolation and stigmatization and have proven ineffective. stability and interdependence. while avoiding the development of separate mental health programmes. United Nations. Education also serves much broader functions. EDUCATION: INVESTING IN THE FUTURE OF CHILDREN Education has a crucial preventive and rehabilitative part to play in fulfilling the needs and rights of children in conflict and post-conflict situations. closure or looting.The most effective and sustainable approach to recovery is to mobilize the existing social care system. Impact of Armed Conflict on Children. In rural areas the school building may be the only substantial permanent structure. It gives shape and structure to children's lives and can instil community values. making the overall task of postwar recovery even more difficult. If countries continue to employ four times as many soldiers as teachers. Unfortunately. and Governments will continue to fail children and break the promises made to them through ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Lost education and vocational skills take years to replace. Another alternative is to provide care through peer-group living arrangements that are strongly integrated into communities. making it highly susceptible to shelling. . The destruction of education networks represents one of the greatest developmental setbacks for countries affected by armed conflict. education and social systems will remain fragile and inadequate. o Governments. donors and relief organizations should prevent the institutionalization of children. When groups of children considered vulnerable. it should be done with the full cooperation of the community so as to ensure their long-term reintegration. 1996. are singled out for special attention. programmes should aim to support healing processes and re-establish a sense of normalcy. local teachers are prime targets because they are important community members or because they may hold strong political views. not even schools are safe from attack during times of armed conflict. Some recommendations for action o All phases of emergency and reconstruction assistance programmes should take psychosocial considerations into account. such as child soldiers. perceptions of child development.

They may be afraid that the children will not be safe while they are on their way to and from school. In Sierra Leone. alternative sites for classrooms can be established. The efforts of United Nations agencies and other organizations to meet the educational service needs of children affected by conflict require significantly increased support. Sometimes.During armed conflicts. Similar arrangements were made during the height of the fighting in many places in the former Yugoslavia. it is important to carry on educating children and young people. non-traditional teachers. The pack contains basic materials: brushes and paints. including mothers and adolescents. Refugee children can sometimes attend regular schools in host countries. Since schools are likely to be targets for military attack. One important innovation in educating children in emergency situations has been the development by the United Nations Educational. . where children attended primary schools in tents on a shift basis. Educational activity must be established as a priority component of all humanitarian assistance. often by candlelight. Teachers can recognize signs of stress in children as well as impart vital survival information on issues such as personal safety and health or the dangers of landmines. where classes were held in the cellars of people's homes. pencils and exercise books. Creative ways to maintain education Even in situations of armed conflict. paper. as provided for in international law. As conflicts drag on for months or even years. as was done in Eritrea in the late 1980s when classes were often held under trees. parents may be reluctant to send their children to school. pens. Mothers and fathers may need their children to work in the fields.or to allow international agencies to provide -. Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and UNICEF of a Teacher's Emergency Pack (TEP). Some host Governments refuse to provide -. Such systems are especially valuable for girls when parents are reluctant to have them travel far from home.educational activity for refugee children. They can also promote tolerance and respect for human rights. It was first used in Somalia in 1992 and further refined in the refugee camps in Djibouti. fear and disruption make it difficult to create an atmosphere conducive to learning. even when educational opportunities exist in war-torn areas. chalk. were trained and deployed. though very few get the opportunity to do so. The packs were widely used for Rwandan refugees at Ngara in Tanzania. no matter how difficult the circumstances. establishing schooling systems as soon as possible reassures everyone by signaling a degree of stability and a return to normal roles and relationships within the family and community. Education promotes their psychosocial and physical well-being. When children have been forced to leave their homes and are crowded into displaced persons camps. otherwise known as "schoolin-a-box". Education can also be strengthened through a variety of community channels. or during classes. and the morale of both teachers and pupils is likely to be low. in shops or at home caring for the youngest children. in caves or in camouflaged huts built from sticks and foliage. Education can also incorporate flexible systems of "distance learning": home or group study using pre-packaged teaching materials complemented by broadcast and recorded media. economic and social conditions suffer and educational opportunities become more limited or even cease to exist altogether.

a number of countries have already undertaken peace education programmes. problem solving. social justice. While such initiatives are not always successful. In Sri Lanka. o Preparation should also be made for sustaining education outside of formal school buildings. Some of the groundwork for this can be laid in schools. integrating traditional values of cooperation through religious and community leaders with international legal standards. o Donors should extend the boundaries of emergency funding to include support for education. For example. The Student Palaver Conflict Management Programme in Liberia employs adolescents as resources in peer conflict resolution and mediation activities in schools. using community facilities and strengthening alternative education through a variety of community channels. jointly undertaken in 1989 by the Lebanese Government. a group of Sri Lankan children who had lost one or both parents in the civil war were refused entry to primary school because they had no birth certificates and no money to pay the high fee demanded to issue a new one. An innovative element is the programme's use of various public media to reach out-of-school children and other sectors of the community. respect for human rights and the acceptance of responsibility. Educating for peace All sectors of society must come together to build "ethical frameworks". The establishment of educational activity. and indeed promote active protection of such services. The children received their birth certificates and were able to attend school. should be accepted as a priority component of humanitarian assistance. Children need to learn the skills of negotiation.When public sector agencies are absent or severely weakened. Some recommendations for action o All possible efforts should be made to maintain education systems during conflicts. now benefits thousands of children. NGOs. An international NGO working in the country brought the situation to the notice of the National Child Rights Coalition. community groups and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) can support local educational administrators in their efforts to keep children in schools. The international community must insist that Government or non-State entities involved in conflicts not target educational facilities. To achieve these goals. including the provision of teaching aids and basic education materials. youth volunteers and UNICEF. critical thinking and communication that will enable them to resolve conflicts without resorting to violence. such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. the Education for Peace Programme. an Education for Conflict Resolution Programme has been integrated into primary and secondary school education. Both the content and the process of education should promote peace. they are indispensable to the eventual rehabilitation of a shattered society. In Lebanon. which took it up with the education authorities. .

.o As soon as camps are established for refugees or internally displaced persons. children and youth should be brought together for educational activities. Teachers should be trained to understand the ways in which conflict affects children as well as to impart vital survival information on issues such as landmines. measures to promote safety and security. health and promoting respect for human rights. o Support for the re-establishment and continuity of education must be a priority strategy for donors and NGOs in conflict and post-conflict situations. for example. Incentives for attendance should also be encouraged through.

and peaceful living. interpersonal. 1). 1999. or attempting to prevent armed conflict? Three examples are presented below: Croatia’s “Trauma Healing and Peaceful Problem Solving” project In 1996. equality of sexes. the most widely ratified human rights treaty in the history of the world (only the United States and Somalia have yet to ratify it). youth and adults to prevent conflict and violence. 1989) Those words are taken from article 29 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. conflict resolution education is subsumed under the term “peace education”. recovering from. It embodies the ideals of many of us who are involved in conflict resolution education. and holding in-service workshops for teachers. now a part of the Association for Conflict Resolution) “The education of the child shall be directed to…the development of respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms… the preparation of the child for responsible life in a free society. and the Croatian Ministry of Education. national and religious groups…” (United Nations. connecting schools through mutual supervision visits. intergroup. What is the nature of peace education projects in these war-affected countries? What lessons can these projects teach other countries that are undergoing. national or international level" (Fountain. While this should be an essential component of quality education in all countries. to resolve conflict peacefully. it is a fundamental right for all children. initiatives have been undertaken to ensure the program’s sustainability. Rather. in the spirit of understanding. skills. In the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). UNICEF developed a “Trauma Healing and Peaceful Problem Solving” project for primary schools in the heavily war-affected Western and Eastern Slavonia regions. peace. and friendship among all peoples. attitudes and values needed to bring about behavior changes that will enable children. Za Damire I . conflict resolution. November-December 2000. Since 1998. Volume 93. The project’s aim is to facilitate multiethnic reconciliation through a series of interactive learning sessions on trauma healing. including networking programme leaders. the Conflict Resolution Education Network. both overt and structural. The project’s manual for teachers.The Impact of Conflict Resolution Education on Children in Armed Conflict Opportunities and challenges in UNICEF projects Susan Fountain (The Fourth R. whether at an intra-personal. p. tolerance. there is a tendency in UNICEF for peace education projects to be initiated primarily in countries that are experiencing armed conflict. ethnic. 3-6 Published by CREnet. pp. McMaster University. in co-operation with CARE. a process of “promoting the knowledge. bias awareness. and to create the conditions conducive to peace. it declares that this type of education is not a curricular add-on to be squeezed into an already over-crowded school day. Significantly.

and co-operation focus on building self-esteem. Gira Amahoro. Coverage has now been extended to grades 3 and 4 of primary school. has been periodically revised based on comments and suggestions from participating teachers. They learn skills of consensus building. and understanding conflict resolution and human rights. a significant finding given the short duration of the program. Burundi’s “Let’s Build Peace” project In response to the social effects of the 1993 interethnic killings. The project is implemented in a 20-week series of extra-curricular sessions. Participants reported an improved psychosocial environment in the classrooms involved in the program. a project was developed to train librarians on educating for a culture of peace and tolerance. Six sessions on affirmation. cooperation. its roots. Four sessions on conflict resolution help children understand the nature of conflict. and existing primary school manuals have been revised to incorporate peace education concepts. children from two different schools are paired.Nemire. The manual contains 35 activity sessions that explore themes such as solidarity. Initially. Improved self-esteem in female students was also noted. UNICEF Croatia has also supported a schoolbased “Youth for Youth Peer Mediation” project. and on how to work with parents on these issues. Since 1999. The project. And the University of Zagreb has developed an “Education for Development” concentration for pre-service teachers. skills for collaborative group work. Three sessions on bias-awareness use group work and art exercises to enable children to explore ethnic similarities and differences. called “Let’s Build Peace. Five sessions on trauma healing help children work through feelings of loss and grief. commitment to justice. cooperation and problem-solving not through teacher- . and build their understanding of the impact of prejudice. such as repairing a health center or creating a playground. communication. active listening. As public libraries have traditionally served as community centers and gathering places in Croatian society. 1997). 1999). anger and rage about their war experiences. Evaluators found that the program significantly decreased post-traumatic stress among children who participated. and rights and duties. In this approach. Recognizing that healing for war-affected children takes place in many different contexts. a pilot project for 25 schools has placed an emphasis on the development of peace-building “school-to-school” projects. mutual respect. cooperation.and post-test design with experimental and control groups (UNICEF Croatia. dialogue. UNICEF and the Burundi Ministry of Basic Education and Adult Literacy launched a peace education program in 1994. to help them integrate communication. equity. and work together to decide on a project that will benefit their community. student books have been developed. and alternative ways to respond to conflict. Participants also expressed reduced negative attitudes towards Serbs. Two final sessions on peaceful living help children explore ways to make peace in their daily lives. conflict resolution and children’s rights issues into the existing curriculum.” has incorporated peace education into the national curriculum (UNICEF Burundi. The impact of the project on children was evaluated after its first year using a pre. The Trauma Healing and Peaceful Problem Solving Project is only one of several projects relating to conflict resolution education in Croatia. the project supplied teachers of grades 5 and 6 with a teacher’s manual.

Since 1993. Armed conflict has affected the teaching staff as well. but through the practical experience of working together on a project that will benefit all. While attendance rates are now rising. can over time build a broad social consensus around the need for nonviolent conflict resolution. Due to the on-going civil conflict. Teachers in these centers are being trained in integrating peace education into informal literacy classes. But while dancing and playing together. UNICEF Burundi continues to believe that popular means of communication such as street theater.directed lessons. the provision of the most basic educational services has been jeopardized. It presents the relationship of a cat and a dog who are initially good friends. Performances are followed by facilitated discussions on the themes of peace and reconciliation. and many more have been damaged and looted. A further challenge for peace education in Burundi is the fact that not all children attend primary school. It is not a school-based project. offer learning opportunities to children who cannot attend school on a regular basis. However. Peace education in Burundi has faced formidable challenges. 20% of all primary schools have been destroyed. and the resultant erratic school attendance of children. learning the skills to facilitate the kinds of experiential learning commonly used in peace education may not be a priority during times of civil conflict. The play has been presented all over the country.and center-based peace education projects. When the two are called upon to protect a bag of beans. but a social mobilization effort that is bringing together activist youth and youth organizations to address the needs of children affected by civil conflict. teachers without qualifications have been recruited and are being trained in basic teaching skills. However. The provision of basic educational facilities and supplies is crucial to providing psychosocial support to children during times of crisis. located in many communities. skills and behaviors has been hampered by civil unrest and frequent displacement of populations. . for untrained or undertrained teachers. as well as creating a context in which peace education can take place. UNICEF engaged a local puppet theater group to develop a play entitled Alone. Evaluation of the impact of these projects on children’s attitudes. only 43% of school-age children were attending school. 25% of all primary school teachers in Burundi have either been killed or gone into exile. in these regions. During periods of widespread conflict in the 1990’s. Since 1993. and on the streets. camps for the internally displaced. We’re Nothing. raising awareness throughout society in the process. Colombia’s “Children’s Movement for Peace” The Children’s Movement for Peace in Colombia is stretching the definition of what it means to “educate” for peace. Regions seriously affected by violence do not attract qualified teachers. the dog slips on some beans and accuses the cat of pushing him. peace education efforts must reach those unreached by schools. combined with school. they realize that they need to help each other to succeed and the two reconcile. To reach the many children and adults who cannot attend either schools or literacy centers. in community centers. Informal literacy centers.

and religious institutions – as potential “educators” for peace. the media. because they thought that finding ways for children to have fun was a way of promoting peace. but can be brought about through active participation in local issues. Children aged 7 to 18 voted on which of their human rights were most important. as well as UNICEF experiences with peace education in other countries. freedom of expression and peace. Hundreds of teenagers received training as counselors for children displaced by violence. increased abilities to plan projects.The Children’s Movement for Peace was founded in 1996 with support from UNICEF Colombia and a national network for peace known as Redepaz. children organized “peace carnivals” for poor and displaced children. The projects sponsored by the Children’s Movement for Peace are as varied as the children who participate in them. Its first act was to mobilize millions of children to vote in a national children’s election -. equality. The youth work with younger children on trauma healing in a region where adult counselors are reluctant to go. The vote galvanized the adult Colombian public. helping to transform a previously fragmented peace movement into a political force.known as the Children’s Mandate for Peace and Rights. Such governments have sprung up in towns and villages around the country. and to enlist their support in advocating for non-violent approaches to conflict resolution. A broad view “education”: Conflict resolution education in countries at war should not be confined to school-based activities. Youth members of the project also researched Colombia’s constitution and found that they had a constitutional right to form a local “government of children”. . suggest a number of factors that could be taken into consideration in designing effective CRE programs in situations of armed conflict. The children’s governments and town meetings have drawn national attention to the fact that making peace in Colombia must be tied to the fulfillment of children’s rights. In two towns that had a long history of feuding with each other. with children electing their own mayors and running their own town meetings. Together they are pushing forward an agenda on children’s rights to health. justice. heightened awareness of rights issues. It is necessary to understand the role of a range of civil society institutions -. participation. The children overwhelmingly voted for the rights to life and to peace. in what they call the “Return to Happiness” project.such as non-governmental organizations. because of the danger of violence. Implications for CRE in war-affected countries What generalizations about conflict resolution education in war-affected countries can be drawn from these very different experiences? The three projects mentioned above. and improved decision-making skills among participating children. The experience of the Children’s Movement for Peace indicates that such changes are not dependent on the introduction of a conflict resolution curriculum in school. In one town. 1998). education. freedom from discrimination. and inspiring new ways of responding to the needs of children living in situations of violence (Cameron. youth groups and centers. Project reports point to the development of self-esteem and assertiveness. young people organized play sessions in which children from both towns could come together and interact in new ways.

p. NGO’s and others in designing conflict resolution education programs. as they are doing in Colombia and Burundi. religious and civic leaders. the police. the opportunities for both healing and learning new forms of social interaction appear to expand. displacement. They and their family members have been attacked and even killed. Until these children have had the opportunity to process their emotions and experiences in culturally appropriate ways. Improving teacher education: Teachers in war-affected countries often have minimal educational backgrounds. 1). poverty and economic injustice. Conflict resolution programs must address these issues. the military. conflict resolution education is unlikely to have much impact. Young people are more likely to “buy in” to conflict resolution education if they see a commitment on the part of the adults in their lives – parents. have been harassed. . politicians – to put peaceful problem-solving into practice themselves. Rather. torture and rape. Security issues: Around the world. Many “imported” conflict resolution education programs are seen as irrelevant in war-affected countries because of their primary focus on social skills. or take action in their communities. the use of interactive learning methods. Children in war-affected countries rarely experience armed conflict as resulting from a lack of interpersonal skills. 1992. Linking conflict resolution and psychosocial healing: War-affected children may have experienced injury. Opportunities to participate: The experience of youth in Colombia indicates that participation in concrete action is not only an effective way of learning skills relating to conflict resolution. threatened with violence. political disenfranchisement. yet another reason to think beyond the schoolyard and involve the media. many children in war-affected countries are not in school. to name a few causes. It is also an antidote to the despair. they may have witnessed the torture. and the commitment of youth. teachers. Educating adults: Young people in war-affected countries. young people in war-affected countries who speak out on behalf of peace. Linking conflict resolution and social justice: Coupled with a focus on the inner emotional realities of children. Their training is unlikely to have included the teaching of social skills.Reaching the unreached: As in the case of Burundi. when asked about peace education. not to the innocent who suffer its consequences” (Sholkamy. and the international community. and forced to flee their homes. frustration and anger that young people may feel as a result of the violence in their lives over which they have no control. or how to debrief an experiential activity. or lack of sustainable development. Where psychosocial intervention and conflict resolution are combined. rape and killing of their family members or been forced to participate in such atrocities. often respond that “peace should be taught to those who wage the wars. popular theater. Building opportunities for action into conflict resolution programs can increase their impact. conflict resolution education needs to look outward at the wider social context in which conflict is taking place. as they have been in Croatia. It is essential that local and national governments. conflict results from institutionalized racism or ethnocentrism. take immediate action to protect the safety and security of young people who choose to exercise their right to take part in peace-building processes.

Making peace with children: The power of child rights and participation against war in Colombia (unpublished article). The prospects and problems for peace education in the MENA region (unpublished paper). Summary by the Chairs of the Experts’ Meeting. Rather than simply re-instituting curricula and practices that fueled social and economic division prior to the outbreak of armed conflict.Further. P. Bujumbura: UNICEF Burundi. 1999. Amman: UNICEF Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa. 1999. this must be an on-going and long-term process. they may have never had the opportunity to reflect critically on their own values and practices relating to conflict resolution.. and conflict resolution skills” (Pigozzi. 13-15 September. J. The Convention on the Rights of the Child. 1989. Pigozzi. H. 1998. Basic education for peace. UNICEF Croatia. collaborate with others and respect diversity is the key to a future free of armed conflict. Canada: International Conference on WarAffected Children. Fountain.. New York: UNICEF.. Caught in the crossfire no more: A framework for commitment to war-affected children. United Nations. Zagreb: Croatian Ministry of Education and Sports/UNICEF Croatia/CARE/ McMaster University. The author presents an elicitive model for conflict transformation in international settings. M. where the international community declared that “Good quality education which enables children to think critically.” (International Conference on War-Affected Children. This view was echoed at the September 2000 International Conference on War-Affected Children. and skills for peaceful conflict resolution. International Conference on War-Affected Children. solve problems. Resources on conflict resolution education in international settings and war-affected countries: Lederach. social justice. UNICEF Burundi. Increasingly. 2000. S. Education in emergencies and for reconstruction: A developmental approach (Working paper series: UNICEF/PD/ED/99-1). 2000. and the values and practices of teachers themselves. As demonstrated in Croatia and Burundi.. . 1997. rather than recipients. Peace Education in UNICEF (Working paper series: UNICEF/PD/ED/99003). 1999). based on the values of using indigenous knowledge and the participation of local people as resources. 1992.. Sholkamy. Winnipeg. Bogota: UNICEF Colombia. New York: UNICEF. but it nonetheless has a key role to play in alleviating the unacceptable suffering that war has inflicted on children. p. 5). education in armed conflict is being seen by UNICEF and other humanitarian agencies as an opportunity for transforming educational systems (Pigozzi. 1999. Quality education that incorporates peace and conflict resolution education may be only one part of a more complex solution. S. References: Cameron. Effective teacher education must address both learning processes. 2000). 1999. School based health and peace initiative: Trauma healing and peaceful problem solving program for primary schools in Western and Eastern Slavonia: Evaluation report. Yet “teachers operating from stances that include prejudice and stereotyping cannot help children learn respect. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press. Preparing for Peace. 1995. educational systems can be re-built in ways that promote increased economic and social justice.

Communicating Across Cultures.html This site contains practical activities and classroom resources for teaching about children and war.unicef. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Voices of Youth http://www.unicef.edu/pr/index.com/article. Resolving Identity-Based Conflict. Children’s Movement for Peace.ginie..org/initiative/p-colombia.org/voy/ http://www.html The GINIE site focuses on projects that improve the quality of education worldwide.pitt. International Broadcasting Trust http://www.latinolink.php3/000414pazc These two links provide additional information on the Children’s Movement for Peace. 1999. Guilford Press. Global Information Networks in Education (University of Pittsburgh) http://www.gc.ca/ The official conference site contains background information and video clips on the issues affecting children in war zones.unicef. this book examines an alternative model for addressing identity-based conflicts that occur within and between groups. as well as a discussion forum where young people from around the world can communicate their views on the issues. The Section on “Education for Peace and Reconciliation” includes project descriptions and materials from conflict resolution Eine PDF-Version dieser Seite herunterladen .org/voy/meeting/war/warhome.sched.org/ http://ginie.waraffectedchildren. S.oneworld.. Based on Rothman’s work with groups in the Middle East. Ting-Toomey.Rothman. J.html This UNICEF site for young people contains a section with information on Children and War. and effective conflict management skills for handling intercultural conflicts that arise from these differences. Colombia http://www.org/ibt/ibt_war_classroom.htm http://www. The author describes selected dimensions of cultural variability. 1997. International Conference on War-Affected Children http://www.

displacement.000 war orphans in Batticaloa district. A Special Program for Assistance for Children and Women Affected by Armed Conflict in Sri Lanka 2000-2001.’ April 30. 270. 2002) Sri Lanka is seventh in the world in number of internally displaced persons.000. and political arrangements and areas of responsibility have still to be finalized.’ Center for Development Research. Sriskandarajah. (D. more freedom of movement and more provision of supplies to previously isolated populations. attempts to weaken the indigenous population in areas the LTTE controls. torture. compassion. Well over a million Tamils have fled overseas. Sri Lanka. Jeyaraj. are the reasons war-affected children in Sri Lanka deserve more attention. ‘War affected Tamil children of the North-East. all of whom have been seriously affected by the war. shelter or by direct injury.(D. 2001) A roughest estimate of the number of children killed in the war is 35. ‘The Migration-Development Nexus: Sri Lanka case study.000 have returned to their home area with little or no assistance since the February. plus the longevity and the sustainable chaos of the conflict. no further shelling. rape. children. These large numbers. Feb. Since the ceasefire came into effect in February 2002. Of the million Tamil IDPs.S. 2002) Half the Tamil population has been displaced at least once during the war. 1999) If one adds children affected by the war outside the Northeast. a rough estimate of 1 million war-affected children can be presumed. which include Sinhalese children. Denmark. March. An estimated 300. UNICEF estimates that there are 900. and general indifference by the government to a politically and economically marginalized community have all contributed to the miserable condition of these. food. primarily Tamil. the situation throughout the island has improved significantly.B.(UNICEF. mass arrest and prolonged detention. 2002). There are efforts to de-mine some areas and some people have started returning to their homes.000 children are displaced due to the war (Reuters. poor health care and education. ‘Sri Lankan children plead for peace. 2002 ceasefire. March 24.000 out of probable total direct casualties of 70-80. so improvements in health. Few funds are available for rehabilitation. more personal security. however. Colombo. disappearance. Children from the Northeast have been particularly at risk from malnutrition.IMPACT OF WAR ON CHILDREN IN SRI LANKA by Avis Sri-Jayantha Introduction – Children from the Northeast are the part of the island’s population that has been most seriously affected by the war. says that there are 6. education and the economic situation of the family are taking place only slowly. There has been no further displacement. UNHCR estimates that about about 235. many of whom remain displaced. MP.. It is not known how . either through a lack of education.’ The Sunday Leader. Joseph Pararajasingam. roughly one in four. shelling and aerial bombing. Efforts by the security forces to eliminate the rebels in the areas the military controls.000 children in the Northeast. most having moved multiple times.000 of these are Tamil children.(UNHCR Global IDP Project.

(MIOT. Maternal mortality is at least twice as high as the rest of the country.(N. only 4% of the children in the area were wasted. poor personal and environmental hygiene. Sivarajah. ‘Sri Lanka’s health service is a casualty of 20 years of war. 2000) In LTTE areas these factors have been compounded by undercounting of the displaced population and delays in getting allocated rations to those qualifying.(Medical Institute of Tamils. poor education and lack of income were blamed for the malnutrition found. 36% are stunted and the remaining are small for their age. dropping out of school. but 38% for Tamils in ‘uncleared’ areas. London. along with people returning to their homes.40% of the total population of 500. while that in the Northeast has undoubtedly risen. 2002) In 2000 the Poverty Impact Monitoring Unit surveyed Trincomalee District and found that stunting of children was 42% for Tamils in areas held by the LTTE. lack of access to health services.000 . Sivarajah. The government has taken sole responsibility for providing for those in need.(N. is poverty. May 15. 9.’ Feb.) Only 34 of 108 midwife positions in the Vanni (areas of the north controlled by the LTTE) are filled.(Sunday Observer. 2002). has declined by 63% since 1982 and . MD. Infant mortality has at least quadrupled in the Jaffna peninsula since the start of the war and is at least twice the rest of Sri Lanka. infectious diseases. 25% among Sinhalese and 14% among Muslims. May 5. compared to 23 for the island as a whole. but that of the Northeast has been devastated. 17% for Muslims and 15% for Sinhalese.’ WFP.many of the returnees are children. For instance. inadequate maternal and child care. etc. seasonal food shortages. Sept. to one in five of all newborns.cit. A recent survey by the University of Jaffna of the population in IDP camps in the Jaffna peninsula .. 2001) A major cause of malnutrition. In 1976. London.cit. in the Northeast since the war began. ‘Nutritional Survey of Welfare Centres in Jaffna District. 2002) Malnutrition . op. UNICEF’s Ted Chaiban said that about three quarters of the 400.showed that 23% of the children under 5 are wasted. The economy of all of Sri Lanka has been affected by the war.) Anemia is found in a high proportion of pregnant & lactating women. the infant mortality rate was 41/1000 live births. March 19. Oct. so outside organizations cannot supplement its rations. 22.(TamilNet. 27% in ‘cleared’ areas.Indicators of general well-being of children in the war zones declined dramatically during the 19 years of war.000 school-age population in the war-hit regions lived as refugees. the main source of protein. or acute malnutrition was 13% at the national level. the absolute number of IDPs counted keeps rising. MD. Sivarajah. op. Infant mortality . poor living conditions. June12. 2002) The previous undercounting of affected populations was one of the least savory aspects of the war. so in November. Wasting. Proceedings of the International Conference on Health. Nov. (AP. 68% of the children returning to government-controlled Trincomalee since the ceasefire are underweight. 1994) Today the infant mortality rate for southern Sri Lanka is 14/1000 (The Island. fishing in this area. (N. Feb. 34% for Tamils in army-controlled areas. before the war. (MSF. However. Displacement. There has been a three-fold increase in low birth weight babies. 1997) In a 1993 survey in Jaffna./March 2001 in Tamil Times. half the national average.Malnutrition among children in areas not under government control is roughly estimated to be over 60% by Redd Barna and other NGOs.

current Sri Lankan Minister of Rehabilitation. May 25. Jayawardene. dispair. 17. were subject to government embargo. and drugs and medical materials are often critically low. Somasundaram."(UNICEF. Sept."(MSF.) Health . op. Immediately afterwards the Red Cross ship.25%.41%. ‘Sri Lankan Children in Crisis. cordon and search operations. injury. midwives and public health inspectors that mean that unqualified health volunteers are left in charge of caring for the population.. They have been the direct victims and witnesses of war and human rights . especially in IDP camps. either to death or displacement. family break-up. Medecins Sans Frontiers did a survey on Nov. Vavuniya -5%. ‘Child Soldiers:Understanding the Context.was banned from travelling to the North. Trincomalee . surgical gloves. Batticaloa .The UNICEF publication.. "A Program for Special Assistance for Children and Women Affected by Armed Conflict in Sri Lanka 2000 – 2001" states. 9. 2002) "Growing up displaced and in a heavily militarised environment can lead to psychological stress.For seven years many essential supplies to the Wanni. approximately 50% of whom were children. shooting. Ampara . alcoholism. "It would be difficult to imagine a group of people suffering more from the psychological trauma of war. "Children’s right to survival is seriously threatened by the particularly dilapidated state of the health services infrastructure. and oxygen. including basic items such as sutures..30%.’ Fall.’ July 20."(Medical Institute of Tamils. Jeyaraj. grenade explosions. 2001) "Relief agency representatives are often afraid to speak out.S. 7. 1997) Trauma . ‘A Forgotten Generation: the effect of the civil conflict on Tamil children in the North and East of Sri Lanka.000 people were in these camps at the time. 2002) In 1997 and 1998 53% of malaria patients in Sri Lanka were in the north. (D."(1999) According to MSF. London. helicopter strafing. "Most medical professionals have fled [conflict areas of the north].27%.) Some of these people have been in IDP camps for over 15 years. Kilinochchi .’ British Medical Journal. according to Dr.In September." (D. ‘Sri Lanka’s health service is a casualty of 20 years of war. violence and suicides. is alarmingly high.. Jaffna . In 1998 the Ministry of Rehabilitation compiled the following estimate of families in which the main breadwinner has been lost. Oct. Jaffna in which many displaced civilians were killed.. yet are not allowed to leave Vavuniya.’ in Vavuniya. deaths. As a result.cit. severe shortages of doctors.’ Feb. Approximately 175. fearing that they will be denied access to the region. destruction.. the ICRC issued a press release on the bombing of a church in Navaly.cit. and landmines. even those under 10. 2001) Nearly 25 percent of children in conflict areas have lost one or both parents.Population displacement has led to a rise in infectious diseases and malnutrition.(Canadian Tamil Congress.55%.17%. while 80% of the country’s deaths occurred there. detention.. mass arrests. Mullaitheevu . malaria has increased 20-fold since the conflict began.B.agricultural output by 47%. round ups.(Times of India."In the civil war that has been in progress for almost two decades children have been traumatised by common experiences such as shelling. 1995. MSF reports that..(Canadian Tamil Congress. who are Tamils from the north who have fled the war. 2000 amongst the inhabitants of the government-controlled IDP camps or ‘welfare centers. op. 2002) Suicide among children.

15%. 10% a grandparent. 17% had been maltreated by police or army personnel and 11% tortured. 14. 2000) Education . going without home. with a mean number of stresses per child of 4.402 (85). ‘Psychological trauma of the civil war in Sri Lanka’. lack of food . the following exposure to war had occurred to these children: disrupted schooling and displacement of home.(Ceylon Daily News. There are 1. while the national average is 14% of children not in school.(MSF.817 are functioning. Somasundaram. 7% of those in the welfare centers had lost a partner. On average the people had been displaced 3 times before reaching the centers.94 . they have been cut off from employment and the hope of self-reliance.abuses. 2002) Surveys in schools in Jaffna district showed the following war stress in adolescents: threat to life . This means that at least one third of the children from these areas were not in school as a result of the war.80%. Robert Chase.(www. and remain confined to squalid conditions that amplify the psychological trauma of the past and exacerbate mental health problems. yet in many cases the camps have been moved directly adjacent to the schools.( D. 2002) 300 schools have been displaced because of fighting according to the Ceylon Tamil Teachers’ Union.) In a survey done of 170 Tamil and Muslim school children done in 2000 in Batticaloa by Dr. so intimidation still occurs. op.’ Jan.32%. The Education Ministry says that 75. said that in the Northeast as a whole 1 in 5 children do not attend school. 2002) 20 schools in the Jaffna peninsula were entirely occupied by the Sri Lankan armed forces. April 27.com.(TamilNet. 10. multiple occasions . forced separation from parents for longer than one month . disappearance of family member (following abduction or detention. direct family member killed by war fighting -15%. 12% of the people in the survey had been attacked. of which only 1. displacement (before 1995) .25%. three times the national average. 28% had been arrested or kidnapped.15%. The Lancet.53%. 2003) Last year the ex-UNICEF resident representative. presumed dead) . 14.20.39%. 2002 ceasefire is that the military must move out of schools and other public buildings. 18% a sibling. Jan.989 schools in the Northeast according to official sources. 2002) One of the terms of the February.eelamnation.19%. food or water . e. Elroy Gabrielle. 2002) The number of schools functioning in each of the 8 districts (followed by the number temporarily closed in parentheses) is: Jaffna . shooting and/or bombing.89%. 12% parents. (The Butterfly Garden. (TamilNet. witnessing violence .g. 9% a child. detention ." The suicide rate in the centers is 103 per 10.8.cit.7%.000 who enrolled each year during the war. Jan. injury . war death of a relation . Dec. ‘Sri Lanka’s peace bid encouraging more children to go to school. direct exposure to shelling. torture . Jan.(TamilNet. Mannar .39%.90%. compared to 40.000 students enrolled in the first year of primary school in the war zones this January. 17% had been taken hostage or detained.000 to 50. economic problems -34%. The letter of this agreement has been followed in the main. extreme poverty and deprivation due to the war.Education in the Northeast has been severely affected by the war.6%.4%. (AP. Almost 50% were seperated from family members and a quarter had family members who had attempted suicide. Jan. 2002) 150 schools had army camps or sentry posts established in them before the ceasefire.000. seeing dead bodies. both in the percentages of children attending school and the quality of education. 13. Literacy was over 80% before the war and 99% of children attended school up to Grade 5 before 1990. 172 have shut due to the war.

) According to Amnesty International. teachers 228. 2001 an officer of the government’s Excise Dept.students 8. Mullaithivu . Kilinochchi ."(cited in Canadian Tamil Congress. op. Nov.296.90 (4). 2001) In May. said that the government sends Jaffna liquor (on the ships that were Jaffna’s only supply line until very recently) more regularly than textbooks.400 (4). Ampara . Mullaitivu zone . so each teacher is responsible for 148 students. execution. 1. Sept. Over half of the teachers in these areas are volunteers. ‘Sri Lankan Children in Crisis.) Adolescents have disappeared on a regular basis over the course of the war. Vavuniya . 2001) Because of displacement and other reasons for nonattendance at school.(TamilNet.’(ASA 37/10/99. (AP.95 (10). 801.181 (12). teachers 515.students 36.’ June.(21). Dec.700 children are displaced. Trincomalee ."(Somasundaram. a large scale program to allow children to catch up to their own age group is needed. 15% of the 600 people who disappeared in 1996 in the Jaffna peninsula were children. teachers 320.000 (Ceylon Daily News. 1999) Rape of girls in areas under army control is a major problem.cit. UNICEF says the increasing number of children dropping out of school is due to a shortage of trained teachers and the need for children to supplement their families’ income. and they are often detained for interrogation. with allegations of 150 cases per year in the northeast by police and security forces. 17. Feb. 13. Batticaloa . Tamils are quite bitter at the world’s acquiescence in this practice.cit.900 children are married.000 children do not attend school on a regular basis.(Carol Bellamy. op. many untrained.22. ‘TCHR Statistics on Rape. teachers 184.000 students in the Jaffna peninsula and 862 teachers. torture by security forces is ‘among the most common human rights violations reported’ and is ‘reported almost (if not) daily.000 . UNICEF. 2001) The Ceylon Tamil Teachers’ Union said in February. cordon and search operations. A 1999 survey done in the Jaffna peninsula by the University of Jaffna and Save the Children Fund UK found that 27. This makes the children difficult to adjust to the normal curriculum.one of the numerous instances of undercounting of a vulnerable population by the government. op. "Due to multi displacement.200 children have recognizable disabilities. ‘Sri Lanka: Torture in Custody."Tamil youths are specifically targeted by Sinhala security forces in their checking. while 9. op.’ July 20. The total school population in these districts is over 650. (TamilNet. 2001 that there are 95. A further 23. March 24. torture. while the Northeast Provincial Education Ministry claims there are only 87.cit.cit.872.12.248 (23).) . 2001) A report submitted to the Ministry of Education by the Ceylon Teachers’ Union gives the following figures collected from the schools in the ‘uncleared’ areas of the north: Kilinochchi zone . He said each textbook was shared by 3 children.(Tamil Centre for Human Right. children have lost the continuity of education and some have lost one or two years of schooling. Madhu . 2000 & Canadian Tamil Congress. 182.’ Human Rights of Tamils. Vavuniya north students 9.200 children are employed and 6.students 24.000 students in the uncleared parts of the Vanni. 2001) A World Bank official on a mission to Jaffna said that there are 128.) US$ 40 million is an initial estimate of the cost of rebuilding educational infrastructure in the Northeast.307 (13). 2002) Security forces & children . Thunukai zone students 15. (Virakesari.000 children do not attend school at all. or even rape. teachers 766.(Somasundaram. The Norwegian Refugee Council noted. May 8.123.

150 children under age 5 are held with their parents who have been detained under the PTA. Pres. G. other issues of concern to war-affected children have been substantially ignored. Peel. Forrest. ‘The Situation of IDPs in Sri Lanka: Report of a mission of the Internal Displacement Unit. Mines in fields and around schools are particular problems.’ The Lancet. ‘The sexual abuse of men in detention in Sri Lanka. A.) the LTTE is not a trustworthy partner for peace negotiations and 2. media control by those sympathetic to the government and the single issue blinders of the child soldier lobby. 2000 26 inmates of the Bindunuwewa camp housing suspected to be members of the LTTE were killed in a mob attack. 1999 and personal communication) Restrictions on freedom of movement for young people was a serious problem until the ceasefire. some for as long as 5 years. especially those of food.The issue of child soldiers has become entwined with politics in Sri Lanka.The Northeast of Sri Lanka is one of the most heavily mined areas of the world comparable to Angola. 2002).) the LTTE should be allowed no administrative functions as a result of these negotiations. Hinshelwood. As a result of this political focus. M. education. 2000) Impunity by the security forces for these crimes is complete. Kumaratunge’s figure would lead to a ratio of 1 underage in 10. Due to the military-enforced embargo around LTTE areas until recently and the known intelligence weakness of the Sri Lankan forces.(op. Children are thus frequently landmine victims. a survey of civilians treated at the Jaffna hospital for landmine injuries showed that 20% of the victims were under 15 years old. health. 2002.(TamilNet. estimated that there are 1. of State. As the LTTE have an estimated 10. April. US Dept. a certain number are under 18.(D. including parts of the UN (for example. the embargo on entry to the northeast. media and NGOs against the peace negotiations. According to Jeyaraj.(TamilNet. Children in Prison .while rape of both boys and girls in detention is common. Kumaratunge. most of which constitute war crimes or human rights violations in their own right and have had a much wider impact on the one million war-affected children. the most heavily mined areas are inhabited. Human Rights Watch. this is an issue of discussion and observation instead of hypothesis. using allegations concerning the use of child soldiers to assert that 1. is often reported. with those government entities.000 soldiers under 18 in the LTTE armed forces. Feb.cit. March 23.’ OCHA. One need look no further than the difference between the amount of commentary given the commitments made by the government and the LTTE to the SRSGCAC during his visit in 1998 for evidence of this disparity. Landmines . 18. particularly in the East. while 38% of those fitted with artificial limbs at the Jaffna Jaipur foot workshop were under 20 years old. Unlike many countries.(Amnesty. in an interview with CNN on May 16. As entry into LTTE areas is now allowed. 2002) Child Soldiers . as has been the case with most ‘authorities’ of past years who have not had access to the areas they studied. security and long-term detention.000 soldiers. Mahtani. various dates) Forced labor at army and Special Task Force camps.) . All were between 14 and 23. Of the hundreds of Tamils who are now in prison without charge. In October. June 10. it is hard to understand how she came up with this figure.Arbitrary arrest and long term detention under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) was common until the ceasefire. Those studying the issue must be careful not to accept ideologically-driven sources at face value.

May 23. hospitals. but not entirely. fuel.000. the civilian population of the Northeast has been targeted by the security forces in an effort to weaken the support base of the Tamil rebels. while the LTTE have 10-15. so one must be careful to obtain information about children in the areas of conflict.700 anti-personnel mines. ‘Hidden Killers: The Global Landmine Crisis’) A UN de-mining program in Jaffna in 1999 and 2000 removed a certain number of mines. in the Northern Province the government controls the Jaffna Peninsula and a stretch of territory on the southern reaches from Mannar in the West to Vavuniya and east to . agricultural inputs or other items allowed entry. (TamilNet. Civilian areas. have been hard to come by and highly politicized. medicine. 2002) BACKGROUND Since 1983 there has been active fighting between the Sri Lankan government security forces. who seek more political autonomy for the Tamil nation. most notably a high profile Norwegian role over the past 2 years. There are an estimated 1. and the LTTE Border Force. Statistics concerning the Jaffna Peninsula are the most comprehensive because of the concentrated population. places of worship. Fighting has been active and front lines changed frequently. eased over the past 12 months as a result of the agreements resulting in the ceasefire.) As in many such conflicts. have resulted in a ceasefire that has now held for 12 months. and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE or ‘Tigers’). including schools. but many more were planted during this period. rather that for children in Sri Lanka more generally. but little substantive has been accomplished to assist the civilian population beyond an end to fighting and an easing of the blockade. Irregular forces include the government-sponsored Home Guard. have been regularly destroyed by the armed forces. which added to the difficulty in obtaining accurate information. Today the US State Dept. Movement into or out of these areas by residents or outsiders was highly restricted. Because access to this population was permitted to only a few UN agencies and NGOs under many limitations.(US Dept. Both conventional and guerrilla tactics are used by both sides. At the present time. there were 15 landmine incidents every month. agricultural resources and even entire towns and villages.In 1998. Discussions concerning administrative and political arrangements are taking place. markets. several paramilitary Tamil groups that cooperate with the security forces against the LTTE. (Just as an analysis of the war in Chechnya must separate Chechnyan information from more general Russian information. Of State. including their exact numbers. including the militarized police. higher levels of education and wealth and the presence of a university. including 86. barring isolated incidents. Efforts at peacemaking. In the 18 years of war in Sri Lanka the fighting and physical destruction has been primarily confined to the North and East Provinces.000 people under arms.4 million pieces of live ammunition. and the HALO Trust are funding de-mining in the Jaffna peninsula and the LTTE is demining in areas it controls. remaining in territory controlled by the LTTE. This embargo has been significantly. Large areas of the Northeast were blockaded by the armed forces for over a decade with no electricity and limited food. The security forces are predominantly Sinhalese and have about 120. information concerning them.

military offenses. another 500. In the Eastern Province.000 live in the Vanni.the sea. the Vanni and the LTTE-controlled areas of the East have been most at risk because of the destruction of the economy. shelling and aerial bombing.000 people live in the Jaffna Peninsula. called the ‘Vanni. arbitrary arrest and detention and neglect by government programs. few restraints on the armed forces.000 Tamils live in Colombo. .’ About 500. the government controls the port of Trincomalee and the town of Batticaloa along the coast and the LTTE controls the hinterlands. About 300. The children who live in Jaffna. the lack of access by aid-givers. Even those Tamils that live in government-controlled areas have had difficulties because of restrictions on movement. The government controls most of Amparai. many of whom have fled from the war zone. and over 1 million live in the East. restrictions on movement. The LTTE control the central part of the Northern Province.