SRI LANKA: Intervention sought for a Buddhist Novice sexually abused by a monk


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-266-2008
ISSUES: Child rights, Sexual violence,

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) writes to inform you regarding the sexual abuse allegedly perpetrated upon an 11-year-old Buddhist novice by the head of the temple where he stays. Although the person responsible had already been charged and arrested, there are concerns that pressure may be put upon the victim unless the police ensures that they have effectively investigated the case to hold the person to account.


The 11-year-old boy (name withheld) is a resident of Arnaganvila. He has been a Buddhist Novice at the Rotawewa Temple at Inamaluwa in Dambulla.

On 19 November 2008, a woman connected with the temple had taken the boy to the Dambulla Hospital for treatment. At first, he was taken due to asthma he had been suffering from. However, while at hospital, it was later discovered that he had also been a victim of sexual abuse and was exposed to sodomy.

The boy’s health condition has been examined and the result of which was also released by a Judicial Medical Officer (JMO). After concluding their findings on the boy’s condition, the hospital authorities have immediately notified the Dambulla Police Station about the boy’s case and who now investigates the case.

As of December 17, it is learnt that since having been admitted for treatment at the hospital, the boy has already refused to go back to the temple because of the person allegedly responsible for sexually abusing him, Venerable Dammananda Himi, who was also the monk in charge of the Rotawewa Temple.

After the boy’s condition had come to light, there are serious concerns now about the welfare of the 20 other Buddhist Novices who also stay in the same temple. Some of them had already been ordained as monks.

On 1 December 2008, a letter of complaint has already been made to the chairman of Child Protection, Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of Women and Children’s Bureau and the chairman National Human Rights Commission for them to take immediate action about the boy’s case.

According to the latest information from a reliable source, the police had already arrested Venerable Himi. However, the details of his arrest and the progress of the complaint against him are yet to be known. It is also learned that there is the likelihood that other Buddhist Novices inside the temple may have suffered the same abuses; thus, there is also a need to have their conditions examined with urgency.

After Venerable Himi’s arrest though, there are serious concerns that unless proper police investigations are carried out to ensure he is effectively prosecuted, the complaint may be undermined as what has happened in previous cases wherein members of the clergy are involved.

Please write letters to the concerned authorities, in particular the police investigating this case, to ensure that investigations are effectively done. Also, the victim should be afforded the appropriate assistance he requires, like protection and shelter, as he endures the process of prosecuting those responsible for his abuse.

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Dear __________,

Re: SRI LANKA: Intervention sought for a Buddhist Novice sexually abused by a monk

Name of victim: An 11-year-old boy, a resident of Arnaganvila
Person who allegedly sexually abused him: Venerable Dhammananada Himi, a person in-charge of the Rotawewa Temple Dambulla
Police investigating the case: Dambulla Police Station, Matale District II, Matale Division
Date of incident: 19 November 2008 to present

I am writing to express my deep concern into the plight of a Buddhist Novice who has been allegedly sexually abused by Venerable Dhammananada Himi, the head of the temple where he is staying.

The boy was first taken to a hospital for treatment for asthma on 19 November 2008; however, it was learned later by a Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) who had examined him that he had also been a victim of sexual abuse. The medical examination and interviews which the JMO has made on him confirms the boy had been sexually abused and was needlessly exposed to sodomy.

After learning of this incident, the JMO had immediately informed the Dambulla Police Station about the boy’s case which they have also investigated. Separate letters of complaints have also been sent to the chairman of Child Protection, Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of Women and Children’s Bureau and the chairman National Human Rights Commission for them to take immediate action.

Though I have learned that Venerable Himi has already been arrested recently after the complaint was made on him, I am deeply concern over the possibility that the case may be needlessly undermined unless the police do their job effectively and impartially.

I therefore urged you to have this case consistently followed upon to ensure that the person responsible is held to account.

Also apart from ensuring the case progresses effectively, I also urge you to afford appropriate assistance—psychological and trauma treatment; rehabilitation and legal assistance, amongst others—the boy urgently requires. I have learned that after the incident, he has since refused to return to the temple which shows the extent of the fear and trauma he has suffered from the incident.

I expect that you will take appropriate action in this case.

Yours sincerely,


1. Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse
Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka
C/- Office of the President
Temple Trees
150, Galle Road
Colombo 3
Fax: +94 11 2472100 / +94 11 2446657

2.  Mr. Jayantha Wickramaratne 
Inspector General of Police (IGP) 
New Secretariat 
Colombo 1
Fax: +94 11 2 440440/327877

3.  Chairperson
National Child Protection Authority 
330, Thalawathgoda Road 
Fax: +94 11 2 778975
Tel: +94 11 2 778912/13/14 

4.  Officer-in-charge 
Women and Children’s Bureau 
25, Yst Building 
Srimath Baron Jayathilake Mawatha
Colombo 01

5. Mr. Priyasath Dep Attorney General
Attorney General’s Department
Colombo 12
Fax: +94 11 2 436421

6. Secretary
Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka
No. 36, Kynsey Road
Colombo 8
Fax: +94 11 2 694 924 / 696 470
Tel: +94 11 2 694 925 / 673 806

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : AHRC-UAC-266-2008
Countries : Sri Lanka,
Issues : Child rights, Sexual violence,