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Sri Lankan veteran envoy for war-affected children

Annan appoints Sri Lankan human rights veteran as envoy for war-affected children

Secretary-General Kofi Annan today appointed Radhika Coomaraswamy, an attorney and internationally recognized human rights advocate from Sri Lanka, as his Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict.

Now the chairperson of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission, Mr. Coomaraswamy will advocate for the protection of youngsters ensnared in war, including child soldiers.

The Sri Lankan served as the UN’s Special Rapporteur on violence against women for nearly a decade ending in 2003. Serving in an unpaid personal capacity, she reported to the UN’s Commission on Human Rights on a wide range of issues, from violence in the family and community to assaults against women during armed conflict and the problem of international trafficking.

Ms. Coomaraswamy is also the Director of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies in Colombo and a member of the Global Faculty of New York University School of Law in New York City.

In recognition of her work on national and international issues, the President of Sri Lanka last November conferred on her the title of “Deshamanya,” making her the only woman to receive the title.

Ms. Coomaraswamy replaces Olara Otunnu, of Côte d’Ivoire, who left the position last year.

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