5 March, 2024


Child Protection In Sri Lanka Is A National Crisis

By Manel Gunasekara –

Chief Government Whip of the newly established government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka declared to Parliament that 142 incidents of rape, 42 cases of serious sexual abuse and 54 cases of child abuse have been reported from various police divisions in the country in the first 15 days of 2020.

The most recent shocking images on social media of a 6yr old girl performing oral sex on an alleged supporter of the current ruling party has sparked widespread condemnation of the silence of the authorities and several public demonstrations opposite the National Child protection Authority (NCPA)demanding justice.

A 13yr old female student from Gampaha District desperately appealed to ban the sale of canes in Sri Lanka because every class in her school has a cane, which is put to maximum use at every lesson of every day. She watched helplessly as a nine year old boy wetted himself in front of the whole school while the Teacher-in-charge for discipline took a moment to choose from six different canes from her office. That is approximately 6hrs per day equivalent  of 14,400hrs of exposure to violence in a child’s life at this particular school. 

Imagine the mental anguish and physical torture that children have to endure in an educational institution that is supposed to be the epitome of love and compassion; the manufacturing center of non-violent global citizens of productivity. Is there any doubt of the manufacturing defects of the product assembled at this factory? 

The Rising Trend Of Physical Abuse Of Children 

A Study on Child Disciplinary Methods Practiced in Schools in Sri Lanka conducted by National Child Protection Authority (NCPA)  in 2017 revealed that 80.4% of students reported having experienced at least one episode of corporal punishment, 53.2% of students reported having experienced at least one episode of physical abuse and 72.5% of students reported having experienced at least one episode of psychological aggression in the past term. 

This is further endorsed by the alarming rise of complaints received by NCPA.  In 2010 NCPA received a total of 3892 cases and 905 were of Cruelty to children. In 2018 NCPA received a total of 7342 cases and 2413 were of Cruelty to children. Physical punishment remains the single most common form of abuse of children globally. 

Since the dawn of 2020, there have been daily reports of abuse of children, some more gruesome and inhumane than the previous.  We are gradually hypnotized to desensitize and dismiss these as another ordinary incident. 

The Falling Trend Of Child Rights 

Sri Lanka ratified the United Nations Convention of Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1992.  In the concluding observations of the UNCRC on the combined fifth and sixth periodic reports of Sri

Lanka in January 2018, serious concerns were raised and in respect of which urgent measures must be taken: violence, including corporal punishment (para. 21), sexual exploitation and abuse (para. 23),economic exploitation, including child labour (para. 41), administration of juvenile justice (para. 45), and reconciliation, truth and justice (para. 47).

Although the National Action Plan for Protection and Promotion of Human Rights 2011-2016 had big plans to eliminate Corporal Punishment in schools, actual action on the relevant issues have not materialized. In contrast, there is no mention of Corporal Punishment in the National Action Plan for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights 2017-2021. 

Former President, Maithripala Sirisena and current Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa both endorsed child protection on the campaign platforms but have vowed to protect teachers who use punishment as a form of discipline after gaining office. 

The Vanishing Trust In Law And Justice 

The failures of Police, Judiciary and  Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) in protecting our children and promoting their rights have resulted in frustrating inadequacies and lengthy and painful progression of inquiries. 

By the end of 2017, there were over 17,000 cases of child abuse stalled at Attorney General’s Department dating back as long as ten years. This figure is believed to have risen over 20,000 by end of 2018. The victims have lived a life of hell tormented by the horrendous memories without any hope of justice. 

One family experienced unimaginable institutionalized corruption whilst exhausting every avenue to seek justice against corporal punishment and mental abuse of a child in the hands of educators.  

Beddage Tushara Wickramanayaka and Adriana Lakshya Wickramanayaka Cutter (Minor) V Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka have filed the first ever Communication (Appeal)  Submitted For Consideration Under the First Optional Protocol To The International Covenants on Civil And Political Rights (ICCPR) at United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC).  

Their complaint has been successfully registered giving real  hope to 5 million children of Sri Lanka.

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Latest comments

  • 2

    The men and women in Hindu India, the Muslim middle-east and theravada nations are sexually repressed. The third world never went through the sexual revalution of the 1960’s. The third world men cannot satisfy women and the women are fat and dull. Sex is a physical activity – it requires stamina, flexibility and creativity. In the Western World Women choose their partner based on either status or the satisfaction generated by her partner. Which is pretty democratic In third world hellholes like India, Pakistian and Sri Lanka it about race, religion, caste and Money. Leading to Miserable marriages , unfullied desires and low IQ offspring. Darwin’s survival of the fittest dictates that the strongest male captures the strongest female or vice versa like in the animal kingdom. This is why Sri Lanka in less than 80 years produced mass killers like Wijeyweera, Prabakaran and Zaharan Haisim. The dumbest male captured the lowest female. This is why Muslim nations and India is backward. Sri Lanka because of its Liberal Buddhist morals let women choose their partner. Hence Sinhalese women choose Persians, Greeks, Romans, Portugese, Dutch and other Europeans. Other wise SL would have been a Hellhole like Afghansitan, Bangledesh, India, Pakistan and the Middle-east.

    • 1

      Yes, violence against children and women is to be condemned.

      However, there are also a lot of FAKE PROTESTS and a protest culture like in Hong Kong that is funded by external parties to de-stablize the country, wreak the peace and distract people from the real issues such as the planned MCC land grab and the need for a massive Civil Society protests outside the US and Saudi Embassies which funded Zaharan and staged the Easter Sunday Carnage in Sri Lanka last year.

      This Easter hope the Colombo NGO protestors will come out to prevent attacks on Muslims and protest at the US embassy, but it seems that EU and USAID is being lavished to prevent this, also with lots of useless conferences..
      Playing religious, ethnic, gender, LGBTQ etc. identity politics is part of the game to Divide, rule and loot Lanka by external parties with help of NGOs and clueless youth groups
      Funded Colombo NGOs regularly stage fake protests at Viharamahadevi Park and Lipton Circus to get more funds from their donors like the NGO ladies who paraded on Galle Road for Bondscam Ranil’s butterflies and attacked News First wearing black masks!

      • 2

        Dinuk/ dodo/ DonStanley and whatever else you prefer to call yourself, are you suggesting that protest against child abuse has something to do with the MCC agreement? You need to see a shrink pronto, dear D.R.S.

    • 0

      Can’t agree more

  • 0

    Terrible situations indeed. Government ban on corporal punishment in schools, and employment of more teachers and aides would remove the necessity to punish children to keep order in classrooms. As for child sex abuse, perpetrators need to be brought to justice. Evidence needs to be there because perpetrators tend to lie to hide their crimes, and children are prone to false memories by suggestion. With mothers working in places like the Middle East, and for the richer ones with resentful servants looking after the children, the probability of abuse happening is rife. The children who have been abused, see abuse in every corner. These children tend to grow up to be pedophiles themselves, and the situation is perpetuated.

  • 2

    Child abuse whether sexual or mental, has always been ignored in our country.
    Sri Lanka is known as a destination for pedophiles, and for decades dirty old men have come here in search of little boys, especially down South. This is an embarrassing reputation for the country. What did any of our governments do? NOTHING.
    Some families want to earn money this way, so encourage these filthy men to connect with their poor children. Why are our Buddhist leaders allowing this to go on? Why aren’t they protecting our children? How about strict laws, and forgetting the revenue from such tourists? How about the little Samenera boys, who are being abused, and are forced to keep quiet? We have had criminals of all religions preying on little kids, and it is up to the government to protect them, they have failed these children.

  • 1

    When I commented here some months ago, I hoped that readers would get realistic about this:
    I’m sorry if it got to looking like I had a vendetta against the good lady who authored the article. The problem is that it keeps re-surfacing. Make no mistake: I am a retired teacher who knows that there shouldn’t be corporal punishment. When there is violence, it is always an admission that the perpetrator has lost the argument.
    Think also of the very human and fallible teacher – how badly treated, on the whole. I wrote this article:
    It’s getting to be necessary to write a sequel. It will be on the same issue, and how an old man like me has been threatened, even man-handled by Heads of school who are Anglican priests! However, don’t rush to generalise: So far I have met with nothing but kindness from Rev. Dushantha Rodrigo of Kollupitiya.
    The downside of this activity by me is that it concerns individuals from the upper percentile of our society. I know that this rather terse comment could get misunderstood and torn to shreds. Well, never mind. I’m trying to say: get perspectives right. There are even worse things happening in our education system. Correct the shortcomings that you’ve highlighted, but look steadily at the whole picture.
    Panini Edirisinhe (NIC 48 3111 444V) aka “Sinhala_Man”

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