Prominent child rights advocate Dr. Tush Wickramanayaka from the Stop Child Cruelty Trust, accused SLPP political activists and politically aligned organisations of exploiting children to spread a false and dangerous narrative against LGBT people to mislead the public for their own political agendas.
SLPP affiliated Urban Citizens and Jehan Hameed spreading lies
The respected Doctor, in an interview with SLVLOG and News First, rejected as “false” that the proposed Bill to decriminalise homosexuality is also decriminalising child abuse.
She also noted that the claim these petitioners have made stating that decriminalization of homosexual relations will increase the rates of child sexual abuse in Sri Lanka and pose a serious threat to child safety is false and supported by irrelevant, outdated and fake studies.
Penal Code adequately protects children from abuse - Section 365B offers best protection
Dr. Wickramanayaka pointed out that several provisions in the Penal Code including Section 365B, heavily guards the safety of the child and imposes criminal sanctions on any person who abuses a child under 18 years of age, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation.
These provisions better protect children. Section 365 and 365A have only been used to propagate lies about LGBT people.
LGBT people are not child abusers - Dangerous misinformation must stop
She also brought to light key findings from research studies done in Sri Lanka and globally:
# In the last two years, 17 children have been murdered after extensive physical and sexual abuse in Sri Lanka. None of the perpetrators in these cases were homosexual.
# There is no evidence or correlation to show that countries who have decriminalized homosexual relations have experienced a dramatic increase in child abuse in the aftermath.
# It is heterosexual persons that make up the overwhelming majority of identified Pedophiles in countries and not homosexual persons.
Warns against exploiting children for political propaganda
Dr. Wickramanayake has questioned if the claims made in these petitions by SLPP aligned political activists truly reflect real concern for children as stated, or whether it is a political gimmick at the expense of using children.
Dr. Wickramanayake noted that she will continue to stand against such political scapegoating of children to perpetuate further injustice against a community that has seen longstanding suffering and discrimination inflicted upon them.
“In the light of many cases of serious abuse against children in all forms in the country in the past few years, it is truly ironic that concern for the wellbeing of children, and civic saviors who rush to their protection and cry out against abuse, have only appeared when the lives of historically ostracized people such as the LGBT community, who have been denied their basic dignity, freedoms and identities have received some hope for change.” she said.
In a historic move, the Sri Lankan Parliament gazetted the Private Members bill proposing amendments to the Penal Code decriminalizing consensual same sex relations between adult persons.
However, two petitions challenging the constitutionality of the proposed law have been filed at the Supreme Court by a group of SLPP aligned Political activists and a Civil Rights Organisation called Urban Citizens.
The main basis of these petitions allege that the proposed amendments is not in accordance with the “Best interests of the Child” principle and would lead to decriminalization of Child abuse.
Several intervening petitions have been submitted to the Supreme Court in support of the Bill by a plethora of activists from not only LGBTIQ organisations, but also from Child Rights groups, lawyers, Women’s Rights groups and Human Rights activists.
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