Sri Lanka: Justice and protection for the children of Darun Nusra Orphanage
Our member organisation in Sri Lanka, Human Rights Office-Kandy, has signed onto a joint statement with other civil society organisations regarding the report of child abuse at an orphanage in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The statement is below.
Justice and Protection for the children of Darun Nusra Orphanage!
A joint statement placing our concerns and demands to the Government and the State Authorities responsible for child protection
In light of the recent incidents of alleged sexual abuse of 18 children who were residing in the Darun Nusra Orphanage, situated at 39/7A, Peiris Road, Kalubowila, Sri Lanka, we the undersigned individuals/organisations would like to issue a joint statement placing our concerns and demands to the Government and the State Authorities responsible for child protection.
Without prejudice to the victims in the ongoing legal case at the Nugegoda Magistrates Court, we observe with concern the inordinate delay in producing the relevant medico-legal reports and other relevant evidence on the part of State authorities. This also includes the footages of the CCTV cameras which were reported to have been placed within the premises of the Orphanage including the private rooms of the girls. Due to the social and economic vulnerability of the affected children in this case, we request that the State authorities responsible for child protection give their full attention to this case and assist the Court in expediting the legal proceedings.
We also note with concern that bail has been granted to the suspect in this case. We fear that the affected children might be intimidated and harassed by the suspect. Hence we demand that the responsible authorities including the Police and the National Child Protection Authority provide victim and witness protection to the affected children.
We further state that the State authorities including the National Child Protection Authority, FCID, CID, Women and Child Bureau and Crime Branch of Kohuwela Police should keep the welfare of the affected children at the center of any action taken with regards to this case. In this regard in order to protect the affected children, and to prevent possible intimidation and harassment of the witnesses and victims, we demand that the National Child Protection Authority take Official control of the management of the Darun Nusra Orphanage until suitable alternative arrangements can be made in terms of appointing a new management.
Furthermore this incident does not involve only the alleged suspect.
It has been reported that both the management of the Darus Nusra Orphanage and the Probation Officers have been negligent in exercising their duties and have become complicit to the traumatic experience the children underwent while residing in the Orphanage. It is even more concerning that despite the occurrence of the alleged incident the children have been returned to the Orphanage which is still under the old management.
Standing in solidarity with the affected children and their parents we strongly condemn this inhumane move by the probation officers. We request the National Child Protection Authority to take Official control of the management of the Darun Nusra Orphanage until suitable alternative arrangements can be made in terms of appointing a new management.
We further demand an inquiry in to negligence of the Management of the Orphanage and the responsible Probation Officers and demand action against these persons if found guilty of being complicit to the alleged incident.
The undersigned Organizations and individuals strongly condemn this incident and demand justice, economic and social support including financial allocations for the wellbeing of the children, medical and counseling assistance and such other support and protection for the affected children and their parents of the Darun Nusra Orphanage.