Practice Relating to Rule 135. Children
Section E. Rehabilitation and reintegration of former child soldiers
In 2008, in its initial report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child under the 2000 Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict, Sri Lanka stated:
10. An Action Plan for Children Affected by War was signed by the Government, UNICEF and the LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] in 2003 in the aftermath of the 2002 Cease-Fire Agreement (CFA). This included a clear commitment by the LTTE to stop child recruitment while collaborating with the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO) and UNICEF to provide rehabilitation services for such children. Three transit centres for child soldiers were planned to be established in Killinochchi, Trincomalee and Batticaloa costing US$ 1 million for children due to be released by the LTTE. However, though resources were made available to the TRO by UNICEF, the three centres did not function and children were not released as promised to UNICEF by the LTTE.
19. The Government is encouraged that the TMVP [Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal] facilitated the release in April 2008 of 39 children held by the paramilitary group known as the Karuna faction. These children now have access to rehabilitation, … and reintegration which the Government working in close cooperation with international partners – notably UNICEF – stands ready to provide. …
21. In annex II of the [UN] Secretary-General’s report reference has been made to the Karuna faction, which is a breakaway group of the LTTE and its refusal to release children. However, subsequent to TMVP entering the political process in the East, 11 children were released (out of an original number of 40 who have expressed a desire for release) to the Rehabilitation Centre in Ambepussa. The Government is confident that the TMVP will eventually release all children who are with them. There are current negotiations with the TMVP to get all the children released.
24. In April 2007, the Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Empowerment established a Task Force in relation to children affected by the armed conflict. It focused on issues raised in United Nations Security Council resolution 1612 and the Security Council Committee set up under it. Subject areas of focus in the Task Force include conformity of Sri Lankan legislation with the  Convention [on the Rights of the Child] to provide protection for children affected by the armed conflict, [and the] protection and rehabilitation of child soldiers …
25. A Steering Committee on the release, providing protective care, rehabilitation and reintegration of children used by armed groups was set up under the Commissioner-General of Rehabilitation (CGR), and the Ministry of Justice. Key Government agencies involved include the MCDWE [Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Empowerment], NCPA [National Child Protection Authority], Ministries of Vocational Training and Education. Academics as well as UNICEF are members of this committee. A policy has been developed and approved. This includes guiding principles, vision, mission, goal and policy objectives, which are now being implemented. UNICEF has provided support and more resources are being sought for effective implementation of these policies.
49. The Government in 2003 decided to collaborate with UNICEF to draw up a plan to prevent child recruitment. Thus an Action Plan for Children Affected by War (the Action Plan) was signed between the Government, the LTTE and UNICEF in April 2003. The Action Plan focuses on child recruitment both in terms of preventative strategies as well as activities designed to promote demobilisation, immediate release, reintegration, rehabilitation and enable access to psychosocial therapy.
55. The Women and Children’s Division of the Department of Labour is the focal point for implementing ILO-IPEC [International Labour Organization-International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour] [a]ctivities in Sri Lanka. The IPEC activities are monitored by a Steering Committee of Stakeholders chaired by the Secretary to the Ministry of Labour Relations and Manpower.
56. Among other things, with regard to Children in armed conflict, the IPEC programme implements a number of activities in the districts of Amparai, Mullaitivu, Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Trincomalee, and Vavuniya which are in the North and the East of Sri Lanka. The specific IPEC responses are delivered within two inter-UN agency projects: The Action Plan for Children affected by War and the project on Repatriation, Reintegration, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (4Rs) in North East of Sri Lanka. The target group of beneficiaries are vulnerable children, including child soldiers from female-headed households and internally displaced families and adult family members. … The development objective of IPEC’s North-East programme is to contribute to the withdrawal of child labour, specifically child soldiers from the worst forms of child labour through reintegration … programmes …
58. The Government is … committed to the prevention of recruitment as well as the protection, care, rehabilitation and reintegration of all children under the age of eighteen years who have been recruited as combatants by the LTTE and its break-away Karuna faction. … However, in the context of the ongoing fight against LTTE, the Government seeks the support of relevant international organizations to strengthen the capacity of institutions such as the NCPA, the HRCSL and the Office of the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation to … provide protection, rehabilitate and re-integrate the children who had been used in armed conflict.
62. Sri Lanka … is committed to ensure not only the unconditional release of all children recruited but to protect, rehabilitate and to reintegrate such children into society.
80. A separate Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Empowerment was established in 2005 by the present Government. This Ministry supports and assists the Government in its efforts to prevent child abuse and in the protection, rehabilitation and reintegration of children who have been subjected to abuse … and recruitment.
91. Pursuant to a decision taken by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Human Rights (IMCHR) in November 2007, the Minister of Disaster Management and Human Rights established a multidisciplinary Committee to inquire into allegations of abduction and recruitment of children for use in armed conflict. The Committee is mandated to:
(c) Monitor and recommend steps to assure that released children have access to facilities and procedures aimed at their protection, rehabilitation and reintegration in accordance with Sri Lankan written law and, in doing so, pay special attention to the needs of female children.
93. The Committee decided that supervision and rehabilitation of children was a crucial issue, which would be undertaken by the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation (CGR) appointed by the Government in September 2006. Security forces, including the police, provide the necessary support. Relevant line Ministries and agencies such as the NCPA, UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) have also been requested to provide support. The Committee agreed to request the IGP [Inspector General of Police] to assign special police officers to investigate children in “custody” who have been recruited or abducted for use in armed conflict.
94. A sub-committee with a multi-disciplinary membership has been established under the supervision of the Chairman/NCPA to assess former child combatants in depth, and also to provide psychosocial support. This sub-committee is coordinating with UNICEF in the establishment of a “child friendly” support system.
95. It is proposed to set up Village-level Committees for the purpose of surveillance and prevention of recruitment of children for armed conflict, which would also support family reintegration of former child combatants.
96. Guidelines on Protective care, Rehabilitation and Reintegration of Child Combatants have been developed in collaboration with the office of the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation.
97. The Guidelines include the following:
(d) To establish an interim protective care centre/s of a multi-sectoral nature which provides opportunities for child combatants who “surrender” or who are “demobilized” which will enable them to be re-united with their families, facilitate reintegration with their families and communities, provide access to health and nutrition and any other services relevant to their special needs including any war injuries and disabilities they may have suffered;
(e) Creating a balanced and unified “release” mechanism which incorporates both an interim centre based protective care system as well as an effective process and mechanism for family reunification and community integration;
(g) To respond effectively to the psychosocial needs of the children. These can commence with the introduction of diverse activities and interventions such as health and nutrition, … [and] family reunification. Such interventions have [the] potential to mitigate psychosocial needs and problems particularly if it is possible to build interventions as components connected with the emotions and feelings of children which they are generally expected to endure. However, in-depth training for caregivers working at the care centre is essential as they have to play an important role;
(h) Preventing reinforcement of negative identities and developing new ones to prevent stigmatization and the creation of resentment during the provision of interim protective care;
(i) Plan and develop community based interventions which take into account family realities of such children such as poverty, health and nutrition needs, … skill development, protection, and security concerns;
(j) To improve financing and resource allocation.
98. As part of the Action Plan for Children Affected by War, formulated in 2003, UNICEF collaborated with the Government in planning a mass media awareness campaign on child rights … The mass media awareness campaign … included messages and commitments to ensure the care and reintegration of returning underage recruits, promote child rights in the context of peace and reconciliation.
99. According to reports by UNICEF, the mass media campaign was indefinitely postponed to January 2004 as the LTTE did not approve of the key messages. It was subsequently never implemented.
106. Due to the total lack of commitment showed by LTTE as stated above, the Government established the Office of the Commissioner-General of Rehabilitation in September 2006, which was designated to handle all aspects of rehabilitation including children. A special gazette pertaining to “child friendly procedures” is being finalised at present.
107. All children in war affected areas[,] including those who have managed to escape from the LTTE as well as those vulnerable to recruitment[,] are provided [with] free preventive and curative health care by the Government. This has continued during the entire period of the conflict without discrimination, even in uncleared areas. …
108. Children vulnerable to recruitment and those who have escaped have access to a wide network of Government primary health care services and free curative health care services. This includes an emphasis on maternal and child care services. This has continued throughout the conflict from 1983 and is sustained by the Government. The package of services for children in the North-East is the same as those provided in the rest of the country.
Protective accommodation and rehabilitation centres
114. In its effort towards the realization of the objective mentioned above, the President, by regulation dated 12th September 2006, appointed the Commissioner-General of Rehabilitation (CGR) who is entrusted with specific responsibilities in relation to all “surrendees” of the conflict, including children. A new regulation incorporating child friendly procedures for the care, rehabilitation and reintegration of child surrendees has been drafted.
115. The current procedure which applies to “surrendees” is as follows:
(a) When a person (including a child) surrenders, the authorized officer or person to whom he surrenders is required to hand over such surrendee to the CGR within ten days of the surrender. A surrendee is required to give a written statement to the authorized officer to the effect that he is surrendering voluntarily;
(b) In terms of this regulation the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence is authorized to approve centres called “Protective Accommodation and Rehabilitation Centres” for the purpose of receiving and keeping surrendees;
(c) The CGR is entrusted with the task of assigning a surrendee to a centre … The CGR is authorized to keep a surrendee for twelve months in the first instance at such centre and has to forward a report to the Secretary, Ministry of Defence within two months indicating the nature of the rehabilitation being carried out in respect of the surrendee. Surrendees are entitled to meet their parents, relations or guardians once in every two weeks;
(d) The CGR is required to forward, before the expiration of the period of twelve months, a report stating whether in his opinion, it is appropriate to release the surrendee or extend the period of rehabilitation of such surrendee. The Secretary to the Ministry of Defence may after perusing the report, either order the release of such surrendee or extend the period of rehabilitation for periods of three months at a time … however … the aggregate period of such extensions shall not exceed a further twelve months. Each such extension has to be made on the recommendation of the CGR and of an Advisory Committee appointed by the President;
(e) The “surrendee” may be investigated after three months of his being assigned to a centre, with the prior written approval of the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence for his involvement in the commission of an offence set out in paragraph 2 of the Regulation and where necessary, tried for such offence. Where a surrendee is found guilty of such offence the court may take into consideration the fact of his surrender in determining the sentence to be imposed on him. The court may[,] where appropriate, order that such surrendee be subject to a further period of rehabilitation at a centre;
(f) Where a surrendee who is over sixteen years of age and is so subjected to a further period of rehabilitation acts in a manner detrimental to the rehabilitation programme the court may after summary inquiry sentence him to imprisonment in lieu of rehabilitation. However action is being taken to finalise a separate Gazette notification where Children are concerned. This will incorporate the objectives of the policy on Child Rehabilitation.
116. The Government has completed construction work in the centre at Ambepussa, which is scheduled to be opened soon. Resources are required to develop the Ambepussa centre as well as the Office of the CGR.
117. As a temporary measure child surrendees are presently housed at Pallekelle in Kandy, until the permanent centre at Ambepussa is opened. Already the officers manning the centre have rendered assistance to children who did not have a passport or identity card. They also assisted such children to contact their parents. Those who wished to return to their homes were assisted to do so and 10 children were reintegrated. There are 11 at present, many of whom also want to return to their families. A community based system to protect such children from re-recruitment is being put in to place.
118. Once the surrendees are accommodated at the permanent [rehabilitation] centre at Ambepussa, … the Government has developed a programme which includes skills development, … training in aesthetics, … and sports. Psychosocial support will also be provided. All surrendees will be provided with such services as are necessary for their physical and mental wellbeing. The determination of which services children will have access to will be done with the guidance and consent of the parents and the children concerned. The overall objective is to equip children to be reintegrated with their parents and the community to which they belong. This interim protective care will include health services, nutrition, … psychosocial support, … and rehabilitation support. The NCPA will collaborate with the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation on many of these aspects including the Ministries of Vocational Training, Child Development and Women’s Empowerment as well as UNICEF.
119. The assessment of health and nutrition status will be prioritized and will include a response to the psychological and emotional needs of the surrendee. The special needs of girls will be taken into account of and appropriate measures will be developed to provide psychosocial counselling and care based on individual need.
120. Details of surrendees will be treated with confidence in order to ensure their protection. The aim will be to equip these children to earn a livelihood on their own while re-integrating with society and thus avoiding the risk of re-recruitment.
121. A balanced and unified system of release which incorporates both interim care centers and services of a multi[-]sectoral nature which provide a protective mechanism for immediate family re-unification and community re-integration is aimed at.
122. An interim care protective environment will be established and created for those children who need to remain. … During the period of protective interim care, care will be taken to prevent re-enforcement of negative identities. The establishment and operation of interim care centres (Protective Accommodation and Rehabilitation Centers) will be undertaken on a basis of transparency and accountability.
123. These interim care centres will provide opportunities for child combatants who surrender or who are demobilized to be reunited with their families, facilitate reintegration with their families and communities, provide access to health, nutrition and medical care and other services based on the particular needs of the children including any war injuries and disabilities which they may have suffered. This will be undertaken through centre and community based interventions and programmes based on the individual needs of the children.
124. The Government considers it important that an effective follow-up at community level once the child leaves the centre is provided. A home visiting system through trained care givers will be provided. The support of local organizations will be mobilized in the reintegration process. Community based interventions would be planned and developed. A district referral system will be formulated on existing reintegration services, which will strengthen psycho-social counselling and support from Government and non-governmental organizations and will be used to address community based integration …
125. Since Sri Lankan children living in the North and East have been recruited as child combatants since 1983, a comprehensive plan to undertake wide scale rehabilitation and family reunification … which will cover all those affected is essential.
126. The NCPA is committed to prevent children being used as combatants. This involves advocacy against recruitment as well as the promotion of viable options for rehabilitation.
128. The Government has now taken over the task of providing rehabilitation and protective care for child combatants under the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation. A policy has been developed and the first permanent centre is being set up in Ambepussa.
Rehabilitation and psychosocial support
129. The UNICEF-supported transit centre established in Kilinochchi in 2003 only functioned for a short period and the release programme was not effective. … Thus more community based options for rehabilitation will need to be determined.
130. … The Government in collaboration with organizations such as UNICEF and German Economic Cooperation (GTZ) has … provided support for psychosocial counselling in communities and schools. There are also programmes conducted by the Ministry of Health staff through the Baticaloa General Hospital as well as Vavuniya and Jaffna. The impact of such programmes needs to be determined. Since the conflict is ongoing, the numbers affected are high and difficult to reach in a comprehensive manner.
133. The Ministry of Health under its programme on mental health has appointed mental health officers island-wide including the North and East. Such officers provide clinic services related to psychosocial therapy[,] provide outreach care and conduct education programmes. Efforts to involve them more effectively, for the benefit of former child combatants[,] are important.
137. The Government seeks financial support to implement its programme on the rehabilitation of child combatants. There is also need for … the reintegration of combatants who return to their families.
[footnote in original omitted]
In 2008, in its combined third and fourth periodic report to the Committee on the Rights of the Child, Sri Lanka stated:
336. The Action Plan for Children Affected by War was a multi-sectoral programme drawn up in 2003 during the period following the Ceasefire Agreement. It involved the participation of the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam], with the … focus being … rehabilitating former child combatants. The Action Plan included provision for psychosocial care, … health and nutrition, [and] income generation. …
341. … The limitations and negative experiences with past rehabilitation measures led the present Government to take a fresh look at the need for a new approach to the rehabilitation and reintegration of child soldiers. …
342. … In September 2006, a Commissioner General of Rehabilitation (CGR) was appointed under the Office of the President. The CGR now takes the lead in the rehabilitation of “child surrendees”, who give themselves up in to government authorities.
343. The Government has established a dedicated centre for “child surrendees”, the Ambepussa Rehabilitation Centre. Around 90 children have been through the centre, with 25 currently in residence. The CGR has developed a policy framework for the rehabilitation of “child surrendees” in collaboration with the NCPA [National Child Protection Authority]. Accordingly they are provided with … language and literacy skills in addition to protection. They are provided with psycho social support including regular access to their parents. Some child surrendees in the east decided to be reintegrated with their parents in their own communities.
344. Local NGOs and designated government authorities are involved in monitoring such children. Efforts are being made to involve the Probation and Child care staff in such monitoring including the NCPA coordinators. Action is also being taken to identify transit homes in each district for such children to get protection in case this is preferred to being at the main centre.
345. The Government is finalizing an amendment to Emergency Regulations to deal with the situation of child surrendees – Emergency (Miscellaneous Provisions and Powers) Regulation No. 1 of 2005. The amendment will provide for the establishment of Protective Child Accommodation Centres and Protective Child Rehabilitation Centres, the latter to extend psychosocial support, … and other services which would facilitate the successful reintegration of a child surrendee into his or her family, community and eventually society. The regulation will contain the procedure to be followed when a person under “18 surrenders” such as informing the child’s parents of guardian, Probation Officer and the NCPA area coordinator; investigation regarding the child’s circumstances; appearance before a Magistrate; preparation of reports; and accommodation.
348. As a follow up to Security-Council resolution 1612 and the United Nations Secretary-General’s report on children affected by the conflict, a task force meets regularly under the Secretary [of the] Ministry of Child [D]evelopment to discuss and follow up outstanding issues, particularly in relation to action needed. These include issues such as child recruitment and rehabilitation.
349. Psychosocial support and assistance for children affected by the armed conflict have been given attention by both government and NGOs at community level. Such programmes cover child combatants released to homes as well as other children affected by the conflict living in communities.
In 2009, in its combined third and fourth periodic reports to the Committee against Torture, Sri Lanka stated:
62. … [T]he Government of Sri Lanka has undertaken … and continues to undertake, progressive action towards … facilitating rehabilitation of former child combatants. …
64. Recently, Sri Lanka introduced new regulations under the Public Security Ordinance, which specifies procedures for the rehabilitation of children leaving armed groups. …
65. Sri Lanka respects its obligations in the  Convention on the Rights of the Child, the  Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict and Sri Lanka’s commitments to the international community.
67. The end of the conflict in Sri Lanka in May 2009, and the end of the terrorist activities of the LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam], marks a significant starting point for the Government and for the children affected by the armed conflict. Today, with the end of [LTTE] terrorism, most child combatants have been identified.
69. The Government is now tasked with ensuring the protection and promotion of the rights of former “child soldiers” and their successful reintegration into society. …
End of war and rehabilitation of former child soldiers
70. His Excellency the President, by Regulation dated 12 September 2006, appointed a Commissioner General of Rehabilitation (CGR) who is entrusted with specific responsibilities in relation to all “surrendees” of the ongoing conflict which include … children. The CGR now takes the lead in the rehabilitation of “Child Surrendees” and functions under the President’s Office.
71. In terms of this Regulation, the CGR in consultation with the district secretary, Provincial Commissioner of Probation and Child Care and Services and the NCPA [National Child Protection Authority] will identify protective accommodation and rehabilitation centres for the purpose of receiving Child surrendees. Policies on protective care, rehabilitation and reintegration of child combatants have been developed by a multisectoral committee headed by the NCPA.
72. The CGR is entrusted with the task of providing surrendees with [inter alia] protective care, [and] psychosocial support. There are at present three such centres. The centre in Ambepussa, is for children … Facilities at the centres include the provision of food, clothing and basic necessaries. An immediate step at the centre is to reunite such surrendees particularly the children with their parents.
73. The centre at Ambepussa receives surrendees under the age of eighteen years and women. This Centre has been set up by the Government exclusively to care for and reintegrate children leaving armed groups. This rehabilitation process involves psychosocial counseling, spiritual guidance and social rehabilitation. … In addition 239 child soldiers verified by UNICEF and currently in the IDP camps are due to be admitted to a new rehabilitation centre … [for] former child soldiers being opened in Vavuniya in 2 weeks where they could be close to their families. UNICEF is working closely with the Gov[ernment] to support this new Centre as well.
74. The centres at Welikanda and Jaffna, accommodate surrendees over eighteen years. Arrangements have already been made to impart training in plumbing, tailoring and bread making. The officers manning the centres assist surrendees to obtain necessary documentation including passports, birth certificates and identity cards, if they do not possess such.
75. … Plans are also … to open a [g]ym for their leisure. Religious and cultural activities in keeping with their own socio[-]ethnic background take place and surrendees are allowed access to their families regularly during their period of stay at the centres.
76. Accordingly, “Child Surrendees” are provided with psychosocial support, including regular access to their parents, local NGO’s and designated government authorities who are involved in monitoring such children. Efforts are being made to involve the staff of the Department of Probation and Child Care, as well as the NCPA coordinators in such monitoring. Action is also being taken to identify transit homes in each district, for such children to get protection, in case this is preferred over the main centre.
77. There are two other centres at Welikanda and Jaffna, to which former combatants (adults) are admitted. The Commissioner for Rehabilitation is engaged in an ongoing programme of providing training to such ex-combatants in partnership with the Ministries of Vocational Training, Education and also the Cadet Core. The Government plans to open another Centre at Vavuniya. Plans are also underway to set up transit centres in the Eastern Province. Depending on the need, the Government plans to open more centres.
Legal and institutional initiatives undertaken to facilitate rehabilitation and reintegration of former child soldiers
78. New regulations have been framed under section 5 of the Public Security Ordinance by the President in order to introduce “Child Friendly” procedures and processes related to the surrender and release of children recruited as combatants.
79. Under these regulations the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation in consultation with the District Secretary of any district, the relevant Provincial Commissioner of Probation of Child Care Services and the Chairman, National Child Protection Authority identifies suitable locations for the establishment of the following:
(a) Protective Child Accommodation Centres for the purpose of providing accommodation and support for person under 18 years of age who surrender or who are arrested in terms of the provisions of these regulations; and
(b) Protective Child Rehabilitation Centres for the purpose of providing care, [and] psychosocial support for the facilitation of the process of reintegration of such child into his family, community and into society.
80. It is to be noted that the centres are not only for children who surrender but also for those who are arrested. The person to whom the child surrenders or by whom the child is arrested shall produce a child within 24 hours of such surrender or arrest at the nearest police station. He has to record the statement of such child and the circumstances in which such child surrendered or was arrested and ensure the custody of such child in a place which is apart from adult surrendee or detainees if any.
82. The officer in charge of the police station has to forthwith take all measures to inform the parents or guardians of such child the Probation Officer and the Co-ordinator of the National Child Protection Authority of such area and produce a child within 24 hours before the Magistrate.
83. Such Magistrate interviews the child in camera assisted by the Probation Officer, the police, the Child Rights Promotion Officer or the co-ordinator of the National Child Protection Authority and where possible the parents of the child surrendee. The Magistrate has to take all necessary measures to ensure that the mother tongue of the child is used for such interview and where that is not possible that an instantaneous translation of such interview is provided.
84. The Magistrate also orders a medical examination of such child and orders a social inquiry report wherein the immediate and long term needs of the child are clearly set out and either returns such child to his parent or guardian or makes order that such child be placed in a Protective Child Accommodation centre for a period of one month supported and monitored by the provincial commissioner of probation and child care services.
85. At the end of the period of one month the Magistrate having regard to the results of the medical examination and interview and social inquiry report, with the assistance of the police determines:
(a) Whether … [a surrendered or arrested] child [soldier] should be returned to the charge, care and custody of his parents or guardian;
(b) Whether such child should be accommodated for a period not exceeding one year in a protective child accommodation centre under the care and supervision of the Provincial Commissioner of Probation and Child Care Services; or
(c) Whether such child should be placed in a protective child rehabilitation centre for a period not exceeding one year.
86. In arriving at his determination the Magistrate has to have regard to:
(a) The necessity to ensure the protection and best interest of such child;
(b) The need to effect family reunification or placement within the extended family taking into consideration the necessity to ensure at all times the safety of such child and his family.
87. At all stages of the process, child friendly procedures have to be adopted and the child would be treated with courtesy, consideration and kindness.
88. The officer in charge of a Protective Child [soldier] Accommodation Centre or protective child [soldier] rehabilitation centre in which … [a surrendered or arrested] child [soldier] is placed shall:
(a) Cause such child to be examined by a medical Officer and give him the necessary health care;
(b) Provide him with psychosocial counselling;
(c) Facilitate and encourage visits by and contact with his family at least once a month;
(d) Provide the necessary sustenance and physical care for the child;
(e) Assist the child to obtain the necessary identification and other documents which he is lawfully entitled to obtain. …
89. The Magistrate receives reports on the progress of such child and shall review his decision to place such child at a Protective Child Accommodation Centre once a month and at a Protective Child Rehabilitation Centre once in three months.
90. The Regulation enables children to be reunited with their families, facilitates family reintegration and provides access to … health care and efforts are ongoing to respond to their psychosocial needs.
92. Subsequently His Excellency the President by regulation dated 2008 has established procedures in relation to child [soldier] surrendees which take into account the special vulnerability of children identified as all those under the age of 18 years.
Other steps taken to rehabilitate and reintegrate former child soldiers
94. Several other measures [were] taken by the Government … concerning inter alia, psychosocial support and assistance for children affected by armed conflict …
95. Attention was given to psychosocial support and assistance for children affected by the armed conflict by … the Government … at community level. Such programmes cover child combatants released to homes as well as other children affected by the conflict living in communities.
97. The Psychosocial Coordination Forum operating at district level in the conflict-affected areas is one mechanism to cater to the psychological needs of all children. This mechanism evolved over 2003–2004 but became functional from 2005 with the input of new funds from tsunami aid. The Psychosocial Forum is linked to the mental health units of government hospitals in the relevant areas. The NCPA has appointed Psychosocial Coordinators who act as focal points within DCDCs [District Child Development Committees], thereby allowing for coordination and linkages among government, NGOs and the community in providing psychosocial assistance and support to children. …
98. As a reflection of the government’s commitment at the highest executive level to combat child recruitment, His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapaksa launched on 26th February 2009 the joint Government of Sri Lanka and UNICEF Public Awareness Campaign on Child Recruitment … [The] campaign targets armed groups, vulnerable communities and children affected by the armed conflict; and communicates the government’s commitment to responding to child recruitment. The message of the campaign is three fold:
(c) Children leaving armed groups will receive rehabilitation and reintegration support from the Government.
99. “Bring back the Child” is a multimedia campaign that calls … for those children currently … [associated with the LTTE] to be released, so that they can return to their families and have access to services, including healthcare, [and] psychosocial support.