Stop Child Cruelty Trust is raising awareness of violence against children through its new #JustANumber Child Protection Month, which seeks to spotlight the issue and call for change in Sri Lanka. The campaign will last from 1 October to 20 November, with weekly digital forums taking place every weekend in between.
“Our key objective is to energize Parliament to implement the Supreme Court directive to unequivocally ban corporal punishment,” said Dr. Tush Wickramanayaka, the founder of Stop Child Cruelty Trust.
Earlier this year, Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court recognized that corporal punishment of children in schools was a violation of children’s rights. However, the country has not yet banned the practice in full, and according to Stop Child Cruelty Trust, just last year, five children were physically or sexually abused to death in Sri Lanka.
The #JustANumber campaign hopes to change this situation, spurring collaboration across local civil society organizations to do so. In the process, Stop Child Cruelty Trust has established the country’s first-ever Child Protection Alliance, which consists of over 20 civil society organisations working on child protection.
Together, these organisations will host a number of initiatives on preventing and ending violence against children. The first of those initiatives is a national art and speech competition, which seeks to engage children from age 6 to 18. Through the competition, children will share their perspectives of violence, abuse and exploitation in Sri Lanka, and be encouraged to participate directly in the decisions around these issues.
At the campaign’s launch event, high-level speakers voiced their support for the cause, including former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga; and Prof. Savithri Goonesekere, University of Colombo Emeritus Professor of Law and former Vice Chancellor.
“Child protection is a collective social responsibility and Stop Child Cruelty is fully committed to becoming the powerful force behind increasing knowledge and engagement to empower Sri Lankans across the country to recognise the child as a rights holder,” said Dr Wickramanayaka.
The campaign will run from 1 October to 20 November of 2021. For more information, please visit Stop Child Cruelty Trust’s website.