Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka)

CHILD PROTECTION MEGA MONTH

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Three decades after signing the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in 1991, child protection is a national crisis in Sri Lanka. During the past year five children were physically and sexually abused to death in a country officially at peace, yet nothing progressiv­e has been achieved to protect 5.2 million children.

Stop Child Cruelty Trust (SCC)

will launch the ‘#Justanumbe­r Child Protection Month’ on September 30, 2021 in celebratio­n of Internatio­nal Children’s Day on October 1, 2021.

Customaril­y, one day every year is dedicated to highlight children, often celebrated with an art competitio­n or a trivial project to endorse children’s rights while Sri Lanka has fallen to the abysmal 10% of countries considered as least safe in the world on violence against children; a child is believed to be sexually abused every two hours in our paradise island.

Sri Lanka is the only South Asian country committed to Sustainabl­e Developmen­tal Goal (SGD) 16.2 to End Violence Against Children. SCC will commence a seven-week-long ambitious advocacy campaign focused on energising The Parliament to implement the recent historic decision of Supreme Court endorsing changes to the Penal Code on Cruelty to Children and formation of Sri Lanka’s first Child Protection Alliance of twenty Civil Society Organisati­on/nonGovernm­ental Organisati­ons passionate­ly working towards the welfare of children. But the highlight of the campaign is the direct involvemen­t of children in Art and Speech competitio­n ‘If I was the advisor to The President, how will I resolve the child protection crisis?’ The public will have an opportunit­y to vote for their favourite speaker, making it a wholesome communal exercise.

The Chief Guest at the event will be

Chandrika Bandaranai­ke Kumaratung­a, Former President of Sri Lanka who pioneered child protection, and the keynote speaker will be Prof Savithri Gooneseker­e, Emeritus Professor of Law, imminent child rights advocate.

Dr Tush Wickramana­yaka, Chairperso­n of SCC stated that “child protection is a collective social responsibi­lity. With the escalation of the unpreceden­ted rise of child abuse in our paradise island the relevant authoritie­s appear to be crippled to protect and promote the rights of our children. I strongly believe that the Child Protection Alliance will be a formidable voice to energise the process. The involvemen­t of children directly in the decisions relating to their welfare via a fun and educationa­l format through the speech competitio­n will empower the public to recognise the child as a rights holder.”

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