UN concerned over sexual exploitation of children in Sri Lanka

A UN committee has raised concerns over the sexual exploitation of children in Sri Lanka.

The committee noted the reportedly high prevalence of sexual exploitation of children, including boys, in travel and tourism.

In view of the growing tourism industry based on Sri Lanka’s policy to promote tourism, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child is concerned that the liability of legal persons for the offences under the Optional Protocol has not been established or envisaged.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has published its findings on the countries it examined during its latest session from May 13 to 31: Botswana, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Malta, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Tonga.

On Sri Lanka, the committee notes that in the light of article 3 (4) of the Optional Protocol, the Committee recommends that the State party, without delay, establish criminal, civil or administrative liability of legal persons for the offences covered by the Optional Protocol.

The committee also notes that Section 2(2) of the Penal Code establishes the State party’s exterritorial jurisdiction for offences under the Optional Protocol committed by its nationals.

It regrets that the State party does not extend this provision to a person who has habitual residence in the territory of the State party.

The committee recommends that the State party revise its Penal Code in line with article 4(2) of the Optional Protocol, with a view to extending its extraterritorial jurisdiction over the offences under the Optional Protocol to habitual residents in its territory. (Colombo Gazette)

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