UNICEF Sri Lanka Representative Tim Sutton said that this historical decision by the Government is a strong demonstration of the Government of Sri Lanka's commitment to protecting the rights of children and ensuring justice and fairness for children.
Last year, Sri Lanka became the first South Asian country to reaffirm its commitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on behalf of its children as part of the 30th Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
According to the Department of Prisons's 2019 statistics, 168 children under the age of 16 and 11,203 youths between the ages of 16 and 22 have been directly admitted to prisons. In addition, 1,933 young people between the ages of 16 and 22 have been directly admitted to the prison system in 2019 along with adults as convicted prisoners.
UNICEF supports the Government of Sri Lanka to ensure that the judicial system is equipped to meet the rights and interests of children and to build a comprehensive national child protection system that can prevent and respond to all forms of child neglect, violence against children, sexual abuse of children and exploitation of children.