A submission has been made to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child concerning Sri Lanka. The submission relates to Articles 28 and 38 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and focuses on the protection of students, teachers, and schools during armed conflict.
The submission by Human Rights Watch notes that in its 2010 Concluding Observations under the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, this Committee called upon Sri Lanka to immediately discontinue military occupation and use of the schools and strictly ensure compliance with humanitarian law and the principle of distinction and to cease utilizing the primary section of V/Tamil MV school and the Omanthai Central College in Vavuniya to host separatees; and ensure that school infrastructures damaged as a result of military occupation are promptly and fully restored.
The submission notes that as of August 2017, Sri Lanka was contributing 456 troops and 21 military experts to United Nations peacekeeping operations around the world. Sri Lanka’s peacekeeping troops are deployed in the Central African Republic, Lebanon and South Sudan. All three of these countries have endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration, an inter-governmental political commitment that provides countries the opportunity to express political support for the protection of students, teachers, and schools during times of armed conflict; the importance of the continuation of education during armed conflict; and the implementation of the Guidelines for Protecting Schools and Universities from Military Use during Armed Conflict.
As of October 2017, 69 countries have endorsed the Safe Schools Declaration, but not Sri Lanka.