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Thursday December 2nd, 2021
Gender Issues

Speaker to probe alleged verbal sexual harassment of Sri Lanka female opposition MP

Veteran Parliamentarian Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena

ECONMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena said he will inquire into an allegation of verbal sexual harassment directed at main opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) MP Thalatha Athukorala.

Raising a point of order, SJB MP Rohini Wijeratne expressed her regret over the incident, which she said was a violation of her colleague’s parliamentary privileges.

Wijeratne was referring to a remark said to be of a sexual nature attributed to a government minister during the no confidence motion debate against Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila in July.

The MP in question had allegedly sung a lewd song lyric directed at MP Athukorala.

“There are only 12 female MPs in this parliament,” said Wijeratne.

“This house is not there to criticise women or to discuss the wives or mistresses of MPs. Its objective is to make decisions on issues faced by the public,” she said.

Wijeratne was also critical of Speaker Abeywardene’s silence during the alleged incident.

“You were laughing when [Athukorala] was being verbally harassed sexually. I as a female MP regret your silence and express my disapproval,” she said. (Colombo/Aug03/2021)

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