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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.

Following on the consultation we held with NGOs and government agencies directly concerned with the protection of children, the Task Force appointed by the Inter-Ministerial Committee to expedite implementation of the National Human Rights Action Plan met last week to work out how to take things forward.

I was a bit worried because there was a new Secretary of the Ministry of Child Development and Women’s Rights and, given the excellent input and understanding of his predecessor, I was worried that we might have to start from scratch as it were to work out what was needed. But I need not have worried. He was every bit as sensitive as his predecessor, and his sharp comment when we were discussing Children’s Homes, that what was being done amounted to incarceration, made it clear that he will do his best to promote the necessary reforms.

As I have noted previously, the officials who attend are committed to change, and this time too we had the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney General’s Department, as well as the Human Rights Commission and the Probation Department and the National Child Protection Agency, all anxious to move on the legislative changes necessary to minimize abuse. Drafts are ready for the Child Protection Ordinance as well as for safeguarding those who have to appear in Court, and the Secretary will soon have a consultation to agree on finalizing the Protection draft and expediting its presentation to Parliament.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

November 2012
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