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).
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.