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Authorities urged to wake up as child abuse veiled by religious exemption comes to light

By: Isuru Parakrama

Colombo (LNW): Seventeen children were physically/sexually abused and even killed in Sri Lanka from 2020 to July 2022, but as the small talk behind closed doors remains the norm, backed surprisingly by the silence of the mainstream media, let alone the authorities, the country moves forward with its share of ignorance over child abuse, a national crisis avoided by many.

It is in this backdrop have activists and civil movements begun to fight back demanding justice and assurance for the protection of children, and recently authorities have been urged to take immediate action against the occurrence of child abuse under religious immunity, a component so deep that even those vocal about child protection hang back over the controversy.

The Child Protection Alliance together with civil movements and human rights activists and other concerned parties has sent a letter to the Ministry of Buddha Shasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs with 45 signatories, and a letter to the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) shedding light onto this crisis.

The Child Protection Alliance recalling the responsibilities of the government for the children of this country cites the functions of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) as per Section 14(n) of Act No. 50 of 1998 which includes “to supervise and monitor all religious institutions and charitable institutions which provide child care services to children,” thereby urging the authorities to take immediate action against child abuse of occurrence in such places.  

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