29 September, 2020

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The 3 Most Important Duty Bearers Of The Country Trivialise Violence Against Women And Children

By Gotamini Hathurusinghe

Many Human Rights Organizations which stand up for the oppressed and the wronged – those who find themselves unable to raise their own voice against injustice, are appalled and alarmed at the way the serious issue of violence is trivialised and denied by HE the President, the de Facto Chief Justice and the Attorney General.

The statement by Mohan Pieris de Facto CJ on Corporal Punishment , is an abomination, reflecting the kind of thinking that exists at the highest level of the Judiciary. If this is the attitude he takes on Corporal Punishment, the children of this country have no chance of obtaining justice and fair play on any of their issues.

This also reflects the poor capacity of thinking and the lack of sensitisation about such issues that can make or break a human being. If scant regard is given to the ills faced by one’s fellow citizens  and such people in key decision making positions, depend only on the technicalities of the law, it is no wonder that half baked judgements are granted from the CJ downwards to the most junior magistrate. When such a degree of insensitivity is coupled with a lack of integrity and bumsucking the powers that be with whom one maintains a relationship of patronage, the resultant judicial process is a maelstrom of disaster as is seen in the form of a tragicomedy of our times.

Let us turn to The Attorney General, Mr Palitha Fernando, who at a meeting some months ago, deemed the sexual abuse of children trivial compared to the Z score issue, as he was anxious to get rid of rights activists who were at a meeting with him regarding the scale of child abuse and violence against women that is taking place. Mr Fernando also is in denial about child rape as evinced by the statements he has made at a number of events including the Sessions of the Medico Legal Society. He in turn trivialised child rape by saying in the colloquial idiom ” this is not really rape, you know most of these are girl friend, boy friend issues!”

Statutory rape cannot be condoned, Mr Palitha Fernando, and you shelve grave sexual abuse of minors also under this categorisation. You also do not accept the excellent report prepared by Mr Thiranagama on Suspended Sentencing on Rape and this very important study is relegated to a pile of dust collectors. You live in denial.

Extracts from the media regarding this study:

In The Anuradhapura High Court relating to a statutory rape case where an interpretation was sought on the mandatory minimum sentence under the 1995 Amendment to the Penal Code, LHRD Executive Director and senior attorney Kalyananda Thiranagama said.

The reference related to a High Court trial of an incident of sexual abuse that had taken place years ago where an accused and an underage victim were lovers. However the couple had later got married and was leading a successful married life. The Supreme Court had ruled that, “the High Court is not inhibited from imposing a sentence that it deems appropriate in the exercise of its judicial discretion notwithstanding the minimum mandatory sentence.”

“However using this Supreme Court direction, lenient punishments and suspended sentences are imposed despite there being a 400 per cent increase in complaints relating to child abuse around the country,” Mr. Thiranagama said.

He said the study had revealed that even convicts of gang rape of underage females including school children had been given suspended sentences by courts.

Through the Penal Code (Amendment) Act No.22 of 1995, a number of positive steps to protect children and women from various types of abuses were introduced.

Mr. Thiranagama said that these included the introduction of new offences which state that every person under 18 years of age is considered a child and increasing punishment meted out on offences committed against children.

He said that another important amendment to the law was the inclusion of the mandatory minimum sentence to convicts of rape and child molestation.

The highest in the land HE Mahinda Rajapakse, too is believed not to take Domestic Violence very seriously as an issue, as he has inquired as to whether the Domestic Violence Act of 2005, is exacerbating the rate of divorce in Sri Lanka. Well Mr President, one can only but ponder on your  level of  thinking and awareness on such a scurrilous issue, especially being a lawyer yourself. Anyone else can be forgiven.

What chance do the people of Sri Lanka have, with such duty or lack of duty bearers. It is a dream that the Women of the North and East who have been subjected to Rape and a number of Human Rights abuses, would find any justice in this land.

Rights based organizations such as Amnesty International, The International Crisis Group and Human Rights Watch are held in abbhorence by the ignorant intelligentsia and powers that be of this country. These blind followers  are constantly in denial of crimes committed by the state and its goons as they are engulfed in mass hysteria of triumphalism after the war. In fact mass euphoria is now converted into hysteria and beyond that into hallucination. So,  a majority of  such people who know the truth very well and continue to ignore it are complicit  to the crime by their denial and the attitude of burying one’s head in the sand.

Such people in turn, egg on the persons such as the duty bearers afore mentioned to continue their campaign of trivializing violence against the most vulnerable – women and children.

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    Very true, Gotamini.

    And what about that Karaliyadde who has said that no woman should hold a leading position but that they should serve under men?! These village buffoons should hold their tongue! Where are our womens’ organisations to pull him up?

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