The Stop Child Cruelty Trust (SCC) with the Child Protection Alliance (CPA) launched #NOගුටි, the National Campaign to End Violence Against Children on February 21, 2022, at the Goethe Institute in Colombo, in its latest efforts to protect the children of Sri Lanka.
The event also saw the appointment of influential persons as Child Protection Goodwill Ambassadors, a first in Sri Lanka. Renowned singer UmaraSinhawansa and ‘Voice 2021’ winner HarithWijeyratne and AdithyaWeliwatta launched a special song for the campaign at the event, drawing people’s attention to the plight of victims of child abuse.
Speaking on the launch, Dr. TushWickramanayaka, Founder Chairperson, Stop Child Cruelty Trust and Co-Convener, Child Protection Alliance said: “‘Corporal punishment is a form of abuse that is rarely discussed within the Sri Lankan community. 30 years ago Sri Lanka ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), but there seems to be no palpable progress. SCC along with the CPA has already commenced strong advocacy efforts. Ten children were physically, sexually abused and murdered during the past 16 months and there has been no meaningful action taken by relevant authorities to resolve the crisis. Sri Lanka is the only South Asian country that is committed to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16.2, to end violence against children, yet considered one of the least safe for children in the world. We as a collective of social activists are working committedly to address these issues by the #NOගුටි campaign. Abuse is not the alternative to rectifying the (mis)behaviors of a child”.
SCC with CPA, launched #NOගුටි with the goal of eradicating corporal punishment and in obtaining cabinet permission to implement the historic Supreme Court ruling of February 2021, which unambiguously prohibits corporal punishment through Penal Code revisions. The campaign will be led by children, with the guidance of the influential celebrity Child Protection Goodwill Ambassadors and Sri Lanka’s child protection officials.
As child abuse rates rise, Sri Lanka’s first ever ‘Child Protection Goodwill Ambassadors’ are voluntarily leading the charge in providing a safe environment for children. The Celebrity Ambassadors that were inducted will amplify the campaign’s cause. The children and newly designated ambassadors will lead the charge in campaigning for #NOගුටි. The Ambassadors include, SarangaDisasekara, DinakshiePriyasad, UmaraSinhawansa, HarithWijeratne, AdithyaWeliwatta, Dr. VisakesaChandrasekaram, KalakeerthiNiranjaniShanmugaraja, Abisheka Fernando, Kaushalya Fernando, and OtaraGunewardena.
“First and foremost, we cannot raise our hands on children because we do not believe it is the correct thing to do, and if we do, we may regret it later. We also think that children mimic adults. They understand that “it is okay to do whatever the adults do.” The same disciplining measures we use with our children are likely to be carried over into their own parenting approaches. So, it’s best to raise kids at the correct time, so that these terrible parenting habits aren’t passed on to the following generation. ‘Spanking’ a child might leave them with negative memories. They are more prone to remember traumatic than pleasurable occurrences. Rather than spanking, we may use love to educate what is good and evil. We also think that parents should allow their children ‘freedom with limits’ to help them discern between good and wrong”, added SarangaDisasekara, Actor and Brand Ambassador for #NOගුටි.
SCC initiated the formation of Sri Lanka’s first CPA of credible organizations passionately committed to protecting and promoting the rights of children. The Alliance firmly believes that working cohesively towards focused targets will help achieve greater success, especially in advocacy work with relevant state institutions.
Child Protection is a collective social responsibility and SCC/CPA will continue its collaborative efforts to build a self-governing ethical code of behavior to safeguard and promote the rights of victims of child abuse, while also preventing re-victimization in the community. Those interested in getting involved towards the cause can visit the website at www.stopchildcruelty.comand the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/stopchildcruelty or email firstname.lastname@example.org