As the world observes International Women’s Day 2020 today, impunity for sexual and gender-based violence in Sri Lanka has been found to be high.
Amnesty International noted that in Sri Lanka, 142 cases of rape, and 42 cases of “serious sexual abuse, and 54 child abuse” cases have been reported during just the first 15 days of 2020.
According to the Sri Lankan Government, investigations have already been completed into 78 of the rape cases, 21 of the serious sexual violence cases and 34 of the child abuse cases.
However, according to Government statistics submitted for the 2019 CEDAW review, 379 cases of rape of women and girls over 16 years of age were reported in 2015 but 365 cases were pending completion of investigations by the end of the year, in 2016, out of 350 cases of rape reported, 337 were pending by the year-end.
Amnesty International also said that 294 cases of rape were reported in 2017, with 281 cases pending.
The total number of rape cases in the country is much higher because many go unreported.
A large number of cases also sit with the Attorney General’s department, while only a smaller percentage of the cases make it to Magistrates and High Courts, Amnesty International said.
Amnesty noted that impunity for sexual and gender-based violence is high in Sri Lanka, despite repeated assurances by consecutive Governments to address the issue. (Colombo Gazette)