The Women and Media Collective strongly urges these institutions as well as others to recognize that violence against women and children is not acceptable under any circumstances.
Sexual and reproductive health has been a sensitive issue that has been discussed over the years in Sri Lanka. Nethranjali Mapitigama at a panel discussion to highlight the importance of sexual and reproductive health rights. Mapitigama suggested the setting up of ‘Mithuru Piyasa’ free counseling centres to assist victims of violence.
We urge that the government acts without delay to make meaning of these obligations and commitments in relation to the rights of women and children.
We urge state institutions such as the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Child Development, the Ministry of Justice, the Child Protection Authority and the Department of Police to act immediately to stop this wave of violence against women and children.
We call on the government to take all necessary steps to guarantee that the rule of law is upheld, that Sri Lanka’s obligations at national and international levels on the rights of women and children are adhered to, and that perpetrators are brought to justice.
Below we produce the statement in full; Over the last few months, there has been a spate of media reports on incidents of violence against women and children. Ajith Rohana has stated that over the past 6 months over 900 such incidents have been reported of which at least 700 incidents are related to sexual abuse of girls.
We ask, does this imply then that perpetrators of these horrendous crimes are absolved of any ‘blame’?
Or, does this mean that parents should refrain from going out of the house to be to earn an income for the family?Amid issues such as teenage pregnancies, sexual harassment, child abuse and other crimes increasing, many civil society groups have been instrumental in raising their voices against them. “So far we have set up 39 centres countrywide but our aim is to have such centres at all hospitals.However, over the recent past there have been several instances where women and children have been subjected to the devastating consequences of violence. It is also necessary for the staff to be properly trained to empathise with the victims.In a situation where sexual harassment and violence is on the rise, we need to encourage the staff to build their capacity to be empathetic when handling these victims.” The event was also followed by the launch of the country profile on Universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.Some of its highlights are as follows: According to the country profile on universal access to sexual and reproductive rights in Sri Lanka, these services have to be prioritized mainly around maternal and child health and family planning.The Asia-Pacific Resource and Research centre for Women (ARROW) highlights the purpose of understanding the difference between the median age at marriage and the legal minimum age at marriage to identify the extent to which the legal age is adhered to.