The need for safe places for women highlighted
The most predominant human rights violation in all places at all times is gender-based violence against women hence after the Tsunami, Sri Lanka established the National Forum Against Gender-Based Violence in collaboration with UNFPA and OXFAM.
Today, the Forum commemorated its 15th Anniversary at the UN Conference room. The theme of the event was “United towards creating violence-free spaces for women and girls”.
The event highlighted the need for safer places for women everywhere such as the home, the workplace and on public transport.
Delivering the opening remarks, Ritsu Nachen, Co-Chair of the Forum and the UNFPA Representative in Sri Lanka emphasized that “women should raise their voices and stand firmly against it and should ensure that there is an appropriate policy action to put an end to it”.
“Fifteen years of continuous efforts of NDF have ensured that we have achieved a much safer Sri Lanka for women and girls but there is still a long way ahead of us before we truly achieve gender equality” she added.
Gender specialist of the UNDP Sri Lanka Bimali Amarasekara described the 15-year journey and its achievements of the Forum. “The essence of the forum, which is a multistate gathering coming together to end a very vicious problem in our society, that affect survivors of the ground, who do not have a voice, who are unable to report, who are victimized when they go to the police station and now we are happy that the forum has the visibility.”
Now the Forum is a collective of over 50 organizations representing the Government, UN Agencies, national and international non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations inclusive of all individual experts.
“We must ensure a Sri Lanka where everyone can be held accountable for incidents of violence regardless of whether it occurs at home, at work or on public transport, by triggering a societal shift in the perspective towards the issue,” Bojan Kolundzija , Co-Chair of NDV and the Country Director of OXFAM Sri Lanka said.
Lastly, a pledge was signed by all the members of the National Forum and the attendees. A street drama was also performed by Women In Need (WIN) to create awareness of gender-based violence in society today.