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New online reporting system to combat child sexual abuse, launched

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The launch of an online platform enabling the swift removal of websites, photos, and videos containing or potentially containing instances of child sexual abuse took place today (March 28) at the Presidential secretariat under the patronage of President Ranil Wickremesinghe.Recognizing the urgency of addressing child abuse in cyberspace, this initiative targets the dissemination of nude photos and indecent videos of children through internet and social media channels. Implemented by the National Child Protection Authority in collaboration with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF), renowned for its expertise in internet child safety enforcement, this program receives financial support from Save the Children and Child Fund.

Following the implementation of this online system, individuals can now visit the website of the National Child Protection Authority at www.childprotection.gov.lk to report incidents of indecent photos and videos of children exchanged online. These reports will be handled by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) in collaboration with the National Child Protection Authority. Subsequently, the offending videos will be promptly removed from the internet, and legal action will be pursued against the perpetrators.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe addressing this event said;

“For several decades, this sector has been neglected. The government has indeed neglected it, and the attention it warranted has not been provided. The magnitude of the problem now is such that resolving it within a year seems implausible. We lack the capacity to address the issue comprehensively; therefore, we must employ a variety of strategies.

Firstly, short-term recommendations must be promptly implemented. We propose that the existing committee include stakeholders from the government, specifically authorities in child care and probation services, along with representatives from the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, and the police force. Strengthening police numbers, particularly in women and children’s desks at every police station, is imperative. This effort must be coordinated with measures against drugs.Additionally, we must consider establishing a new structure and enacting new legislation. I advocate for the formation of a Children’s Council to oversee both the promotion of children’s interests and their protection. The management of probation and child care services should be devolved to the nine provinces, as I believe this responsibility does not necessarily belong to the central government.”

He added that immediate action should be taken on short-term recommendations, while the process of enacting new legislation pertaining to children’s rights should also be expedited.

For further information, contact the Law Enforcement Division at 011-2778911 extension (269) or visit the official website www.childprotection.gov.lk.The launch of this online initiative was attended by Minister of State for Women and Child Affairs and Social Empowerment, Ms Geeta Kumarasinghe, Chairman of the National Child Protection Authority, Senior Lecturer Mr Udayakumara Amarasinghe, Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and Social Empowerment, Ms Yamuna Perera, and representatives from various organizations dedicated to ensuring child safety.

(President’s Media Division)

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Presidential Poll can be held with Acting IGP – Fmr. Election Chief

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Former Chairman of the Election Commission Mahinda Deshapriya said there is no obstacle to holding the Presidential Election with an Acting Inspector General of Police.

He said he believes the current IGP can hold the position he held before until the court hearing concludes.

He said he believes a suitable person should be appointed as Acting IGP tomorrow, adding that there may be no IGP until the hearing concludes, but the election can be held under an Acting IGP.

He added that there is no issue because if the country is governed under an appointed President, it is not a big deal to conduct the election under an Acting IGP.

(News1st) 

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Japan officially notifies SL to resume disbursement to Yen loan projects

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Following the completion of the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Official Creditor Committee (OCC) and Sri Lanka on 23 July and the expression of the willingness by the Government of Sri Lanka to swiftly conclude a bilateral agreement on debt restructuring, the Government of Japan has officially decided to resume disbursement to Yen Loan Projects, which had been suspended since the default of Sri Lanka in 2022.

On 24 July, the Government of Sri Lanka, the Embassy of Japan and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Sri Lanka Office held a joint press conference to inaugurate this milestone decision at Ministry of Finance.

While congratulating the completion of the MOU on debt restructuring between Sri Lanka and the OCC, Ambassador MIZUKOSHI Hideaki highlighted the unprecedented initiative and outstanding contribution by the Government of Japan, as a co-chair of the OCC, in leading and concluding the public debt restructuring.

Ambassador Mizukoshi also commended Sri Lankan authorities for their ongoing efforts in implementing the comprehensive economic and social reforms essential to guide the country back to a sustainable path. He stated that all the suspended yen loan projects are crucial infrastructures that promote Sri Lanka’s economic growth and further reaffirmed Japan’s continuous and unwavering commitment to supporting Sri Lanka.

On behalf of Mr. Yamada Tetsuya, Chief Representative of JICA Sri Lanka Office, Ms. Ide Yuri, Senior Representative, handed over the official letter on this decision to Mr. Mahinda Siriwardana, Secretary to the Treasury, which is addressed to President Wickremesinghe from Dr. Tanaka Akihiko, President of JICA.

Ms. Ide Yuri expressed her hope that the resumption of Yen loan projects will contribute to stabilizing the economy and society of Sri Lanka and help gain momentum toward long-term sustainable growth, thus paving the way for Sri Lanka to recover trust and confidence from the people and private businesses of both Sri Lanka and the world.

Secretary Siriwardana expressed his profound gratitude for this decision and sincere appreciation for Japan’s excellent initiative and long-term dedication in the debt restructuring.

It is hoped that the resumption of disbursement to Yen loan projects would further strengthen the bond between Japan and Sri Lanka, as well as help this island nation bring itself back on track for further economic development, serving as a hub in the Indian Ocean.

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Cabinet takes decision following SC order on IGP

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During a special Cabinet briefing today (July 24), it has been decided to announce its response to the decision of the Supreme Court regarding the Inspector General of Police (IGP) within the next two days after studying in depth the legal aspects of the matter.

The special cabinet meeting chaired by President Ranil Wickramasinghe was held this evening at the Presidential Secretariat in Colombo.

The Cabinet of Ministers had been of the opinion that since the decision of the Supreme Court regarding the IGP was received only this afternoon, adequate time is needed to conduct an in-depth study of the related legal issues.

Accordingly, it was unanimously decided that it would be most suitable to announce the response of the Cabinet in the next two days.

Earlier today, the Supreme Court issued an interim order preventing Deshabandu Tennakoon from performing duties and functioning in the position of the IGP.

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