Sri Lanka to Amend Penal Code: Including Male Child Rape as a Criminal Offense

Sri Lanka is set to make amendments to its Penal Code, introducing legislation that will criminalize the rape of male children, addressing a long-standing gap in the country’s legal protection against sexual violence. Currently, Sri Lanka’s Penal Code under Section 363(e) specifically provides protection against the rape of girls, leaving male victims without equivalent legal recognition.

The move to amend the law comes as the Cabinet of Ministers, in their recent meeting on the 24th, agreed to tighten the legal framework around sexual violence, which includes closing existing loopholes in the laws concerning the rape of females. This decision follows prior approvals in Cabinet meetings on January 18, 2021, and June 28, 2021, to overhaul sections of the Penal Code that deal with the rape of females and to extend legal protections to male children.

The Attorney General has approved the draft bill prepared by the Legal Draftsman, paving the way for its publication in the Government Gazette and subsequent presentation to Parliament for legislative approval.

The reforms are a crucial step for Sri Lanka, a country grappling with high rates of sexual violence and a notable deficiency in sexual literacy. In recent times efforts to introduce sexual education into the school curriculum have faced resistance, notably from religious leaders including Buddhist monks