Centre for women and development has conducted few programs to women entrepreneurs to uplift their capacity to tap the modern international business community.
Three members from the Centre for Women and Development SriLanka, attended the UNHR meeting held in Geneva in 2017 March.The Members included Saroja Sivachandran, Executive Director CWD, Judy Doubas Social activist from Australia, Vimaleswary Srikantharuban Member CWD.
On Oct. 2 nd 2015 SriLanka co-sponsored HRC Resolution 30/1 which was welcomed by the HR Council as an important step tqwards accountability on the Island ethnic issue. Unfortunately 18 months later SriLanka has failed to make any progress on two of the commitments under the resolution in the views of the Tamil communities . !) the establishment of a credible accountability mechanism and 2) a meaningful security sector reform.
We wanted to give pressure on the New approach introduced by the New mechanism on reconciliation and peace aiming Transitional Justice mechanism in SriLanka
And also the Report submitted by the Consultation Task Force on reconciliation Mechanism.
Saroja Sivachandran attended as a panelist on these two side events Organized by IMDRA and Minority groups In Geneva, The dialogue and the Question and Answer section was very impressive and many civil society groups and Country Representatives attended in these sessions
Centre for Women and Development has organized a supportive rally in favour of the plantation
workers who are protesting over their daily wise to be given up to Rs 1000/=
Women, university students and other organization gathered together and marched along the Jaffna
bus stand area and gathered near the weerasingam hall and conducted a meeting
Workshop report 30.09.2016
The Centre for women and Development , Targeting the women who are willing to contest in the coming local Government Election has organized and conducted five programs in Jaffna Kilinochchi , Mannar , Mullaithevu, and Vavuniya districts , for a group of women actively involved in politics. Through this program we are proud to mention that 150 women have been trained and most of them have given their consent that they will contest in the election If parties are willing to give nominations . to them . Women also felt that without women no politics but no politics for women .
Political and social rights of women, rights for enhancing efforts, and women representation are questionable still in the local government Bodies and in the Parliament. In SriLanka’s total population women counts 57% and still only 13 women are represented in the parliament.
Although women worked with political parties during the local government and parliamentary selection, nominations were ignored. Even though the quota of 25% to be given to women in nominations which also was not considered positively. Women consist 57% in the total population of Sri Lanka and their role is to be as voters electing men to play a key role in politics. The time has come to give pressure to the political parties to give reasonable nominations for women to contest in Elections. Run in the local Government election is the first step for women to enter into politics..Therefore its important to make them as a capable candidates with confidence to contest in the elections.
Therefore we have taken a quick decision to conduct these programs for women who are actively involved in politics. The programs were scheduled to cover five districts in the Northern province.
The program aims to achieve the following issues.
- Activate more women to contest in elections.
- Political education and awareness for women
- Training programs of political leadership and voting system of election.
- Positive Campaign for women who come forward to run in elections
The program in Jaffna was conducted on 2 and 3rd Aug where 20 participants participated. Mr T Devananth ,Director Media resource centre , Prof V.P Sivanathan , Uni. Of Jaffna guided the participants.
The second program was held in Klinochchi on 6 th Sept and where 26 participants attended from three parties.
Mr D.C Amalraj , Asst Commissioner of Election came as a resource person and Ms S. Vimaleswary, Rtd Provincial Director , Ms N .Mathini Former Member Urban Council Point Pedro also shared their experiences.
The program at Mullaithevu was conducted on 12th of September 2016 at the Divisional secretariat, Maritime pattu , Mullaithevu conference hall. 30 women attended in the program.
Saroja Sivachandran following the introduction of the participants led opened the floor for the discussion. Each of the participants spoke , their interest in politics and they never had a chance of getting nominated by the parties. It all depends of their approach and the involvement they work for the party .It was clearly expressed that their interest alone is not enough but they should work for the party in which they seek nomination and show close confidence in the party.
Ms Shanthi Sriskandaraja Member of parliament who attended in our program and delivered a key note address. Her speech was really empowered the participants and she shared her experiences and the hardships she underwent in the campaign process. She made the women to ignore all the Mud slinging efforts by men and to be confident in contesting in the local Government election as this is the first step for women to enter into politics..
Ms S. Vimaleswary the Retd provincial director NYSC took the lecture. on the use of social media for election campaign.
Ms N. Mathini as a resource person shared her political experiences and explained how to overcome the obstacles hindering women to get involved in politics.
Mr D.C Amalraj Asst Commissioner of Elections clearly explained the electoral reforms and the present proposed system the election is going to be held.
The fourth program was conducted in Mannar where 29 women attended . and the as resourse persons Mr D C Aravindaraj Asst Commissioner of election , Ms Vimaleswary and Ms N . Mathini also shared their experiences, The women specially expressed that they never had the opportunity to listen this kind of program and the information given to them make them more confident to contest in the election.
The fifth program was held in Vaviniya for about 44 women form five prominent parties attended. Mr A.O.M Nafeel Provincial commissioner of elections attended as a resource person and explained the present electoral reforms and the proposed election system.Ms N. geethanjali Chief organizer SLFP, Me N Mathini, Ms S, Vimaleswary also came as resource persons.
The women who attended the programs have given their consent that they are willing to contest in the local government elections . Therefore we as an organization going to prepare a list of the women who are willing to contest , and send the names to the parties concerned to consider them for nominations. Therefore the parties will not have an excuse as in the past to say women are not willing to contest in elections.
The Election commissioner’s requested us to conduct some programs as parallel to this on voter’s education too as its also important to women to exercise their voting rights .
Women also requested us to continue this program and at the end to have a forum with all the members to strengthen solidarity among women in this process.
Executive Director CWD
War widows in the Northern Province Of SriLanka.
Centre for women and Development(CWD) is a non profit organization , legally registered under the NGO secretariat Colombo.The organization commenced its activities in 1988 addressing women’s Rights and build capacity as to empower them to take part in all the activities. When we started this organization there were no such organizations existed in Jaffna with a commitment to address women’s issues.CWD aimed to work for the under privileged , the marginalized, the discriminated and the victimized women and girls.
- CWD’s involvement;
Almost six years after SriLanka’s civil war came to an end , the extraordinary high number of war widows struggling to make ends meet.This has remained a huge problem since the end of war .Soon after the war which ended in 2009 May CWD committed with dedication to carry out a field survey in order to gather needed information about the situation of war widows ,the land issue and to find out other related problems caused in consequences of the war.
- As an out come of the survey main issues were identified
Sri Lankan Government has never confirmed the number of deaths during the final war. Although there is no gender breakdowns in the figures it is assumed the vast majority were men.A generation of war widows was created and the women left largely to fend for themselves.
Priority issues are;
- Livelihood of female headed households
- Land issue
- Social security
- Militarization and illegal settlement
- Injured and elders
The land issue emerged in the North has become an important humanitarian issue. The mass exodus has compelled the people to lose their lands . Land is deeply and emotionally linked to family and identity. It is not just a socioeconomic issue. Land issues unresolved can become major sources of discontent and inhibit efforts to reconcile people and wounds.
- CWDs important publications;
The survey outcome and the relevant information collected has been documented and CWD made two publications. One on “ The female headed households in the Northern Province of SriLanka” and
the other on “The land rights of women in the Northern Province”. These two publications are very useful to continue working with war widows and planning our activities for them.
Data reveals that women headed households have increased in number considerably in the war tone North of SriLanka. Beyond the economic problems , the war affected women have to face several other social issues. The miseries caused by the mass exodus have not been improved and the war affected women have difficulties in establish and ton pursue their livelihood because of the gaps in the long term plan for development.
W.H.H in the Northern Province (Covering the five Districts)
District WHH Widows
Jaffna 29378 28322
Vavuniya 5862 4019
Mannar 6888 3766
Mullaithievu 6294 4799
Kilinochchi 6110 5427
Total 54532 46333
- Land issue;
Following at the end of war wnen resettlement was being started the displaced families made effort to return to their former dwelling places. But they had to have documentary prove to take up residence in their own places.But the war widows , husband disappeared wives, children disappeared mothers, and persons without legal documents have difficulties in settling in their own places.
- CWD’s programs for widows;
CWD with the information and the data collected in this region met women and formed groups particularly with the widows and conducted awareness and capacity development programs.Its so hard to bring them back to normalcy as they are still bearing the hardship of the sufferings that they have undergone and the memories of their lost ones. Most of them are physically weak and mentally traumatized. Therefore a psychological counseling needed for them to ease their minds and come back to normal.
Land rights programs;
CWD has organized and conducted many programs to displaced women and widows on land rights in order to support them ton get their own lands back. CWD assisted women to whom who have lost their legal documents to get them back through the Authorities concerned. CWD ‘s lawyers assisted in this process.
The women groups were empowered to fight for their rights and the group leaders initiated campaigns and protests against the authorities to release their lands back.
- Particularly in the Vallikamum North around Palaly area nearly 20000 thousand families have been evicted by the forces to establish military base and the people are living in the welfare camps more than 26 years. There are promises given by the politicians and so far no attempts made to release their land except 700 acres recently released by the President.
- Land issue has become a political issue rather than a humanitarian issue and the people need to fight for their rights It is one of the major recommendations of the LLRC report and still it is not being carried out by the Government.
- Livelihood programs of CWD,
Although CWD has addressed several other issues in the community recently special focus has been addressed towards war widows as their living situation has become so vulnerable and deteriorating.CWD has initiated several livelihood programs such as home gardening, Small scale business, Food making and selling, Dry fish selling, Chilli powder making and selling,Running a boutique, Poultry rearing,Cow and Goat rearing, Running preschools ,Running grinding grinding mills,etc and also for their children as an educational support CWD used to supply writing note Books, Pens , School bags, Shoes and even Bicycles for them to go to school. This activity has reduced the school drop outs from the displaced community.
- Gender based Violence Programs of CWD,
The new Government which took office in Jan 2015 has signaled a new policy to addressing the divisive issues that still linger including the situation of women in war ravaged Northern Province.There is a centre established in Kilinochchi,to look after the war widows and ther have been few programs designed to help the war widows to date.
In Jaffna District female unemployment rate stands 10.9%, In Kilinochchi district 20.4%, In Mannar District 21.6%, In Mullaithevu District 20.5%, and in Vavuniya District 9.0%.According to the survey done by Dr Sarvananda, a Researcher. In these Districts poverty forces many women leave their children behind as they seek jobs away from their villages. As a result children dropping out of school and there are frequent cases of child abuse , and also cases of women sexually abused by forces.
CWD has on its legal access to justice program conduct gender based violence programs to women particularly war widows in order to provide legal information and the reporting procedures available .The Lawyers assigned in this project inquire the cases and file court action for legal remedy. Women are so active in reporting the sexual harassment and rape cases in these Districts. The legal empowerment programs through our activities make war widows to be vigilant and help safeguard themselves with legal information that they have gained.
UN women’s commitment to widows recently at the CSW 60 conference
in UN headquarters ,NY—to take the last woman first is commendable .As it is vital because while women enjoy only subaltern status in most societies ,most woman would swell numbers of the last women. When circumstances force her to support a household and bring up children with little or no economic support and social security she is truly the last among the list.
- CWD’s Global Alliance for widows;
Very recently CWD has aliened with the Global alliance for widows Federation of SIGBI
(Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland)
Within the alliance , organizations learn from each others experiences and best practices and gain lobbying strength we will evolve and will be a loud voice for all the voiceless last. More recently widows of political figures have been elected to high office in many Countries as well as in SriLanka.
It is our duty to bring the most affected women into the mainstream of economic process, political participation and leadership positions to have a dignified life in the society
Executive Director , CWD
Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reforms,
Secretariat for PRCCR,
Proposals of the Centre for Women and Development for Constitutional Reforms
At the outset we would like to brief the social and political background existing in Srilanka before suggesting proposals/amendments to the current constitution;
Tamil peoples’ rights were suppressed for the last 40 years under emergency rule and 30 years under the Prevention of Terrorism Act.
Murders, torture, degrading treatment and arbitrary arrest during that period were covered under the carpet.
Though commissions of Inquiry were appointed to investigate into the above illegal acts the reports of the commission were never published.
Since the state resources, media, political power were misused and abused during the elections the elections were not free and fair
Laws of the country were abused to make false charges and detain accused without producing to courts.
Three organs of the state, Executive, Parliament and Judiciary were just namesake institutions and they too indirectly contributed to the situation.
1978 Constitution gave unlimited powers to the Executive President. Human rights violations and economic burdens were on the increase.
Rule of law took a backseat under the powerful executive presidency. Several social problems emerged. Instead of democratizing through peace the powers concentrated in a single institution, executivepresidency. Winning the war became a license for suppression.
Agitation for limiting the president powers resulted in bringing 17th amendment to the constitution. Because of the weakness of the amendment the constitution was not duly respected and the election commission was appointed by violating the 17th amendment. Mahinda Rajapakse appointed his nominees to the constitutional council. Democratic values were ignored and 13th and 17th amendments were violated. Under the demeaned political culture thoughts for restructuring the state is a well come move. It is an appreciable and democratic approach of the new government to request for public representations aimed at amending the constitution. Ourcenter would like to forward the following amendments to twenty aspects of the constitution of Srilanka.These are all the recommendations of a group of experts;
Formation of Government
There should be two houses in the parliament, upper house and lower house. Representatives of the upper house beelected by the people. Members from various professional backgroundsbe appointed.to the lower house and one third of the members should be from minority races of the country. Parliament and Provincial councils to appoint members to the lower house.
- Proposed draft for constitutional amendment should deviate from unitary state concept andprovide more devolution of power to Tamil, Muslims and plantation Tamils.
- Proposed constitution should absorb more federal aspects than unitary status.
- The words Unitary and federal should be omitted.
- New draft for constitution should have protections not to change the provisions affecting Tamil people without their consent. Minority protection clauses should be incorporated in the draft. In the system of central government and provincial government a new system of Federation of provinces could be introduced. In place of parliament a parliament and a regional legislative assembly should be established. Legislative powers should be shared. All the bills should be approved by both houses and regional units. The bills proposed by the central government cannot be accepted unless the consent of the regional units.
A new constitution will be enacted with the amendments. It should be confirmed in the new constitution that a right incorporated in the new constitution should not be repealed.
- There should be 100% judiciary independence. There should be a North east Regional Judicial service commission consisting of judges in the north and east. There should be a regional High court for north and east. Judicial proceedings should be under the guidelines of the regional judicial commission. Except constitutional affairs and any matters which does not have concurrence between central government and regional governments, the constitutional court should be represented by regional governments which should have veto powers.
- There is no arrangement for judicial review in the present constitution new constitution should have provisions for judicial review.
- There should be provisions for judicial interference when bills are proposed in contravention of the constitution.
- There should be provisions to atop cross overs by elected members.
- Jurisdiction of fundamental rights should be vested in the regional judiciary.
- Any actions to disrupt the identity of the minorities should be interpreted as violation of fundamental rights.
- Rehabilitation of the war victims irrespective of race, religion and language should be identified and be incorporated in the fundamental rights.
- Right of remembrance of those who died as a result of the war should be made as a fundamental right.
- The new constitution should be in three languages and form and contents should be easily readable. This arrangement would ensure there would not be any need for interpretation.
- Constitution of 1978 placedutmost position for Buddhism and Sinhala language and Sinhalese people were given prominent place and minorities were marginalized. The new constitution should deviate from the above.
- Constitutional status was given to Tamil language as one of the state languages and there should be constitutional guarantee for the implementation of Tamil language. There should be arrangements in the constitution for Public Interest litigation when people are affected by the use of language.
- Boundary delimitation and demarcation of regional boundaries should be assigned to Regional councils. North east merger and the territorial rights should be recognized in the new constitution. Lands in the provinces should be registered in the Regional councils. Incase lands required by central government request should be made to regional councils. All colonization projects by the central government should be stoped.Land distribution and colonization should be done according to the district, provincial population.
- Land rights under the law of Thesavalamai should be favorable to women.
Women’s rights and representation
- Land rights under the law of Thesavalamai should be favorable to women.
- Parliament representation to women should be 50%.The arrangement of one man to one woman may not require a quota system.
- Statue can only confirm social change. Provisions for protection of women’ rights should be incorporated in the new constitution.
- Statue can only confirm social change. Provisions for protection of women’ rights should be incorporated in the new constitution.
- There should be a separate women court to investigate into matters pertaining to women. These courts should be established in each region.
- Article 12 prescribes all are equal before law. But Dalak enable a Muslim man to divorce his spouse. There is no provision for a Muslim woman to initiate divorce case.
- Internationally accepted conventions pertaining to women and children should supersede local customary laws.
- UN conventions 1325, 1820 which recognizes the rights of women should be incorporated in the new constitution and there should be provisions in the constitution to implement the CEDAW recommendations.
- There should be provisions in the constitution to legalize abortion with a physician’s advice when a woman becomes pregnant as a result of rape or forced sex.
- There should be provisions in the constitution to specifically mention male/female name as the householder in the government forms. This arrangement would enable women to face challenges.
- Political representation for women in regional councils should me 25% and the Commissioner of election should recognize this arrangement.
Names of those who contributed to the draft constitution
- Saroja Sivachandran – President, Centre for women and development
- T.Vignarajah – Retired Judge
- K.Kurunathan – Retired Land Commissioner
- M.Remidiyas – Attorney at Law
- V.Thirukumaran – Attorney at Law
- DouglasSiyani – Attorney at Law
- DusaniSampanthan – Attorney at Law, Lecturer in law, University of Jaffna
- Janakan Muthukumaru – Attorney at Law, Lecturer in law, University of
- S.Kumaravel – Medical Officer, Jaffna
- A.Thamarachchelvi – Development officer
- S.Vimaleswary – Retired Youth service officer
வவுனியாவில் மகளிர் அபிவிருத்தி நிலையம் நடாத்திய சர்வ தேச மகளிர் தின நிகழ்வுகள் – மார்ச் 8 2015
மகளிர் அபிவிருத்தி நிலையம் பெண்களுக்கான செயற்பாடுகளை நடாத்தி வரும் ஓர் தேசிய நிறுவனமாகச் செயற்பட்டு வருகின்றது. பெண்கள் வலுவூட்டல் தொடர்பான பலவித செயற்பாடுகளில் ஈடுபட்டு வருகின்றது. எமது நிறுவனம் சர்வதேச மகளிர் தினத்தை ஒவ்வொரு வருடமும் ஒவ்வொரு பிரதேசங்களிலும் நடாத்தி, அவ்வப் பிரதேச மக்களை, பெண்கள் தொடர்பான செயற்பாடுகளில் ஈடுபடுத்தி வருகின்றது. இந்த வகையில் 2015 மார்ச் 8ல், வவுனியா மாவட்டத்தில் மகளிர் தினக் கொண்டாட்டங்கள் நடைபெற்றன. இந்நிகழ்வில் வவுனியா மாவட்டத்தில் தெரிவு செய்யப்பட்ட பெண்கள் 150 பேர் பங்குபற்றினர். இவர்களில் பலர் இடம் பெயர்ந்த மக்கள், போரினால் பாதிக்கப்பட்டவர்கள், பெண் தலைமைத்துவக் குடும்பங்கள் என்ற ரீதியில் உள்ளடங்குவர்.
மகளிர் தின நிகழ்வில் தலைமை தாங்கிய எமது நிலையப் பணிப்பாளர் சரோஜா சிவச்சந்திரன், பெண்கள் எதையும் சாதிக்க முடியும் என்ற தலைப்பில் கருத்துக்களை கூறுகையில், இஸ்ரேலிய படத் தயாரிப்பாளரான டெஸ்லி பிபிசி க்காக தயாரித்த ‘இந்திய மகள்’; என்ற ஆவணப்படம் இந்தியாவில் தடை செய்யப்பட்டிருந்த போதிலும் யூரியூப் மூலம் எல்லோருக்கும் பரவலாக்கப்பட்டது. இவ் ஆவணப்படத்தில் பஸ் சாரதியான முகேஸ் சிங், சோபா என்ற பெண் பலாத்காரத்தின் போது ஒத்துழைத்திருந்தால் அவர்களுக்கு இந்த நிலைமை ஏற்பட்டிருக்காது என்ற கூற்று பாலியல் பலாத்காரத்திற்கு எதிராக குரல் கொடுக்கும் பெண்களுக்கு சவாலாக அமைந்துவிட்டது. இந்தியா சகிப்புத் தன்மையற்ற ஜனநாயக நாடாக இருந்த போதிலும் பெண் தொடர்பான பிரச்சனைகளில் சரியான முடிவுகளை எடுப்பதில் பின்தங்கி நிற்கின்றது. இவ்வாறான பிரச்சனைகளே ஐ.நா பதவிகளுக்கு போட்டியிடும் இக்காலகட்டத்தில் துரதிஸ்ட வசமான சம்பவங்களுக்கும் இடங்கொடுக்கின்றது. பெண் சிசுக் கொலை, பாலியல் துஸ்பிரயோகம், பெண் கடத்தல், வேலைத்தள பாலியல் துஸ்பிரயோகம், பெண்களுக்கான சட்ட ரீதியான உதவிகளில் தாமதம் போன்ற விடயங்கள் இன்றும் பாரபட்சப்படுத்தப்படுகின்றது. ஆகவே பெண்கள் தங்கள் திறமைகளை வளர்த்து அரசியல் ஈடுபாடு காட்டி தமது பிரச்சகைளை வெளி உலகிற்கு கொண்டு வந்து தீர்க்க கூடிய சாமர்த்தியசாலிகளாக வளர வேண்டும் எனக் குறிப்பிட்டார்.
இந்நிகழ்வில் கிராம முகாமைத்துவத்திற்கான நிறுவனங்களின் சம்மேளனத்தின் (குசைஅ) ஆலோசகர் திரு எஸ். நாதன் அவர்கள,; பெண்கள் விழிப்படைய வேண்டும் என்ற தேவையை முன் வைத்து உரையாற்றினார். சட்டத்தில் பெண்கள் எதிர் கொண்டு வரும் வன்முறைப் பிரச்சனைகளுக்கு சில முன் உதாரணங்களை காட்டி உரையாற்றினார். வவுனியா மாவட்ட செயவகத்தில், சிறுவர் உளவள ஆலோசகராகப் பணி புரியும் திரு அம்பிகைபாகன் பெண்கள், சிறுவர் உளவளம் தொடாடர்பாக உரையாற்றினார். இதைத் தொடர்ந்து இந்நிகழ்வில் பங்குபற்றிய கிராம மட்ட பெண்கள் குழுத் தலைவிகளின் செயற்படுத்தலின் கீழ் இடம்பெற்ற சிறப்பு நிகழ்வுகள் இடம்பெற்றன.
இறுதியாக நிலையப் பணிப்பாளர் சரோஜா சிவசந்திரன், அங்கு வருகை தந்திருந்த பெண்களை எழுந்து நிற்குமாறு கூறி, ‘பெண்களுக்கெதிரான வன்முறைகளை ஒழிப்பதில் ஒன்றுபட்டுச் செயற்படுவோம்’ என்ற உறுதிமொழி எடுக்கப்பட்டது.
மாலை 5 மணிக்கு நிகழ்வுகள் நன்றியுரையுடன் நிறைவுபெற்றது.
பெண்கள் ஒவ்வொருவரும் தம்மில் புதைந்திருந்த சோகங்களை வெளிக்காட்டாது நிகழ்வில் கலகலப்பாக கலந்து கொண்டமை நிகழ்வை சிறப்படைய வைத்தது. மகளிர் தின நிகழ்வில் பிரதம விருந்தினராக வடமாகாண சபை முல்லைத்தீவு மாவட்ட உறுப்பினர் திருமதி.மேரிகமலா குணசீலன் அவர்களும், சிறப்பு விருந்தினர்களாக புதுக்குடியிருப்பு பிரதேச செயலர் சார்பாக நிர்வாக உத்தியோகத்தர் திரு.எஸ்.சிவதாஸ் , முஃகைவேலிகணேச வித்தியாலய அதிபர் திருமதி. சிவராணி தங்கமயில் மற்றும் முல்லைத்தீவு மாவட்ட இளைஞர் சேவை அதிகாரி திருமதி. குகணேசதாசன் சரோஜா அவர்களும் கலந்து சிறப்பித்தனர். இத்துடன் இந்நிகழ்வில் தென்னிலங்கையில்; இருந்து வருகை தந்திருந்த அன்னையரும் புதல்வியரும் நிறுவனம் சார்பாக திருமதி. டல்சி ,திருமதி.தயா அவர்களும் கலந்துகொண்டார்.