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The National Action Plan for the Protection and Promotion of Human Rights 2011 – 2016 as well as the full series of  Sri Lanka Rights Watch are available at the Peace & Reconciliation Website.

A couple of days after government had held a consultation about implementation of the Human Rights Action Plan with regard to Women and Children, the Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association convened a General Assembly on the topic of Violence against Women and Children. It seems that the World Association had thought this a matter of urgency to have ‘a wide spread campaign of stopping violence against women around the world’, and the Sri Lankan Association had taken the matter up through a very effective mechanism, namely asking each Province to examine a particular topic and make recommendations.

I had to be away for a couple of hours, so I missed some presentations, but I was privileged to hear the Northern, Southern, Central and Wayamba Provinces talk about Child Abuse, Child Labour and Rape. I was told too that Uva had made an excellent presentation, so I talked to the young ladies concerned over lunch and indeed found them aware of the scope of the problem, and full of ideas about how to resolve it.

All groups spoke of the need for greater awareness, and noted that not enough of this was given in school. This had come up in the government discussions too, as well as in the Civil Society consultations held at the Reconciliation Office, and also at a special session I had convened about children through the Task Force. Sadly – and I must take some responsibility for this, since the change was made when I chaired the Academic Affairs Board of the National Institute of Education – what is termed Life Skills is no longer compulsory at the crucial stage, namely Grades 10 and 11.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

May 2012
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