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Gender-based violence often shrouded in silence



Launch of ‘Fatalities’: A Publication on Accidents, Suicides and Femicides of Women & Girls in Sri Lanka

The UNFPA last week commissioned a study, which is the first of its kind in Sri Lanka, to understand the contributory factors of unnatural deaths that women and girls by analyzing accidents, suicides and femicides in Sri Lanka from 2013-2015.

Conducted by the University of Kelaniya, the study focused on unnatural female deaths in five provinces in the country. Evidence from the study found that 62% of homicides – out of the studied sample of 243 killings between 2013 and 2015 – were perpetrated by intimate partners, ex-partners and family members.

Further, out of the 243 homicides reviewed, 128 of the cases identified the perpetrator as the legal husband. Moreover, 69% of such incidences go unreported, which is a cause for alarm.

This indicates that gender-based violence is often shrouded in silence. In light of this, the study aims to describe the problems associated with the judicial processes and outcomes relating to unnatural female deaths. It further aims to provide policy inputs and guidelines to address problems associated with the investigation and judicial processes relating to the issue.

The Study, officially launched and handed over to Hanaa Singer Hamdy, Resident Coordinator, UN Sri Lanka, was launched on Tuesday in the presence of Dr Sudarshani Fernandopulle, Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control and Chairperson of the Select Committee of Parliament to ensure gender equity and equality and chairperson of the Women Parliamentarians Caucus in Parliament, Rohini Kumari Wijerathna, Member of the Select Committee of Parliament to ensure gender equity and equality, and member of the Women Parliamentarians Caucus in Parliament, Dr Harini Amarasuriya, Member of the Select Committee of Parliament to ensure gender equity and equality, and member of the Women Parliamentarians Caucus in Parliament, Prof. Nilanthi de Silva, Vice-Chancellor, University of Kelaniya, Prof. Janaki Hewawawisendi, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya, Prof. Maithree Wickramasinghe, Chair Professor of English and Senior Professor, University of Kelaniya, and Prof. Anuruddhi S. Edirisinghe, Professor of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya and the principal investigator of the study.

Speaking at the event, Sharika Cooray, Officer in Charge, UNFPA Sri Lanka stated “Femicide, is the intentional sex/gender-related killings of women and girls that does not occur in isolation, it is fueled by a culture of impunity and norms that accepts any form of violence against women and girls. These are crimes that can be controlled & prevented and are sinister in nature as these are not only harmful to the victims and survivors but those of their families and society as a whole. We must work together to break the silence around issues pertaining to gender-based violence. We must position this issue nationally, thus ensuring a violence-free Sri Lanka for women and girls.”

Highlighting the methodology and findings, Prof. P. Anuruddhi S. Edirisinghe, Cadre Chair and Professor of Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya stated “This book engages with the roles and influences of the medical/legal/judicial processes, the media, and the community in such deaths including the possible social, cultural, gender and other norms and ideologies that may influence, delay and prevent judicial redress and media coverage. Most importantly, it also considers the ways in which some of these deaths could have been prevented.”

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Now, CEB plans to ‘rationalise’ tariff



By Ifham Nizam

Plans are afoot to ‘rationalise’ the electricity tariff shortly, Ceylon Electricity Board Chairman M.M.C. Ferdinando said, adding that the 52-year-old system should be changed for the betterment of the electricity consumer.

CEB Chief told The Island the CEB tariffs need to be changed to better reflect the use and the income level of the consumer. Ferdinando added that he had already briefed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on it.

Ferdinanado said that right now waste and corruption on CEB’s part had also been added to the consumers’ bill.

He said the CEB had received 1500 MT of fuel yesterday and would receive another shipment soon. However, thort-term power interruptions would continue in several areas until the operations at the Kelanitissa Power Station returns to normal.

“The power interruptions are an annoyance and we are looking for solutions. We too want to provide an uninterrupted power supply to our customers. Our hydro-power generation capacity is low as water levels in reservoirs are receding,” he said.

CEB’s Systems Control Department officials said that power outages might be experienced for one and a half hours due to problems at the Kelanitissa thermal plant complex.

CEB Media Spokesman, Additional General Manager Andrew Navamani said that the national grid had lost 282 MW due to the issues at Kelanitissa thermal plant. He said the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation had informed the CEB that necessary stocks of fuel for Kelanitissa power plant would be provided by yesterday night.

However, it would take several hours to start the generators, he said.

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Solving vexed problems: Ranil calls for fresh approach



‘What we are witnessing is end of politics’

By Saman Indrajith

Traditional politics did not have solutions to the present-day problems, and the MPs should adopt a novel approach to them, UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday.

Participating in the adjournment debate on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s policy statement, the UNP leader said: “We have come to the end of politics. If we go by the words of Francis Fukuyama, it is a question of the end of politics. But that does not mean the end of Parliament. We in Parliament must think afresh. We must discuss how to bring about long-term policies which would help us find solutions to the problems affecting the public. Thereafter, we can go for elections and ask people to decide who or which party could do better. Japan did so. Great Britain is doing so. India and Canada do the same. Why can’t we do it here? If we can arrive at a consensus, we will be able to usher in a new era.

“The President has commenced this new session while the country is facing the worst economic crisis in 34 years. In his statement, he mentioned only the foreign reserve crisis. The economic crisis we are facing is far worse. We created a middle class with open economic policies. With the collapse of the open economy, the middle class too will collapse. There are a handful of companies and individuals who could earn profits while the economy is shrinking. We must decide whether we’ll perish or unite to work out a plan to ensure our collective survival,” Wickremesinghe said.

“We have come to the end of traditional politics. We may shout at each other and go out to shout slogans. But that will not help us solve problems.”

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Chandrika says Sirisena should be thrown out of SLFP



SLPP MP and former President Maithripala Sirisena should be thrown out of the SLFP for making the party a junior partner of the SLPP former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga said on Wednesday night after appearing before the Special Presidential Commission of Inquiry (SPCoI) appointed to implement the recommendations of the final report of the PCoI into alleged Political Victimisation.

Both Sirisena and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had destroyed the SLFP, Kumaratunga alleged.

The former President said that she had urged Sirisena not to join the SLPP as that would be the end of the SLFP.

“I repeatedly told him this and Sirisena removed me from the party’s Central Committee and stripped me of my organiser’s post in retaliation.

“Now, Sirisena is saying the same things I said about the SLPP. Even during the war, I managed to get the economy up and running. Look at it now, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry,” she said.

Kumaratunga was also critical of the SPCoI, stating that she had not been summoned before the PCoI on Political Victimisation for her to respond to any allegations against her.

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