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Clear lack of commitment to address gender equality in SL: UNFPA Rep.

12 June 2014 01:48 am - 21     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Recent statements made by certain government ministers indicate a lack of importance in addressing issues of gender equality in Sri Lanka and they are of grave concern, UNFPA Representative in Sri Lanka, Alain Sibenaler, said yesterday.  

Despite the commitment shown by the Sri Lankan Government to address issues of gender based violence and the positive measures implemented in that direction, Sibenaler said statements by certain government ministers undermining such efforts are of concern as they illustrate attitudes at the highest levels of the decision making processes.

“These statements point to potential difficulties in pushing for progressive policies and implementing programmes which address sexual and gender based violence,” he said speaking at an event held concurrent to the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, at the British High Commission yesterday.

He also expressed concern over the limited availability of representative data on the occurrence and nature of incidents concerning incidents of violence against women and violence against young boys. “This is an issue that has affected every part of Sri Lanka but at the same time, we need to recognize that the North and East have specific degree variations of vulnerability that do differ from the rest of the country,” he added.

Sibenaler also noted that former conflict affected areas in Sri Lanka were more vulnerable to sexual violence due to several factors, including the continued militarisation, lack of adequate electricity and sanitation facilities, exacerbating the insecurity faced by women living in remote areas.

Quoting statistics from a UNHCR study carried out in selected districts in the North and East, he said that 40% of women stating they do not feel safe staying at home alone indicates serious safety concerns at the village level for women.

Meanwhile, British High Commissioner for Sri Lanka, John Rankin, addressing the gathering yesterday, noted that sexual and gender based violence was not simply a moral issue but also a foreign policy issue.

“It is a fundamental issue of justice. Each time it happens and the world does nothing a precedent is set that sexual violence can be used with impunity,” he said adding that no country dedicated to safeguarding human rights can chose to turn a blind eye to sexual violence in conflict. “Therefore, ending it is a national security imperative,” he added.

He went on to state that although it has often been said that sexual violence in conflict cannot be effectively addressed, changing public opinion and government policies can bring about changes. “The same thing was said about the slave trade and banning arms trade. But there is evidence that change can happen,” he added.

More than 100 government officials, heads of UN agencies and nearly 1000 experts were meeting at the Global Summit to end Sexual Violence in Conflict presently continuing in London. It had been organised as part of a campaign launched by UK Foreign Secretary, William Hague and UN Special Envoy for Refugees, Angelina Jolie, on Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative in 2012.

 Over 150 countries have endorsed the declaration of commitment to end sexual violence in conflict including Nigeria and Burma.  However, it was reported that Sri Lanka did not partake in the Summit.

The Summit is also set to introduce an international protocol on how to document and investigate sexual violence in conflict which would help investigators preserve evidence in the aftermath of an attack, which would increase the chances of prosecution and protecting victims from the trauma involved. (Lakna Paranamanna)
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  Comments - 21

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  • aja Thursday, 12 June 2014 09:18 AM

    Hey joking man get lost go and work in India which needs u more than us .. u guys should not be given Visas to enter this country .

    Nihal Thursday, 12 June 2014 09:20 AM

    You are asking to mind his own business. Then who is going to
    mind our business?. Because of these gentlemen the law and order in Sri Lanka exists.

    dan Thursday, 12 June 2014 09:48 AM

    Rubert when are you hoping to apply for UK visa?????

    dan Thursday, 12 June 2014 09:50 AM

    so, you are one of them??? We may not love every single citizen in our Country, but we truly LOVE our COUNTRY....

    dan Thursday, 12 June 2014 09:57 AM

    Probably, the order in your own house must be due to the next door man.....

    Niro Thursday, 12 June 2014 10:45 AM

    [quote name="Rubert Vanderkoon"]He is not a joker, he is absolutely spot on! We keep boasting about first woman PM etc but make no effort to this effect. Well said that gentleman.[/quote]

    Hay Rubert.. how about Gender inequality in Saudi Arabia??? These jokers never talk about them... Do you want to know why???

    reader Thursday, 12 June 2014 11:18 AM

    'these gentlemen' that's the funniest thing I've heard today! thanks for that!

    reader Thursday, 12 June 2014 11:22 AM

    He should mind his own business simply because UK still has work to do on their gender equality, before pointing it out to other countries

    dan Thursday, 12 June 2014 05:58 AM

    These jokers talk bullshit as if they have love our people more than we do..... mind your own business men....

    kotik Thursday, 12 June 2014 05:52 PM

    Rubert update your fact box our women have the privilege of having a good family life with other gender which Alians country do not have compare his country divorce rate fatherless child rate lesbian rates vs. ours.These jokers are paid servants do not trust them. via DM Android App

    Rubert Vanderkoon Thursday, 12 June 2014 06:50 AM

    He is not a joker, he is absolutely spot on! We keep boasting about first woman PM etc but make no effort to this effect. Well said that gentleman.

    joker Thursday, 12 June 2014 07:00 AM

    dan, do you really love all our people in this country?

    Rachel Friday, 13 June 2014 02:07 PM

    Rupert you are a gentleman and Dan you wait till a woman in your family is abused only then will you realise it. BTW are you a woman-hater

    Richie Thursday, 12 June 2014 07:32 AM

    Yes, I too agree with dan. The Brits and Americans are interfering too much in SL's affairs. They should be told to mind their own business and take care of matters in their own countries.

    Roshan Thursday, 12 June 2014 08:05 PM

    These white monkeys should mind their business without telling us what to do. via DM iPad app


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