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Last updated: 26 September, 2011 - Published 11:58 GMT
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'Tough laws needed' for child abuse
Minister Tissa Karalliyedda (photo: Daily News)
Minister says tt is "shameful" to see that certain religious leaders are involved in child abuse
The minister in charge of children's affairs in Sri Lanka has called for tougher laws against child sex abuse.

Minister Tissa Karalliyadde said the authorities are "sad and surprised" at the scale of child abuse surrounding religious centres in the island.

He was commenting on recent reports of a spate of child abuse involving Buddhist monks, a Christian pastor and in children's homes, some of which are run by organisations funded by churches.

"Existing legal provisions are not strong enough to deal with child abusers," Minister Karaliyadde told BBC Sinhala service.

"The most severe punishment in the country is the death sentence. We need tough laws that falls just short of death sentence," the minister added.


It is "shameful" to see, according to the minister, that certain Buddhist monks, Catholic clergy and others involved in child abuse in Sri Lanka.

 The most severe punishment in the country is the death sentence. We need tough laws that falls just short of death sentence
Minister Tissa Karalliyedda

"I have seen that some culprits have been released having just been ordered to pay a small fine. That is why I said that we need to introduce tougher laws."

Children Development Minister Tissa Karaliyedda, however, rejected accusations that political leaders are trying to influence judiciary to get the culprits released.

"The president has clearly instructed us to implement the law irrespective of the status," he told BBC Sandeshaya.

The head of the national child protection authority, Anoma Dissanayake, said she did not have latest figures on how many religious dignitaries were convicted on child abuse charges.

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