With the aim of ensuring the protection and well-being of children in Sri Lanka, the Committee appointed to Study and Make Recommendations for the Protection of Children has handed over their comprehensive report to President Ranil Wickremesinghe. The handover took place at the Presidential Secretariat at 5:30 p.m. yesterday (03)
This crucial committee was established on April 19, 2023, under the instructions of President Wickremesinghe. Its primary mission was to study and provide recommendations for the protection, care and overall welfare of children who have been subjected to various forms of violence within Sri Lanka.
Over the course of nearly five months, the committee diligently conducted 21 meetings to gain an in-depth understanding of the existing issues and to formulate practical recommendations. The committee held deliberations with representatives from institutions such as Children Homes, Remand Homes, Certified Homes, Child Development Centres, Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), Chambers of Commerce, Trade Unions & Associations, Principals of Schools, Civil Society Organizations, Telecommunication and Digital Service Providers, Telecommunication Regulators, Digital Crime Security Experts, Lions Club, Rotaract Club, representatives from the U.S. Embassy, Colleges of Medicine, Solicitors General from the Attorney General’s Department, National Child Protection Authority, National Dangerous Drugs Control Board, National Authority on Tobacco and Alcohol, Family Health Bureau, Foreign Employment Bureau, Sri Lanka Women’s’ Bureau and officials from the Ministries in charge of Women & Children and Education.
The report, which was completed and submitted to the President yesterday, addresses a wide range of issues concerning child protection, including issues related to institutionalized environments, lack of parental care, family separation, digital media exposure, child labour and more. The committee also evaluated the adequacy of existing institutional, administrative and legal safeguards for child protection, aiming to meet the demands of modern society.
Furthermore, the report explores strategies to enhance the physical and mental health of children who have experienced various forms of violence, abuse and neglect. It also delves into the concerning trend of children engaging in violent acts and seeks innovative approaches for community participation in child care initiatives.
The committee has also given careful consideration to measures for reducing the institutionalization of children and promoting family-based care options. Additionally, it outlines a “restorative rehabilitative process” for children in Remand Homes, Detention centres and Certified Schools who have faced accusations of various offenses, with the goal of successful reintegration into society. The report also includes recommendations for the successful reintegration of children in child care institutions into society, focusing on life skills development and individual care plans.
This comprehensive report encompasses short, medium and long-term policy recommendations to prevent and mitigate factors exposing children to various forms of violence, address the consequences faced by such children and strengthen reporting, management and response mechanisms. It is a significant step forward in ensuring the well-being and safety of children in Sri Lanka.
The special committee comprised of Chairperson Attorney-at-Law Ms A K Weeratunge – Former Chairperson, Diripiyasa Trust Fund, Former Chairperson, Agromart Outreach Foundation, Dr Manoj Fernando – Dean, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Rajarata University, Ms Mumtaz Faleel – Country Director, World University Service of Canada, Ms Malithi Herath – Content Strategist – # Politics slk, Ms Nirmali Wickremesinghe – Educational Consultant, Former Principal, Ladies College, Dr Dilshani Bogollagama, Dr Asiri Hewamalge – Consultant – Community Physician, National Programme on Child Care Development and Special Needs, Family Health Bureau, Mrs Shiromi Masakorala – Executive Director, Hemas Outreach Foundation, Ms Buddhini Withana – Senior Technical Advisor, Save the Children, Dr Asvini D. Fernando – Council Member, Sri Lanka College of Paediatricians, Dr Hemamal Jayawardane – Attorney-at-Law, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF.
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