Three infants are killed by their young mothers in Sri Lanka daily while one female child gets abused, Foundation for Law and Justice President, attorney-at-law Sumedha Senanayake said.
The rate of divorce too is rapidly increasing within Sri Lanka and a majority of couples divorce during the first year of their marriage, he said.
He was addressing a seminar in Colombo yesterday organized by CRAN, Save the Children, Plan International, ADIC and a group of other organizations.
Senanayake said that a majority in the studio and video business charge full amounts for their services and do not take advances because sometimes the couple do not turn up to accept their wedding photo albums, DVD etc because they divorce before preparing the wedding photo album. “Most are only interested in sex and not in having and bringing up children,” he added.
According to Attorney-at-Law Senanayake, there are children in remand prisons who had been sentenced to three years for stealing a banana, an apple or a drawing book.
“Most undergo various abuses because they are unable to obtain legal aid. Around 70 percent of child exploitation acts have been done by parents and the rest by either school teachers or persons in religious robes.
There are many loopholes in the existing outdated 72 year law, Children and Young Persons Ordinance No. 48 of 1939. The world including Sri Lanka consider persons under the age of 18 as children but according to the local law, this age is 14. This is a major shortcoming that needed to be corrected immediately,” he said.
He also revealed that that Provincial Probation and Child Care Services Department too have its share of corrupt officials though they are a miniscule who have been destroying the lives of innocent children over a long time. “There are illegal and inhuman acts taking place at the Provincial Probation and Child Care Services Department. This issue too needs to be addressed,” he said.
It was also revealed that there are around 20,000 children in various institutions such as children’s homes and remand homes in Sri Lanka.
The main reasons for ending up in such institutions are poverty, disabilities, getting arrested for minor offences and not being able to obtain legal aid The number of children in State homes are less than 2,000. Around 80 per cent of disabled children never attend school even once during their lifetime. Over 50 percent of mothers who go abroad as housemaids have children below the age of five