Friday, September 29, 2006

Children's voices for peace

"All wars, just or unjust, disastrous or victorious , are waged against the child"

- Eglantyne Jebb (1876 – 1928) British humanitarian, founder of the Save the Children Fund and the International Save the Children Union, and author of the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, adopted by the League of Nations, 1924.

Universal Children's Day will be held on October 1st 2006. Children from twenty three districts got together under one roof at Waters Meet Convention Centre (La Sallian Centre) in Mutwal, Colombo 15 on September 29th 2006.

This unique gathering brought children from Ampara, Anuradhapura, Badulla, Batticaloa, Colombo, Galle, Gampaha, Hambantota, Kalutara, Kandy, Kegalle, Kurunegala, Mannar, Matale, Matara, Moneragala, Nuwara Eliya, Polonnaruwa, Puttlam, Ratnapura, Trincomalee, Vavuniya districts. Children from Jaffna and Kilinochchi districts could not attend due unavailability of transport. But they sent in their comments for the Year of the Child National Forum, which will be held on October 1st 2006 at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall.

Sixty four children between the ages of 11 and 18 representing all ethnic, religious, and regional groups. Extensive consultations with over 1,500 children were held in these districts during the past four months. The children have identified their current concerns on education, health, protection and safety, recreation, and other matters. They will present these key issues on October 1 st 2006, at the National Forum.