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Implementation of National policy on prevention of child abuse 21 years late– COPE

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TNA MP Shanakiya Rasamanickam questioning officials of the National Child Protection Authority during last Friday’s COPE investigation

Chairman of the  parliamentary watchdog committee – COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises), Prof. Charitha Herath had instructed the relevant authorities of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) coming under the Ministry of Education to expedite the implementation of a national policy which was one of the primary responsibilities of the Authority, parliament sources said.

Prof Herath issued the instructions at the COPE committee meeting held on Friday, Feb 12.

The COPE committee disclosed that the NCPA had been established in 1998 to formulate a national policy on the prevention of child abuse and the protection of children.

However, the ommittee pointed out that the implementation of a national policy had not been carried out accordingly paving the way for a delay of 21 years. The Committee emphasised the importance of expediting the implementation of the national policy which had been already approved.

MPs Jagath Pushpakumara, Eran Wickramaratne, Premnath C. Dolawaththa, Shanakiya Rasamanickam and officials representing the NCPA were present on the occasion.

It was also brought to the Committees’ attention that annual reports of the Authority for the years 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 had not been submitted to Parliament so far. Expressing displeasure at the delay, the COPE Chairman instructed the Secretary to the Ministry of Education and the Secretary to the Ministry of State to immediately look into the matter and submit the relevant annual reports to Parliament within two months.

It was revealed that Rs. 9 million had been spent on creating a database for the authority in 2016, 2017 and a grant of Rs. 1.2 million had also been provided by the Department of Computer Studies, the University of Colombo to develop a software. The COPE committee emphasised that although it was important to prepare such a database, there should be a proper methodology as regards the utilisation of state funds. Thus, the Committee instructed the Secretary to the Ministry to immediately conduct an internal investigation and submit a report thereon urgently.

Although a legal framework had been introduced to regulate the transportation of school children as a measure to prevent child abuse, the COPE committee pointed out that it had not yet been implemented. The Chairman of the The Committee instructed to expedite the implementation of the regulations by employing the newly appointed graduates.

The Committee also raised concerns over the difficulties faced by the victims due to delays in hearing child abuse cases. Emphasis was placed on the importance of developing a system to set a timeframe for finishing such cases.

It was revealed that although 3,165 child protection committees had been set up in schools to prevent child abuse, only 2,392 of them were active. The Committee recommended that action be taken to ensure that all of them were active.

It was also revealed that the Authority had received 89,405 complaints between 2011 and 2020 and as at 31.01.2021, the number of unresolved complaints brought forward was 40,668. The Committee stated that it was unfortunate to have only one person working in the Law Enforcement Division to handle complaints. The Committee also directed that the Law Enforcement Division be strengthened to expedite the process of handling complaints accordingly.

The need to investigate and regulate all orphanages in Sri Lanka was also discussed at length. The Chairman recommended that the Authority prepare a new programme for the purpose and take immediate action to obtain all the basic data.

The Committee directed that steps be taken to develop a comprehensive database.



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Southern MP warns that Russian & Ukranian tourists working here are at risk

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“They may be knifed or their lives threatened”

ECONOMYNEXT – Tourists from Russia and Ukraine who are staying in houses in Sri Lanka for long periods are engaging in business activities and should be taxed to prevent them being knifed by competitors, SLPP MP Chandima Weerakkody told parliament on Friday.

“There are many tourists who are staying long term in houses,” he said. “Though they come here they cannot use their credit cards – especially Russian and Ukrainian tourists who cannot use their money through their cards. As a result they have been forced to work and earn something in Sri Lanka.”

He called on the government to have a system where they can use their money.

“In our areas many tourists are cutting hair, some are doing tinkering work, some are setting up pizza shops, some are selling cannabis – I think there is a new name now *for ganja),” Weerakkody said. “If we send the immigration behind the tourists who are coming, even those that are coming will not come.”

“No taxes are being charged from any of these tourists who are doing business. Our (local people’s) taxes are raised. I am asking at least to have a system for the government to collect some taxes

“I want to say in Parliament that in our areas, a knifing (pihi anumak), or some other threat to life (jeewitha tharjanayak) may happen if this situation continues.”

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Kidney sale racket unearthed in Colombo

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Five duped to sell their kidneys at Rs. 15 million each

By Norman Palihawadane

The Colombo Crimes Division (CCD) has informed the Colombo Additional Magistrate Ranjindra Jayasuriya that an investigation has been launched to arrest the suspects involved in the organized racket of obtaining kidneys from poor people promising big money and selling them to local and foreign people.The CCD told the court on Thursday that four men and one woman have parted with their kidneys, and despite promising to pay Rs.15 million per kidney nothing was paid.

CCD reported to court that the victims were operated at a Hospital on Cotta Road in Borella and no money was paid. A mother who was nursing a one-and-a-half-year-old infant was among those cheated.

The police told court that a person from the Bloemendhal area had referred these people through another man and a woman. Required medical tests had been conducted at three private hospitals.

Evidence has been obtained that kidney surgeries had been performed at a private hospital in Borella and the CCD stated in court that this racket was organized targeting poor families in Colombo.

It informed court that they have already launched investigations and will arrest the suspects and produce them before court.After considering the relevant submissions, the Magistrate ordered the CCD to conduct investigations and arrest the suspects and present them to court.

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Record highest number of school students visit Parliament

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School children wave during their visit to Parliament on Thursday (1). Serjeant-at Arms Narendra Fernando said that the largest number of school students in the history of the Parliament visited the Parliament on Dec 1. Over 5,000 students from 32 schools from different provinces visited the Parliament on that day, he said. More than 25,000 students representing schools in different parts of the country had visited to observe the Parliamentary debates after the Public Gallery was reopened for school students from Sept 19.

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