CRC selected recommendations from October 2010

  1. The participation and the involvement of all of the society in the designation and implementation of preventive strategies against child violence;
  2. The implementation of a national strategy to prevent, combat and punish child abuse and violence. This comprehends the undertaking of broad awareness programmes and trainings of offcials who are in direct contact with the victims and the public at large;
  3. The creation of adequate protection mechanisms for victim-children through the imposition of restraining and removal orders against the alleged perpetrators.
Political will and coordination In March 2017, the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs of Sri Lanka set up a secretariat to operationalize the pathfnding process in the country, further strengthening the Government’s commitment as well as its coordination with UNICEF, CSOs and other national partners. The Ministry then revived the multi-stakeholder coordination group (i.e., the National Committee for the Monitoring of the Rights of the Child established in 1993 to verify the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child). The Committee, chaired by the Ministry, is the highest authority to make collaborative decisions for the realization of children’s rights. Along with six members appointed by the President of Sri Lanka, the Committee is comprised of secretaries or heads of departments from 17 ministries and government agencies with a child rights mandate. With support from UNICEF, the Ministry developed the ‘Preventing Violence Against Children in Sri Lanka Country Discussion Paper’, which lays out a situation analysis including key issues, opportunities and next steps. The paper was presented at the launch of the National Partnership to End Violence Against Children by 2030 by the Government and partners in June 2017. Sri Lanka committed to protecting its children from violence, for example prohibiting the corporal punishment of children, the most prevalent form of violence against them, at the July 2006 meeting of the South Asia Forum and, during the UPR of Sri Lanka in 2017, it clearly accepted a recommendation to prohibit corporal punishment in all settings. However, prohibition has yet to be achieved in the home, alternative care settings, day-care centres, schools and certain penal institutions.
Consultation Spearheaded by the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and UNICEF, consultation to develop the ‘Country Discussion Paper’ involved representatives from World Vision, Save the Children, SOS Children’s Villages, LEADS, ChildFund Alliance, the Foundation for Innovative Social Development, WHO, the United Nations Population Fund, UNDP, the Employers’ Federation of Ceylon, the private sector (including Cargills Bank and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce), USAID, the Open University of Sri Lanka at Nawala, the University of Colombo, and Development Pathways. The process also entailed consultations with children and adolescents.
Data collection Given the scale of change experienced in Sri Lanka over the past decade, including the end of the civil war in the northern and eastern parts of the country in 2009, studies more than 10 years old may already be outdated. Sri Lanka is a diverse country, and national data can easily mask disparities between and within regions; for example, health and education statistics differ sharply from region to region. In addition, administrative data are an important – but underutilized – source of information. The ‘Country Discussion Paper’ provides the available evidence that children in Sri Lanka are at risk of violence in many forms, but further investigation into the prevalence and drivers of violence is needed.
National road map/action plan In contrast to other documents, the ‘Country Discussion Paper’ bases its recommendations on empirical evidence. According to its fndings, Sri Lanka is developing a national road map that will outline key milestones to achieve its SDG targets for 2030. The next immediate step is to develop the Sri Lanka National Plan of Action to End Violence against Children, which is already in progress.
Implementation and evaluation The ‘Country Discussion Paper’ affrms the aim to implement all seven INSPIRE strategies; the proposed interventions include: (I) provide training and systems to manage cases and monitor child victims throughout the justice system; (N) implement training and minimum standards to protect children from harmful media reporting, which often reinforces ethnic and gender stereotypes, promotes violence as a confict-resolution tool, sensationalizes sexual violence and stigmatizes victims; (P) strengthen programmes with the health sector to help vulnerable parents to prevent child abuse and violence in the home; and (E) work with the country’s 3,867 Children’s Clubs as entry points for building children’s life skills, knowledge and participation.
Budget The approximate annual cost of the National Plan of Action will be estimated after the work plan is fnalized.
Opportunities
  1. Undertake a VAC prevalence study in 2018 with the Department of Census and Statistics of Sri Lanka;
  2. Develop partnerships with the private sector; and
  3. Explicitly prohibit all forms of VAC, including all corporal punishment, in the home and in alternative settings, and ensure prohibition is appropriately resourced and implemented, including through awareness-raising campaigns and training on positive discipline for parents and professionals.
References
Reporting into SDGs Sri Lanka will report to the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in 2018 (July).
Government contact Chandrani Senarathna, Secretary, Ministry of Women and Child Affairs.