Child Rights in Sri Lanka
Against a backdrop of civil unrest, economic collapse and natural disasters, Sri Lanka has done well to advance the situation of children across the country including action to address child labour - yet challenges persist. Today 2.3% of the country’s 4.5 million children are working, half of which are engaged in child labour and some engage in the worst forms of child labour.
As many as 85% of Sri Lanka’s working children reside in rural areas and the majority of them work within the service sector. They are often in precarious conditions that harm their health and safety. A child rights risk assessment of Sri Lanka's tea industry carried out by The Centre for Save the Children in 2020 found that child labour, low wages of parents, poor living conditions and lack of day-care among others, all pose risks to children linked to the agricultural sector. Working children also face challenges accessing education, with only 39% of them attending school in 2016.
The Sri Lankan economic crisis in 2022 is having a devasting impact on the nation's population, with fuel, medicine and food running out. The island nation is facing a food crisis and children are at risk of malnutrition. Fuel shortages are also making it difficult for children to go to school and for parents to go to work. Coupled with rising prices, the situation is increasingly worrisome for children and families in Sri Lanka.
Supporting You in Sri Lanka
The Centre has an office and full-time staff in Sri Lanka and is working in close partnership with Save the Children to implement the Mother and Child-Friendly Seal for Responsible Business – an initiative that is currently targeting business entities in the tea sector but will be scaled to other industries in the future. The Centre has also conducted child rights and risk assessments to help different actors along the tea supply chain to deepen their understanding of child rights risks in plantation settings. All of The Centre’s services are available in Sri Lanka.
Browse Our Work in Sri Lanka