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Save the Children: Their name is Tomorrow

22 November 2013 04:21 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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A day after the budget, with ruling politicians who appear to care little and do less for millions of people in the country, the people themselves need to reflect on the vital factors which have to be restored to bring about a just and fair society with sustainable development and lasting peace.

We need to begin at the beginning, with the child or children whose name is Tomorrow. The plight of our children today, beginning from the milk they drink to what is fed to them or done to them physically, morally or otherwise, is pathetic if not tragic.

For instance most people-friendly nutritionists tell us that breast feeding for at least one year and preferably up to two years is vital for the proper growth of the child’s body and mind. But various other forcers or voices including trans-national food and milk power companies have misguided mothers, and as a consequence innocent children suffer. If the situation is bad when it comes to the health of the child it is worse when it comes to the other vital area of education.

With systems being changed from regime to regime and no proper national education policy the children are forced to carry bag loads of books for examination-oriented education in the highly competitive methods of the capitalist market economy. As a result, the child is forced to study in schools where good teachers have been declassed. After class for most children it is a rat race from tuition teacher to tuition teacher and it causes excess or unbearable stress to children and the parents. Worst of all, with books loaded on the heads, the children are deprived of their childhood spirit and pleasures like playtime. Sociologists say this causes some mental imbalance which later manifests in the character and attitude of the children.In addition to all these woes and vices heaped on the children we also see the worsening crisis of the sexual abuse of children and child pornography. Surveys indicate there are hundreds if not thousands of the crudest child porn sites in the social media and tens of thousands of people are watching them. When this vulgar lust goes into the minds and hearts of people it manifests in horrible vulgarity with fathers raping their daughters, brothers their little sisters and crime waves of other forms of child abuse.

More than two years ago, the Justice Ministry’s then Secretary Suhada Gamalath proposed tough legislation to control the import, distribution, production, exhibiting, telecasting, printing or broadcasting of pornographic material in Sri Lanka. The legislation titled ‘Obscene Publications Act’ was proposed in view of a sharp increase in the use of pornographic material since the advent of the internet and new technology superhighways. Mr. Gamlath had said children were the worst  affected and child pornography had a huge global market. Sri Lanka was no exception.

The legislation was meant to arrest this alarming trend and save our children.

Under the legislation the production or making available or offering in any manner or the distribution, transmission or procuring of child pornography using a computer system or possessing or retaining child pornography in a computer or on a computer data storage medium, or exposing a child to sexually explicit material by means of a computer; shall be guilty of an offence. On conviction such an offender could be fined up to Rs. 500,000 or jailed for up to 10 years.

As usual the executive and the legislature like the paths to hell are paved with good intentions, not to mention the facelift the city got for last week’s Show-gum. The legislation has not yet been implemented, Mr. Gamalath has quit reportedly on matters of principle while the draft for such a vital issue is languishing before some parliamentary committee which is virtually sitting on an innocent child.


 
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