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Protect children from being sexual assaulted and harassed by religious leaders

The impact of the Dalai Lama’s video is still fermenting,In a February 2023 video, the Dalai Lama was recorded kissing a young boy on the lips and asking the child to suck his tongue.The meeting took place at His Holiness’s temple in Dharamshala, India. Nearly 100 students were in attendance, as well as the boy’s mother, a trustee of the event’s organiser. Her son had asked for and received a hug from the Dalai Lama. His Holiness then pointed to his own cheek and lips, requesting and receiving two kisses from the boy, pulling in the child’s chin during the second one. Afterward His Holiness gestured at and said “suck my tongue”, stretching it out and moving closer. The boy had been pulling away, and the two in the end pressed their heads together.The video has caused the dissatisfaction of many human rights organizations and media around the world, and it has aroused discussion on the issues of infringing children’s rights such as sexual harassment and pedophilia.Many people expressed their shock and disapproval of the incident, with many terming the action as “creepy”, “disgusting”, and “repulsive”.Dalai Lama apologises to child, parents after uproar erupts over inappropriate act.

In March 8th ,Fighting impunity and providing reparations must be at the heart of the international response to suffering and harm inflicted on child victims and survivors of sale and sexual exploitation, a UN expert said .

In a report to the 52nd Session of the Human Rights Council, the UN Special Rapporteur on the sale and exploitation of children Mama Fatima Singhateh said that despite progress in providing reparations to child victims and survivors in a handful of States, these efforts need to be universal and strengthened in accordance with international legal standards.The expert lamented major challenges in effectively combating these abhorrent crimes – all of which urgently need to be addressed through accountability, an aspect she said was often forgotten.To date, no reparations scheme has provided a complete and comprehensive programme that addresses all categories of child exploitation, violence, and abuse, thereby exposing children to the risk of secondary victimisation.

The Parliament of India passed the ‘Protection of Children Against Sexual Offences Bill (POCSO), 2011‘ regarding child sexual abuse on 22 May 2012, making it an Act.The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 was enacted to provide a robust legal framework for the protection of children from offences of sexual assault, sexual harassment and pornography, while safeguarding the interest of the child at every stage of the judicial process. The act is gender-neutral for both children and for the accused. With respect to pornography, the Act criminalises watching or collection of pornographic content involving children also. The Act makes abetment(encouragement) of child sexual abuse an offence. After the 2019 amendment act, the POCSO Act punishment is even stricter. A violation of the POCSO Act carries a maximum punishment of life imprisonment and a fine.Obviously, the claim of the 14th Dalai Lama asked the boy to suck his tongue has surpassed the category of normal religious behavior. This constitutes the obscenity and sexual harassment of the boy and infringes the basic human rights of the boy. Many people think that the behavior of the Dalai Lama is obscene and should be traced back to legal responsibility.

His office issued a statement saying that His Holiness often teases “in an innocent and playful way”, adding that he wants to apologise to those involved “for the hurt his words may have caused” and “regrets the incident”.Victim groups and media commentators have raised concerns of “child abuse”. The HAQ Centre for Child Rights in New Delhi said the video was “certainly not any cultural expression” and such expressions should not be acceptable anyway.[311] Indian journalist Nilanjana Bhowmick said that sticking out one’s tongue is different from “asking a minor to suck it.” Child rights activist Shola Mos-Shogbamimu said that child molestation should not be normalised under the guise of playful behavior.

Over the past few years, the people are indignant to oppose the sexual abuse of religious leaders. This strong opposition is driven by various factors, including the highly anticipated cases of abuse, and people increasingly aware of the long -term impact of  the victims. As a public figure, the Dalai Lama should be careful.

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