These children have lost their parents in the ethnic conflict or the tsunami in 2004. The Orphanage was ran by the Tamil Tigers rebels and it was a desperate attempt to provide education and future for the orphaned children.
However, that is a reason enough for the the Sri Lankan Security Forces target the Orphanage since it stood for the hope that the these Tamil orphans will emerge with school education and future.
Sri Lankan orphan Tamil girls walk to their classes at a school run by the Tamil Tiger rebels for children whose parents were killed in the war against the Sri Lankan government, in Kilinochchi, Sri Lanka, Thursday, June 22, 2006Rights groups are calling for an investigation into a Sri Lankan air force bombing of what the government says was a training center for the Tamil Tiger separatist group and the rebels say was a children's center. The incident has reignited debate about the children who are unwillingly forced to take part in Sri Lanka's bitter conflict.
However, UNICEF has refused the claim these school children are Tamil Tigers.
The United Nations Children's Fund said there is no evidence to support military claims that dozens of children killed in a Sri Lankan air force bombing were Tamil Tiger cadres.
UNICEF Sri Lankan representative Joanna van Gerten said a UNICEF team had visited the site in the northern rebel-controlled district of Mullaitivu and saw the extent of the carnage.
'These were children from surrounding schools in the area who were brought there for a two-day training workshop on first aid, by whom we don't know yet,' she told Agence France-Presse.
In a press release in 2006, the TNA condemned the pre-meditated attack of Sri Lankan Security forces on these Tamil School Children.
According to reports received thus far 61 children – all girls – students in GCE (O/L) and GCE (A/L) classes in different schools in Mullaitheevu have been killed as a result of heavy aerial bombardment by Kfir jet bombers of the Sri Lankan Air Force, around 7am this morning on the premises of the “Senchcholai” at Vallipunam, on the Paranthan – Mullaitheevu Road, at Mullaitheevu. Over 150 other children, all girls, also students in GCE O/L and GCE (A/L) classes in different schools in Mullaitheevu have been seriously injured in the course of the same aerial bombardment at the same place. It is feared that the number of deaths would increase.
“Senchcholai” is an institution housing a girl’s home caring for children rendered orphans by war. The children were attending a seminar on First-Aid.
These were all unarmed and innocent children engaged in an educational program related to humanitarian aid.
This attack is not merely atrocious and inhuman - it clearly has a genocidal intent. It is yet another instance of brazen State Terrorism.
Remembering the first anniversary of the attack, August 14, 2007, the PEARL websit stated the following:
Anniversary of Sencholai massacre passes as indiscriminate bombings continue
The home, which had been used to house girls who had lost one or more parents, was part of a campus of four orphanages which also includes a home for the severely disabled, a home for boys, and a children's home. Despite the fact that the area was a humanitarian zone and whose location had been registered with the ICRC and communicated to the Government of Sri Lanka, the Government claimed afterwards that the target they had bombed was a military installation. Their claims were directly refuted by Sri Lankan Monitoring Mission (SLMM) then-head Ulf Henriccson who said, after visiting the site, that they could not find "any evidence of military installations or weapons" and that "It was not a military installation, we can see [that]." Further aerial attacks, such as the November 2nd bombing of the Kilinochchi General Hospital, despite the hospital being clearly distinguishable by the universal symbol of the red cross painted on its roof. The government's attempts to justify these attacks on demarcated humanitarian zones evidences the international accusations of disregard for international law and human rights.
The Government of Sri Lanka must desist from deliberately bombing civilian targets. Each attack that is not criticized by the international community merely gains tacit support for the Sri Lankan government's continual bombardment campaigns. It is reprehensible for a government to kill civilian targets, especially its own citizens. Thus, we are calling upon you to urge the State Department to hold the Sri Lankan government accountable for all its attacks on civilian targets, including children's homes, hospitals, schools and markets. The United States government should withdraw military and humanitarian aid to the Government of Sri Lanka until it respects international norms of human rights.
After three years have passed of such masscre innocent School children, the Tamils in Sri Lanka are facing worse living conditions with no hope for recognizition of freedom and equality in Sri Lanka.
There will be a Sencholai Massacre - Memorial Candlelight vigil at Dundas square and walk to Nathan Phillips square on August 14, 2009 from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM. The event is organized by the Canadian HART team.
|BBC, September 16, 1999:||
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||Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell|
|HeadlinesToday:||SL war crimes: Gotabaya hits out at Jayalalithaa; confident of Indian support|
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Travelling through the Tamil areas in North Sri Lanka, one is shocked to see the changing demography of the land. A land that was once inhabited by Tamils and a land that had a distinct flavor of Tamil culture and heritage is now in the grip of Sinhalese hegemony, seen in the form of Buddhist statues, viharas and stupas dotting the landscape that is also lined by broken Tamil homes and newly built shanties of Tamil refugees.
Sinhala and Sinhalisation are now the watch words in the predominantly Tamil areas of North Sri Lanka. Starting from Vavuniya, the change is perceptible as one enters the Tamil heartland.
A recently constructed Buddhist stupa at Kanagarayankulam
All those entering into the north have to pass through Omanthai - which has been given a Sinhalese sounding name, ‘Omantha’ - check point on A9 national highway. At this place where more than 90 per cent of the travelers are Tamil speakers, one needs to go with a person knowing Sinhala to answer the queries from the Sinhalese soldiers.
Throughout our travel into the Tamil hinterland, we could sense an air of Sinhalese triumphalism.
Military camps and Sinhala soldiers are a common sight in Tamil areas. Out of a total land mass of 65,619 sq km, the Tamils inhabited 18,880 sq km of land in the north and east, but after May 2009, the defence forces have occupied more than 7,000 sq km of Tamil land.
It is estimated that 2500 temples and 400 churches have been destroyed. The Sinhala forces do not permit the people to reconstruct these worship places and many are in a dilapidated state.
On the other hand, even though the only Buddhists who are to be found here are the Sinhalese soldiers, nearly 2500 Buddhist stupas and statues have come up in Tamil areas in the last couple of years, according to the locals.
A huge Buddha statue at Kilinochchi, the erstwhile capital of Tamil rebels
A Buddhist Vihara named Mahatota Raja Maha Vihara has come up within 50 meters of the famous Thirukethiswaram temple in Mannar district. The ancient name for Thirukethiswaram area was Mahathottam.
The government has been making a big hype about a so-called development programme in Tamil areas called Vadakin Vasantham (Uthuru Wasanthaya or Northern Springs).
Infrastructure development, electricity, water supply and sanitation, agriculture, irrigation, livestock development, inland fisheries, health, solid waste disposal, education, sports, cultural affairs and transportation are some of the areas that they claim will be covered under this program.
However, the real beneficiaries of this scheme are not going to be Tamils but Sinhala jobless youth, who would be employed in the projects that have been handed to Sinhala contractors.
The defence forces will be the ones who will be utilizing the newly developed infrastructure as a major chunk of the funds will be allocated towards road development to facilitate easy troop movement.
A Sinhala-only signboard at an important junction in Puthukudyiruppu
In Cheddikulam a housing scheme for Sinhala returnees is underway. One would have welcomed it if it was the same 13 displaced families that were to return. Instead, some 75 new Sinhala families are being relocated in the area.
Already 165 Sinhala families have been resettled in Kokkachchaankulam, which is to be renamed Kalabowasewa.
A grand new Sinhala medium school for new returnees has come up on Madhu road, whereas hundreds of schools for Tamil kids in the vicinity are in a state of disarray.
According to locals, forest wealth in the Tamil areas is looted by the Sinhalese from the south who enter the forest with permission of the armed forces for timber logging.
People also complain that Sinhala Buddhist archaeologists are engaged in nefarious activities of Sinhalization. They are said to be visiting Tamil areas and 'excavating' Buddha statues that they themselves plant earlier. The purpose of this exercise is allegedly to claim that the territory in question had been a Sinhala Buddhist area.
Where there were only a few old Sinhala sign boards pointing directions and mentioning names of places, today one is dumbstruck at the sheer number of new Sinhala name/direction boards in the Tamil areas.
A Sri Lankan defence outpost in Puthukudyiruppu with name board in Sinhalese and English
In Mullaithivu and many other places in the north, Tamils are not allowed to enter the sea, while their Sinhala counterparts from the south are allowed to fish in their areas.
Locals say that all petitions to government services and establishments have to be given in Sinhala only since 2009.
In the heart of Kilinochchi town, the erstwhile administrative capital of Tamil rebels, streets sport Sinhalese names such as Mahinda Rajapaksa Mawatha, and Aluth mawatte (The new road).
Three roads close to the A9 highway in Kanakarayankulam have been given Sinhala names - Kosala Perera road, Anura Perera road, and Rev Yatiravana Vimala Thero Street. The first two names are those of soldiers who took part in the war and the last one is the name of a Buddhist monk.
Where will this all lead to? Only time will tell.