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Death of ‘Mothers and Daughters of Lanka’ takes up battle cry for justice



‘Mothers and Daughters of Lanka’ says it is shocked by the reports that a minor girl, employed in domestic work at the residence of a Member of Parliament, was abused for eight months.

The civil society organisation issued the following statement yesterday (23): “This tragedy, is further aggravated by her hospitalisation with burns and her subsequent death days later.

‘Mothers and Daughters of Lanka’ supports the demand made by Tamil people of upcountry that a proper investigation be conducted into the death of this lass.

There has been an increase in the reports of sexual abuse committed against minority age girls of this country. It is an accepted fact that a higher number of girls than have been reported become the victims of acts of sexual abuse.

It was on 7th June that the Mount Lavinia Police received a complaint that a 15-year-old girl had been procured as a sex worker to a large number of persons of different status in the society, causing sexual abuse.

Among those who sexually abused her were a Buddhist priest, a doctor who served in the Navy, businessmen, and a former Minister of the Maldives. It has been reported that around 75 persons involved in this racket have been arrested.

On as late as 15th July, it was reported that the Police had arrested 5 including the father of a 13-year-old girl from Nawalapitiya charging them with sexually abusing her.

The 15-year-old girl in domestic service at the residence of former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen was hospitalized with severe burns on 3rd July 2021. She died on 15th July and it has been established that she had been subjected to sexual abuse. Apart from these incidents that have come to limelight through media including social media, we cannot imagine the number of such incidents that take place unbeknownst to the world. We can only stress that the number is very much bigger. As a society, we should understand that it is our own daughters and sisters that get abused in this way.

Firstly, the male-dominated patriarchal society’s treating women as sex objects forms the basis of sexual abuse of girls and women. Secondly violence against children is also rampant in our society and there are also politicians who justify beating children in this country.

‘Mothers and Daughters of Lanka’ believes that sexual assault on children is the combined effect of these two factors.

‘Mothers and Daughters of Lanka’ unequivocally condemn the selling of women and girls as if they were tradable commodities, subjecting them to sexual abuse and murdering them in this fashion. At the same time, we urge the authorities to arrest all those persons responsible for these incidents including the procurers and procuresses without difference and bring them before the law while taking steps to accord justice to the victims and to safeguard the lives of women and children.”

The signatories to this statement are

Women’s Centre – Ja-ela

Women’s Development Foundation – Kurunegala

Women’s Political Academy – Colombo

Human Development Institute – Kandy

Community Education Centre – Malabe

Sunila Women’s Foundation – Polonnaruwa

Uva-Wellassa Farming Women’s Organization – Moneragala

United Women’s Organization of the East – Kantale

Janaawabodha Kendraya (People’s Awareness Centre) – Negombo

Gammy Kaanthaa Peramuna Rural Women’s Front) – Galle

Vikalpanee (Alternative) – Moneragala

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GL follows up Udaya’s initiative, negotiates concessionary crude oil supplies with UAE



Balance-of-payment crisis continues to stagger govt.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The United Arab Emirates (UAD) has agreed to discuss a possible arrangement to provide Sri Lanka crude oil on concessionary terms in the face of the country experiencing a severe balance-of-payments crisis, according to the Foreign Ministry.

Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris took up the matter with UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, on the sidelines of the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York. Prof. Peiris is on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s delegation to the UNGA.

In late August, Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila sought the intervention of the Acting Head of the UAE Embassy in Sri Lanka, Saif Alanofy. Minister Gammanpila also met the Iranian Ambassador in Colombo in a bid to explore the possibility of obtaining oil from Iran on concessionary arrangements.

The Foreign Ministry statement on Prof. Peiris meeting with the UAE Minister dealt with the financial crisis experienced by the country. “Foreign Minister Peiris explained the challenges Sri Lanka is experiencing in respect of its external budget, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Prof. Peiris focused in particular on the country’s requirement for oil and requested concessionary arrangements from the UAE.”

The Foreign Ministry quoted Minister Al Jaber as having said that the UAE would be happy to assist and proposed the establishment of a strategic framework to take the process forward.”

The ministry stressed that both sides agreed to follow-up rapidly.

Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila earlier told The Island that concessionary arrangements were required to procure oil as part of an overall strategy to overcome the developing crisis.

Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) leader and Attorney-at-law Gammanpila said that increase in fuel prices in the second week of June this year was only a part of the government’s response to heavy pressure on foreign reserves. Minister Gammanpila said that the decision was taken close on the heels of dire warning from the Central Bank.

Minister Gammanpila said that in spite of foreign currency crisis, the government ensured an uninterrupted supply of fuel. According to him, Sri Lanka spent as much as USD 3.5 to 5 bn annually on oil imports depending on the world market prices.

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President attends 9/11 commemoration in NY



President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday attended the special commemorative event near the Manhattan Memorial in the United States to mark the 20th anniversary of terrorist attacks in Washington and New York.

The terrorist attacks took place on September 11, 2001, targeting the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon, the headquarters of the United States Department of Defence.

Coinciding with the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism and the 9/11 Memorial Museum jointly organised the event. Other Heads of State and government representatives, who were in New York to attend the UN General Assembly, were also present at the event to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in those attacks.

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FSP calls on govt. allies not to pretend to oppose adverse deal with US firm



By Anuradha Hiripitiyage

Due to the secret agreement signed with US firm New Fortress Energy, Sri Lanka would soon face a situation akin to the one already faced by Ukraine, the Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) predicted yesterday.

“Sri Lanka is trying to reduce its dependency on coal and switch over to LNG. With this in mind, several coal and diesel power plants are to be converted into LNG in the coming decade. Now, we will entirely depend on the US to provide us with LNG to power these plants. Given that the US intends to control the seas in which Sri Lanka is placed strategically, they will not let us off the hook once they establish their foothold here. We are in deep trouble,” FSP Propaganda Secretary, Duminda Nagamuwa said.

Nagamuwa said that some constituents of the government were pretending that they opposed the transfer of government’s shares in the Yugadanavi Power Plant to New Fortress Energy. “But this is not the time for theatrics but for concrete action”, he said.

Nagamuwa said that the agreement between the government and US Company New Fortress Energy to construct a new offshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) receiving, storage and regasification terminal at Kerawalapitiya as well as the transfer of government’s shares in the Yugadanavi Power Plant had to be scrapped.

“Even government ministers agree that the agreement was not discussed with them. Several affiliates of the government are trying to convince the people that they are fighting this decision from inside. However, past experience has shown that when push comes to shove they will stay with the government. They must show the leaders of the government that they are not puppets,” he said.

Nagamuwa said that if those affiliated to the government were serious in their opposition to undermining Sri Lanka’s energy security they should show their commitment by doing something concrete.

The Yugadanavi Power Station at Kerawalapitiya already produced 300 MWs of energy and there was a plan to build another 350 MW plant there. The US Company had now been allowed to build an offshore LNG receiving, storage, and regasification terminal and to provide LNG to the existing Power Station and the new 350 MW power plant to be built, he said.

“Now we are under the power of the US. We will soon be facing the plight of Ukraine,” he said.

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