An Echelon Media Company
Friday June 14th, 2024

Sri Lanka Parliamentary groups call for sensitivity training for staff at public places

ECONOMYNEXT – Two parliamentary groups have called for sensitivity training for staff at public spaces after a woman with disabilities was harassed at a government office, adding that the Government is obliged to ensure persons with disabilities have comfortable access to all public buildings.

“We strongly condemn the incident that took place on 5th April 2024 at the Sethsiripaya where a woman with disabilities was obstructed from utilising her transportation services to leave the premises,” the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus (WPC) and the Parliamentary Caucus for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (PCIPD) said in a joint statement.

“It has been brought to our notice that the language used by the relevant Security Officers has been highly insensitive, disrespectful and hurtful.”

The two groups strongly urged “that the staff of Sethsiripaya (and other public spaces) be appropriately sensitised and informed about the rights of persons with disabilities.”

“Ironically, the aforementioned incident occurred while she was an invited speaker in a workshop aimed at raising awareness about the inclusion of persons with disabilities, which was organised by the Ministry of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs.”

Joint Statement by the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus (WPC) and the Parliamentary Caucus for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (PCIPD)

As the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus (WPC) and the Parliamentary Caucus for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (PCIPD), we strongly condemn the incident that took place on 5th April 2024 at the Sethsiripaya where a woman with disabilities was obstructed from utilising her transportation services to leave the premises and was informed that vehicle access was exclusively reserved for VIPs.

It has been brought to our notice that the language used by the relevant Security Officers has been highly insensitive, disrespectful and hurtful.

Ironically, the aforementioned incident occurred while she was an invited speaker in a workshop aimed at raising awareness about the inclusion of persons with disabilities, which was organised by the Ministry of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs.

Persons with disabilities makeup 9% of Sri Lanka’s population and often face discrimination and harassment in various spheres when they access different services, carry out their activities of daily living, and participate in their communities.

Persons with disabilities also often experience difficulties due to the lack of necessary infrastructure and necessary provisions such as sign language interpretation, disability-friendly educational and employment facilities, and accessible transport.

Sri Lanka ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in 2016, undertaking the responsibility to “promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities (people living with disabilities), and to promote respect for their inherent dignity”.

The Sri Lankan Constitution also guarantees the right to equal access to shops, public restaurants, hotels, places of public entertainment and places of public worship of his own religion, regardless of race, religion, language, caste, sex or disability (Article 12 (3)).

Therefore, the Government of Sri Lanka is obliged to ensure that persons with disabilities have comfortable access to all public buildings.

Moreover, the Constitution further states that special provisions can be made by law, subordinate legislation or executive action, for the advancement of women, children or disabled persons (Article 12 (4)).

As such, Sri Lanka must uphold her promises for the advancement of the welfare of persons with disabilities, and strive to ensure that their rights are protected.

This incident highlights the intersectionality of discrimination and obstacles encountered by persons due to multiple identities. The individual concerned here is a woman with a disability rendering her particularly vulnerable to daily challenges.

Therefore, it is incumbent upon the Government to factor in all these circumstances and strive to alleviate some of their burdens.

The National Secretariat for Persons with Disabilities, the Passport Office and many more Government services are regularly accessed by persons with disabilities.

Since the security services to the Government offices in Battaramulla are the primary responsibility of the Urban Development Authority (UDA), we also urge the UDA to take necessary action to, inter alia, sensitise and educate the Security Officers on inclusive treatment and the use of inclusive language when dealing with women and persons with disabilities.

It is our responsibility as Sri Lankan citizens to ensure incidents like this do not occur in the future.

As the WPC and the PCIPD, we strongly urge that the staff of Sethsiripaya (and other public spaces) be appropriately sensitised and informed about the rights of persons with disabilities.

Moreover, we particularly urge Government officers to be aware and informed of the needs of persons with disabilities and to anticipate and make necessary provisions when conducting any future programs.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Comment

Leave a Comment

Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sri Lanka opposition leader proposes Grama Rajya system in addition to 13A

Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa (r) – File photo

ECONOMYNEXT — Sri Lanka opposition leader Sajith Premadasa has proposed devolving power to the village level through a Grama Rajya system in addition to implementing the 13th amendment to the constitution.

Speaking at an event in Jaffna on on Wednesday June 12, Premadasa said all provinces will benefit from the 13th amendment.

“Whatever one’s ethnicity, religion, status or region, this country has citizens of equal level. They’re all Sri Lankan citizens.

“There is no division or grouping.  As we give you and every other province what you should be given through the 13th amendment, we must implement a Grama Rajya system,” Premadasa said, addressing a crowd of school children and other attendees.

Premadasa’s assurance of implementing the 13th amendment has already drawn some protest in the south.

A collective of civil society organisations held a protest outside the office of the leader of the opposition in Colombo on Thursday June 12.

Calling itself the ‘Coalition Against Partition of Sri Lanka’, the group carrying national flags marched up to the opposition leader’s office Thursday June 13 morning and demonstrated against the full implementation of the 13th amendment.

“We arrived here today to hand over a missive against devolving police powers, land powers and judicial powers. If Mr Premadasa is inside, come outside,” Jamuni Kamantha Thushara, Chairman of the Citizen’s Movement Against Fraud, Corruption, and Waste, was seen declaring at the site.

“First of all, tell us what we stand to achieve by dividing and giving away the north and east,” said another protestor, warning against bringing the 13th amendment “anywhere here (paththa palaathe)”.

A police officer at the scene the protestors that a secretary to the opposition leader was ready to accept their letter.

“In Kilonochchi, he says the 13th amendment will be implemented. The votes in the north are going to be decisive this election. To win those votes, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Sajith and Anura Kumara Dissanayake all say they will implement the 13th. We will not allow this country to be divided into nine pieces,” said Thushara.

Ven Balangoda Kassapa Thero, who was arrested on June 06 during a protest against the new Electricity Act, was also seen at Thursday’s protest. The Buddhist monk requested for a debate with Premadasa on the matter of the 13th amendment. (Colombo/Jun12/2024)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka rupee closes flat at 303.85/95 to US dollar

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s rupee closed broadly flat at 303.85/95 to the US dollar on Thursday, from 303.80/304.00 to the dollar the previous day, dealers said. Bond yields were down.

A bond maturing on 15.12.2026 closed at 10.00/30 percent, down from 10.20/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.10.2027 closed at 10.60/75 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.07.2028 closed at 11.00/15 percent, down from 11.15/40 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.09.2029 closed at 11.80/85 percent.

A bond maturing on 15.05.2030 closed at 11.85/12.05 percent, down from 11.90/12.05 percent.

A bond maturing on 01.10.2032 closed stable at 11.95/12.15 percent. (Colombo/Jun13/2024)

Continue Reading

Sri Lanka sells Rs295bn in 2027 to 2031 bonds

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka has sold 295 billion rupees in 2027, 2029 and 2031 bonds, data from the state debt office showed.

The debt office sold an offered 60 billion rupees of 15 October 2027 at an average yield of 10.30 percent.

All offered 125 billion rupees of 15 September 2029 bonds were sold at 11.00 percent.

All 110 billion rupees offered of 01 December 2031 bonds were sold at 12.00 percent. (Colombo/May13/2024)

Continue Reading