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National child protection policy not implemented for 21 years, says COPE

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NFF cranks up pressure on SJB over death of teenage girl

By Shamindra Ferdinando 

The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) was established in 1998, but the national policy on child protection hasn’t been implemented yet, according to the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE).

 This was revealed when NCPA Chairperson Prof. Muditha Vidanapathirana and other officials including the Secretary of the Education Ministry Prof. Kapila Perera, appeared before the COPE in Feburary this year.

 COPE Chairman Prof. Charitha Herath has pointed out the failure on their part to implement the national policy though NCPA had been established more than 20 years ago.

 Prof. Vidanapathirana was not immediately available for comment.

 The COPE highlighted the NCPA’s failure to implement a national policy it called a primary responsibility of the outfit. COPE proceedings also revealed NCPA’s annual reports for 2016, 2017, 1018 and 2019 hadn’t been handed over to Parliament, wasting of public funds on futile project to prepare a data network,  the Legal Department being served by only two persons and only one person serving the section handling complaints.

 The inordinate delay implementing the national policy on child protection has received the media attention in the wake of shocking revelations surrounding the apparent suicide of sexually abused 16-year-old Ishalini Jude Kumar, who succumbed to injuries caused by a fire in the residence of lawmaker Rishad Bathiudeen at No 410/16, Baudhaloka Mawatha, Colombo 7. 

Civil society groups ‘We are the future’ and “Lakmawa Diyaniyo’ affiliated to the National Freedom Front (NFF) yesterday alleged that some of those who caused a media and social media furore over the statutory rape of another 15-year-old girl, was silent over the death of Ishalini.

Addressing the media at Dr. N. M. Perera Centre, Borella, Isuru Prasanga and S.R. Muthumali said that Ishalini had been admitted to the National Hospital on July 3 with serious burn injuries and in spite of medical staffs’ efforts to save her, she succumbed to her injuries on July 15. Subsequent examination of the Ishalini revealed the teenager had been subjected to sexual abuse, they said, urging authorities to take immediate action.

 They pointed out that though Bathiudeen was an MP he shouldn’t enjoy privilege status and should be subjected to no holds barred police investigation.

 MP Bathiudeen and his brother are in custody under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) over their alleged links with the 2019 Easter Sunday carnage.

 The groups affiliated to the NFF alleged that those responsible for ensuring justice for Ishalini were silent. They urged the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) to respond to the unexpected development as Bathiudeen’s All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) contested the last parliamentary election on the SJB ticket. The ACMC contested the 2010 and 2015 general elections, on the SLFP led UPFA and UNP, respectively. The ACMC switched its allegiance to breakaway UNP faction, SJB in early 2020 following the split in the former ruling party.

 They asked whether attempts were being made to suppress the case. Declaring their intention to lodge a complaint with police headquarters in that regard, they urged the mainstream and social media to campaign for the rights of children.

 Having condemned the other statutory rape of 15-year-old girl, the SJB couldn’t remain silent on the latest exposure of one of its lawmakers employing an underage child in clear violation of the law and she having been sexually abused, they said. The NCPA and higher authorities, including the relevant parliamentary watchdog committee should be held responsible for a proper investigation into the incident at the Baudhaloka Mawatha residence of the MP.

 They said that a lawmaker couldn’t have been unaware of the legal impediment in hiring children as servants.

 The police have recorded several statements so far in connection with the death of Ishalini who was procured in Oct or Nov last year and she had not been able to go home for the last seven months.



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Shocking 17,500 video clips of Lankan children being sexually abused

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By Norman Palihawadane

There were over 17,500 video clips of Sri Lankan children being sexually abused, on the Internet and action had been taken to arrest those responsible, Police Spokesman Senior DIG Ajith Rohana said yesterday. The Sri Lanka Police had sought the assistance of international law enforcement agencies and the Internet service providers to track down the persons involved in uploading those video clips and child sex trafficking via internet, the SDIG said.

Crimes against children in Sri Lanka were rising at an alarming speed, the SDIG said.

The police would conduct a special awareness programme together with the National Child Protection Authority to curb the alarming trend, he said.

The first programme was held recently in Nuwara Eliya where it especially focused apprising police officers attached to that Division.

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Private buses to insist that inter-provincial commuters carry proof of vaccination?

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By Rathindra Kuruwita

A limited number of Sri Lanka Transport Board (SLTB) and National Transport Commission (NTC) buses and trains would maintain limited inter- provincial operation from 01 August, State Minister of Transport, Dilum Amunugma said.

The State Minister said that certified documents issued by the respective depot superintendents and the letters of approval by the NTC were mandatory, he added.

“The buses and trains will be permitted to operate only in the morning and in the evening for office workers,” Amunugma said.

The State Minister added that passengers should behave responsibly when using the inter-provincial transport services and understand that those services were only for commuters engaged in essential services.

“The Delta variant is spreading rapidly. If one infected passenger travels in a bus, all other commuters will contract it” he warned.

The Lanka Private Bus Owners’ Association (LPBOA) has decided to make proof of vaccination compulsory for inter provincial travel from 01 August

LPBOA President Gemunu Wijeratne said they had written to the President and Transport Minister asking for permission to enforce it.

Wijeratne said that all bus operators in the Western Province should ensure they were inoculated by August 15.

 

 

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TNA Leader complains against appointing Sinhala officers to Tamil areas

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By Dinasena Ratugamage

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Leader, R. Sampanthan had written to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, objecting to the appointment of Sinhala government officers to the Northern Province, former TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah told journalists on Wednesday (28.)

The President and the Prime Minister are appointing officials violating democratic principles, Senathirajah said after a meeting of party activists at Karachchi Divisional Secretariat Office, Kilinochchi.

“A lot of Sinhalese are appointed to the North and the East. They must appoint Tamils. These appointments undermine our struggle for a just language policy,” he said.

Senathirajah said that it was customary to appoint Tamil officers to Tamil majority areas. However, this tradition was being violated increasingly in recent times, the former MP said.

“The TNA has nothing against Sinhala government officers. However, appointing Sinhala state officers to majority Tamil areas is a great injustice to the people. So, our leader has written to the President and the Prime Minister asking them to stop this practice,” he said.

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