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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.

The recent occurrences at a Children’s Home in Mawanella have highlighted the need for better systems and better supervision with regard to the care of children. This is something we have been pressing for, with regard to the National Human Rights Action Plan, but I should note that the need for some remedial action has been felt for a long time.

In this and other areas Milinda Moragoda, when he was Minister of Justice, commissioned several reports, though unfortunately not all have been produced. Perhaps for this reason, or whether it is because of the chaos that arises from constant changes of Ministers without adequate briefing mechanisms, action has not been taken on those that were produced. This is particularly sad with regard to children, for Shirani Thilakawardhana produced an excellent and very caring report. Had that been implemented, with proper monitoring, the tragedies we hear of now might have been avoided.

At a recent meeting of the consultations with governmental and non-governmental organizations that have been instituted under the aegis of the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies, we were presented with a very informative report by one of the few professionals at the Department of Probation. Further information was received from Save the Children, which has done yeoman service in this regard, and a UNICEF publication tellingly entitled ‘Out of Sight, Out of Mind: a report on Voluntary Residential Institutions for Children in Sri Lanka’.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

October 2012
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