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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 78

Coomaraswamy New UN Rep for Children & Armed Conflict

[b]Coomaraswamy New UN Rep for Children & Armed Conflict[/b]

By Thalif Deen - Inter Press Service

United Nations, 07 February, (IPS/UN): Radhika Coomaraswamy, a former UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women, has been appointed the new UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict.

The official announcement is expected to made at a UN press briefing later this week.

She will hold the rank of Under-Secretary-General (USG), the third highest ranking job in the UN system.

Coomaraswamy will succeed Karin Sham Poo, who held the post temporarily, after Olara Otunnu completed an eight year stint. Otunnu, who visited the north and the east to investigate the recruitment of child soldiers by the LTTE, was the first to hold the post beginning September 1997.

Coomaraswamy's primary mandate will be to build awareness of the needs of war affected children. She will also take a critical stand against governments and rebel groups recruiting child soldiers which has been roundly condemned by the United Nations.

Sri Lanka has been in the forefront of countries that backed the survival of the Office of the Special Representative which was on the verge of closing down last year for lack of resources.

Jayantha Dhanapala, a former Under-Secretary-General for Disarmament Affairs and one of the few declared candidates for the job of UN Secretary-General told IPS: ''I am happy to learn of the appointment of Dr.Radhika Coomaraswamy a fellow Sri Lankan and friend as the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict''.

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