A Fight To Protect Children

Two-year-old Ruvini has been left at the roadside with a bag of clothes and a letter giving her name and date of birth. She has neither a birth certificate nor an immunization card. She was found by a catholic nun while crying for her mother. It took a long time for her to settle down and adjust to the surroundings of the home she was then moved into.

Fourteen-year-old Chamari (who is differently-abled) has just had a miscarriage and is unable to explain what happened to her. The only evidence available is from neighbours, who may or may not have known what really happened. Her father was arrested and threatened by the Police into making a statement saying that he raped her. But Chamari says it was not her father and that it was the young boy who came to repair the computer at home. There is no medical evidence to know exactly what had happened.

Rajan, aged 15, has been accused of carrying drugs. He is forced to carry drugs to feed himself and his orphaned baby sister. His mother is in jail for dealing drugs and his father is almost always on drugs and passed out on the streets. He has no other option other than to transport drugs that his uncle gives him. Many dealers use children to transport drugs due to the low risk of being checked by the police.

Three-year-old Chathura’s parents fight and are quite abusive at home. He is then separated from his father, whom he adores. He is left alone with his grandmother, who beats him every day. The psychological report filed in court had a technical error (The psychologist had never met the children), and said that the child was better left with the mother. The Court only granted two days visitation rights to the father. Chathura hates to go back to his mothers’ house because of the continuing abuse. He might even have been put into an institution by now.

These incidents are facts from cases Child Protection Force has appeared for.

Child Protection Force was founded by Milani Salpitikorala, Attorney-at-Law, in 2017 after many years of her working alongside the National Child Protection Authority, and senior lawyers and judges who had a passion for Child Rights Law.

“After practicing as a lawyer for a few years and walking in and out of several Magistrates Courts that I used to practice in, I saw the plight of our children. I realized that the legal system with regard to the child is anything but child friendly. Then I registered something in my mind that I will never ever forget and will always live by. I am a lawyer, yes. But I will never forget that my profession is also a service, and I must do my part to serve society”.

Her practical knowledge in the legal system on child rights, her first hand exposure to child victims and worked under Justice Shiranee Tilakawardane, former Judge of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka and a strong body in the fight for Women and Children’s Rights, makes this project something she always wanted to do. She is committed to minimizing the gap that keeps the child victims from healing and bringing the perpetrators to justice. She will act as Executive Director Child Protection Force and be directly involved in all the cases and over-looking of the entire organizations work.

Child Protection Force consists of members and employees who have a passion for Child Rights Law and it is committed to work effortlessly towards a change to the legal system with regard to the child.

 

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