With reference to our article “Child Protection in Sri Lanka lapses at NCPA - pose questions about competency,” dated February 22, National Child Protection Authority Chairperson, Marini de Livera has sent the following response. The Daily Mirror as a responsible newspaper which respects rights and views of all parties publishes the letter sent by the NCPA Chairperson.The Excerpts:-
I refer to the news item titled “Child Protection in Sri Lanka lapses at NCPA - pose questions about competency,” published on February 22, 2018 in the
The content under the heading “Alleged protection of Child Abuser” is false and inaccurate. This concerned an anonymous complaint against an NCPA officer which was received to our 24-hour child-line during the tenure of the previous Chairperson in 2016. The Attorney General [AG] by letter dated 26/12/2017 (WPI/47/2017) has informed the Director of Women and Children’s Bureau of the Police that there is no evidence to institute Criminal Proceedings against the said NCPA Officer. The Director of Women and Children’s Bureau of Sri Lanka Police has informed the Gangodawila Magistrate Courts that on the advice of the AG, the case would be closed. The said officer had also earlier lodged a complaint with the Police Commission and it was incidentally, the Police Commission had directed the Complaint to the AG. It is deplorable that even after the said officer’s name has been cleared by the AG, your newspaper published this misleading and distorted news item without checking the accuracy of its contents.
Further, you have also made imprecise, untrue statements with regard to the National Child Policy which is being prepared according to provisions of the National Child Protection Authority [NCPA] No. 50 of l998. Public comments were sought with regard to the draft policy and these comments are being incorporated into the final draft of the said policy by a Committee headed by the world-renowned Child Protection Expert and Founder Chairman of NCPA, Prof. Harendra de Silva. The present issues relating to Child Protection too are being incorporated to the policy.
It is beyond truth to state in your article that there are lapses at the NCPA. The functions of the NCPA are going on smoothly at Central, District and Divisional levels despite the obstacles set by anti-social elements. The 24-hour toll free help line functions 365 days, the special Police investigation team is working round the clock, so are the Surveillance, Video Evidence Recording, Psycho-Social, Law Enforcement, Programme and Legal Units. NCPA personally gets involved in Court Cases Island-wide and appears on behalf of Child victims where it seems that cases are being dragged on. NCPA also intervened and obtained assistance from UNICEF to reduce the huge backlog of cases relating to Child Abuse at the AG’s Department.
It is unpardonable that when the NCPA is functioning so well and endeavouring to serve the community to the best of its ability with such passion and vigour, that a newspaper such as yours instead of partnering with NCPA to promote and protect Child Rights, publishes distorted and fallacious material which could cause the erosion of public trust placed in the institution.
It is also a fabrication that I stopped and prevented a meeting set up by the NCPA Secretary. It also untrue that salaries of employees were not paid for February 2018.
Although you have given prominence to ideas of the NCPA union, whereas such a union has not been legitimately recognized by the Board of the NCPA. No information relating to this the composition of union has been received by NCPA so far and there is no intimation to the authority about a genuine industrial dispute.
I strive hard to do exemplary work in keeping with the rule of law and its allied principle and I wish to state that as Chairperson, I work with all officers and at head office and field officers in the peripheral areas attached to NCPA, and I am not partial towards any officer or employee of NCPA.