UNICEF is deeply shocked and saddened by the recent media reports of two child monks, living away from home and family, being brutally assaulted for an alleged wrongdoing. UNICEF notes with appreciation that society as a whole has condemned this act of violence.
In a statement issued today, UNICEF said that sadly, this is not an isolated incident. Daily across Sri Lanka, children, including those living with disabilities, in extreme poverty and in institutional care, undergo similar situations.
According to the statement, a Study on Child Disciplinary Methods Practiced in Schools in Sri Lanka conducted by the National Child Protection Authority in 2016 revealed that over 80% of students reported having experienced at least one form of corporal punishment in the past month. This is not only extremely damaging to children, it is scientifically proven that it can affect their developing brains, reduce their self-esteem and hamper their ability to learn and grow healthily.
UNICEF acknowledges that the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and the Ministry of Education are currently working together to draft amendments to laws banning corporal punishment of all forms and hopes that this is moved forward with urgency.
UNICEF noted that no child should experience such violence. Every child has the right to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel and degrading forms of punishment within their home, school, place of care and community.