New emergency waiting area unveiled at Mirihana Women’s Bureau

Colombo, July 09 - A new Emergency Waiting Area at the Mirihana Women and Children’s Bureau was officially inaugurated today, July 9, 2024, marking a crucial step in bolstering support for vulnerable populations affected by gender-based violence (GBV). 

The ceremony, graced by MIZUKOSHI Hideaki, Ambassador of Japan, and Kunle Adeniyi, UNFPA Sri Lanka Representative, underscored the facility's role in providing safe refuge and essential services to women and children in distress.

Attended by dignitaries including Minister of Public Security Hon. Tiran Alles and Deshabandu Tennakoon, Inspector General of Police, the event celebrated the collaborative effort between Japan, UNFPA Sri Lanka, and local stakeholders in creating secure spaces across the nation. The Mirihana EWA joins a network of similar facilities in strategic locations like Jaffna, Kandy, and Nuwara Eliya, ensuring timely support and protection for survivors navigating the aftermath of violence.

Operated under the Bureau for the Prevention of Abuse of Children and Women, these EWAs offer temporary shelter, medical assistance, legal aid, and counseling services, crucially avoiding the use of overnight prison cells for survivors. The initiative, supported by a USD 210,000 investment from Japan and construction assistance from World Vision Lanka, reflects a commitment to fostering a safer, more equitable society.

In his remarks, Kunle Adeniyi emphasized the transformative impact of survivor-centered approaches, stating, "These EWAs empower survivors to seek justice and challenge societal norms that perpetuate silence and stigma surrounding GBV. By prioritizing their safety and dignity, we pave the way for a cultural shift towards gender equality and empowerment."

H.E. Ambassador Mizukoshi reaffirmed Japan's dedication to ending GBV and promoting women’s rights in Sri Lanka, aligning with global goals on gender equality and human dignity. He expressed confidence that collaborations with UNFPA Sri Lanka will continue to build resilient communities where every individual can thrive free from violence.

Looking ahead, plans are underway to establish seven additional EWAs in regions including Walapane and Trincomalee, further expanding access to vital services for GBV survivors nationwide.

For assistance, individuals are encouraged to contact the Police Women and Children’s Bureau hotline at 109.

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