May 11, Colombo: The international child protection organizations led by the UNICEF today expressing serious concern over the violent events taking places around the country urged the Sri Lankan authorities and public to take steps to stop the violence and protect children from experiencing trauma.
The organizations warned the psychosocial fall-out of the trauma the children have faced could have a long-term and devastating impact on their development and wellbeing.
“We, the undersigned, a network of child rights and protection organizations, are extremely concerned by the events currently taking place in Sri Lanka. We condemn all forms of intimidation and acts of violence against children.
“We deplore actions that put children in harms-way, including as witnesses of violent events. Children have the right to protest and have their voices heard, at the same time, they have the right to be protected from any form of violence. Children are impacted not only by their own experiences of violence, but also from the trauma they see their parents and communities facing. Children often cope with violence by normalizing it, but their suffering is hidden from sight, with the mental health and psychosocial fall-out of the trauma they have faced having a long-term and devastating impact on their development and wellbeing.
“It is the duty of parents, caregivers and community members to keep children away from violence, and actively protect them from its irrecoverable damage to their wellbeing.
“We also urge the public to kindly refrain from sharing images of children on social media, which may put them at high risk of secondary victimization.
“We strongly urge the state to take all measures to strengthen the child protection system across the country and ensure that front-line services can continue to function.
“Let us join hands in saying “NO” to any form of violence and to act in the best interest of every child”.
• Child Protection Alliance
• ChildFund Sri Lanka
• Save the Children
• Children’s Emergency Relief International (CERI)
• Stop Child Cruelty Trust
• Foundation for Innovative Social Development (FISD)
• Sarvodaya (Lanka Jathika Sarvodaya Shramadana Sangamaya)
• World Vision, Sri Lanka