Shunned, destitute and pushed into prostitution in some cases, Sri Lanka’s Tamil widows have returned to northern Jaffna since the end of the separatist war only to discover they are not welcome even in their homeland.
Sri Lanka’s Trade Union women leaders are a driving force in the lives of working women due to the constant trials and struggles encountered in the workplace. Marred by gender discrimination and sometimes violence women in the past have had to step forward and speak up for their rights. This led to the emergence of trade unions for women particularly in the Free Trade Zone, Fisheries, Plantation and Healthcare sectors.
The film ‘Determining Futures’ looks at the situation of trade union women from across the country. It takes you through the lives of four Trade Union women leaders and how they work towards making a difference in their lives as well others.
The study, “Broadening gender: Why masculinities matter – a study on attitudes, practices and gender-based violence in four districts in Sri Lanka” was conducted by CARE International Sri Lanka, under its Empowering Men to Engage and Redefine Gender Equality project and launched in April 2013.
The forthcoming election is the second Presidential election after the war. Since then, the North and East of Sri Lanka has undergone heightened militarisation. Around 89,000 women headed households in the former war areas struggle to address livelihood needs, look after their remaining family and in many cases also look for their missing loved ones. Despite numerous promises, no independent investigation into serious human rights violations has resulted in a successful prosecution and conviction of alleged perpetrators, a sign of the culture of impunity pervasive in post war Sri Lanka.
We, the undersigned women both from Sri Lanka and outside take this moment to call on the candidates to publicly acknowledge the situation faced by a significant number of women across Sri Lanka.
The present regime removed the blindfold of the Goddess of Justice. Today, law, order and justice are just empty words, which like nudity, can be “interpreted” by politicians at will. These actions have serious trickle-down effects, because when these powerful criminals are protected by the law, the rest of society also loses all sense of fear to engage in deplorable acts against helpless women and children. We are seeing these consequences all the time in our society. As women, we cannot ignore this state of affairs any longer. We cannot consider a change as just desirable, it is essential if we are to re-establish morality in society.
“If the opposition can get Rosy Senanayake, Chandrika Kumaratunga, Hirunika Premachandra and perhaps Susanthika Jayasinghe on one stage to talk about their personal grievances against some of the powerful politicians of this government, they can launch a genuine but serious attack on some of the perverts who are protected by Mahinda Rajapaksa.”
You could find here a link to read an article where Charlotte Bunch pays tribute to Sunila Abeysekera (1952-2013), a courageous feminist and human rights advocate within Sri Lanka, and a leader in South Asia and globally.