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Violence and child abuse, red alert in Sri Lanka

August 3, 2012 ·  , Melani Manel Perera, Colombo (AsiaNews via CNUA)http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Violence-and-child-abuse,-red-alert-in-Sri-Lanka-25366.html

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So far this year, police recorded 975 cases and 20 thousand complaints reported to the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA). Over the past five years, the country has registered 6,343 incidents of rape and 15,158 of child abuse. Among the main causes: the lowering of the level of education, spread of internet and mobile phones and cocaine and alcohol abuse.

Colombo (AsiaNews) – It is red alert in Sri Lanka as incidents of violence, rapes and child abuse continues to grow: from January 2012, 975 cases were registered by the police and 20 thousand complaints received by the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA). One of the last episodes that made headlines, concerns a 13 year old girl, victim of a gang rape by four men. One of these was an official of the Tengalle, and another, a businessman, owner of several hotels. Despite the young girl identifying her attackers, no one has been arrested.

Data from the Ministry for Women and Child Development at least 6,343 cases of rape and 15,158 cases of child abuse have taken place in the last five years. In this period, the sexual abuse of girls have grown exponentially: 799 cases in 2006, 805 in 2007, 914 in 2008, 922 in 2009, 1,089 in 2010, 1,169 in 2011.

According MLAM Hisbullah, Deputy Minister for Women and Child Development, the primary reason for the episodes is the lowering of levels of education, which add to the overall condition of impunity enjoyed by perpetrators. Alongside the general insecurity felt by children, is the spread among them of access to mobile phones with Internet connection; altered states caused by the consumption of more easily available cocaine and alcohol, a lack of sex education, especially among adolescents, which leads to greater promiscuity, particularly in the textile sector.

With data in hand, early July, the ministry brought the problem of child abuse to parliament, where the government promised “more stringent measures” in terms of penalties and sentences for offenders. However, activists and civil society complain that beyond this suggestion, the authorities have not taken any concrete steps to tackle the issue. Therefore, on July 21 last month, the National Christian Council (NCC) and Sri Lanka Lama Kriyakari Virayo (La-Kri-Vi) have organized a march of children in Colombo. Thousands of Christians – parents, children, priests and nuns – took part, marching to the capital with posters written in Tamil, Sinhalese and English. The gathering alternated moments for more playful activities, such as small exhibitions and performances, and moments of protest to raise awareness.

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