The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) has asked the Sri Lankan Government to repeal laws that criminalise homosexuality and LGBT people.
The UN Child Rights Committee, responsible for ensuring that Sri Lanka abides by its commitments under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, called on the Government to repeal laws that criminalise same-sex relationships.
The Committee, in paragraph 16 of its 5th and 6th Periodic Report on Sri Lanka, also requested the Sri Lankan Government to combat discrimination against LGBT people, prohibit harassment against LGBT people and bring perpetrators of violence against LGBT people to justice.
Sri Lanka has accepted the recommendations of the Committee and promised Penal Code reform “to bring them into line with international human rights standards”.
The Committee also highlighted that under the existing sections 365 and 365A of the Penal Code, children “were perceived as perpetrators”. The Sri Lankan Government clarified that “the law was inherited from colonial times and that under the current State practice children were not considered as perpetrators.”
The strong statement from the UN Child Rights Committee directly challenges the false narrative being spread by organisations such as Urban Citizens, led by SLPP Organiser Sharmila Gonawala, that the proposed Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, amending section 365 and repealing section 365A, will be harming children and violate Sri Lanka’s UN Commitments to children.
Over 100 child rights, women rights and human rights activists and lawyers, including Child Protection Force and Stop Child Cruelty Trust and other professionals recently wrote to the President expressing their support for the Penal Code (Amendment) Bill. They advised him to not believe “lies” being spread by those with vested interests that passing this law will expose children to abuse and that other provisions in the Penal Code better protects children.
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