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- Nadira Gunatilleke


Celebrating the International Days with a cause

We celebrated Universal Children’s Day and International Elders’ Day yesterday. These are two of the very important days for society. Both children and elders are important to us. Children are the future of a country and the elders are the living storage of knowledge and experience. Certain things can only be learned through experience. Sometimes it is the experiences that count more than anything else.

Yesterday the Daily News published an interview conducted with Child Development and Women’s Empowerment Minister Mrs. Sumedha G. Jayasena. I have to point out certain very important facts stressed by her in connection with laws and amendments on protecting children and women in Sri Lanka. Without laws we will not be able to do anything. Laws support everyone even those who are let down by all the others including parents or children. Therefore this is the best day to talk about the Minister’s points on law.

In the interview Minister Jayasena said that her effort to implement the death penalty only for the convicted killers of children and women and rapists was sabotaged. This is the pathetic situation in our country. We talk and shout about human rights. But it was the human rights of terrorists, killers, rapists and similar persons. We never talk about the human rights of child mothers, raped women and even the human rights of women who had been raped and then killed. It seems they do not have human rights. Is human rights something related only to killers? Doesn’t human rights have any type of connection to victims?

I wonder how a protester feels if his/her own child become a child mother due to rape. Then how about a 12 year old girl carrying her father’s child? How about your 13 year old daughter carrying the baby of your own son?. If elders protest against legalising abortion only for child mothers they have to refrain from raping children. Who can give Sri Lankan children that guarantee? Can human rights organisations and human rights activists give the country’s children that guarantee? If they cannot do that, they have to shut their mouths and wait until Minister Jayasena brings in required amendments to the existing law.

The second issue is death penalty. What is wrong with giving death penalty to the killers and rapists who destroy the lives of innocent children and women?. Who protects the human rights of victims? Even the parents or the children of victims do not fight for the human rights of the victims because of threats and intimidations of the relations/friends or `guardians’ of the criminals. This is why we need death penalty. We do not request to introduce death penalty for all convicts. It is only for those who kill/rape women and children. How about applying the death penalty only for child killers and child molesters? What is the argument that can be brought against this? The death penalty should be imposed on all child killers and child molesters in order to protect Sri Lankan children, the future of our country.

We respect and take care of elders when celebrating International Elders Day. But I have a totally different story to tell you just after celebrating the Elders’ Day. That is what came out of a father’s mouth after being arrested for raping his own daughter. The rapist had said that “ I planted this tree and I have the soul right to eat its fruit. I cultivated and I take the harvest”. Are you ready to believe that there are fathers in Sri Lanka who believe that he has the ‘right’ to rape his daughter? But it is the reality. You have to accept it and think about it before protesting against applying the death penalty for such persons. It is revealed that now certain persons and groups based abroad have started to collect funds and give negative publicity to Sri Lankan culture using such incidents. This is now becoming another very attractive excuse for asylum seekers.

Can it be justified when human rights organisations and human rights activists earn money preventing the State from bringing in required laws to protect the country’s children and women? Who takes care of the victims? Because of this unacceptable protests of ‘human rights demons’ who protest against bringing in relevant laws and amendments, we are forced to give rape victims away in marriage to the the rapists. This is a shame for our country and the nation. The Universal Children’s Day and the International Elders’ Day in 2008 passed without doing any good to the child mothers or the dignity of aged fathers. But we have to celebrate these two days next year with significant progress. We have to celebrate these two days next year without allowing child mothers to suffer with rapists’ babies and without talking about fathers and grandfathers who rape their own daughters. The culprits will stop destroying others’ lives if there is a potential danger to their own lives?

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