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Do we enjoy universal adult Franchise?

Image courtesy SBS We did enjoy full adult voting rights in our island for 18 years after the far reaching Donoughmore reforms of 1931 (reaching further than many of our leaders, Sinhalese Tamil and Muslim asked for or even wanted). But two Acts of 1949, among the earliest post-independence legislation, took away citizenship and voting […]

Ensure and protect the rights of people who survived the landslide

Image courtesy Colombo Gazette Memorandum to the Ministry of Disaster Management  Ensure and protect the rights of people, especially women and children, who survived the landslide which occurred in the Haldumulla DS area on 29th October 2014 As the Women’s Coalition for Disaster Management, Batticaloa, we wish to express our sincere condolences to the people […]

The Role of Women in Countering Extremism

Speech delivered at Economic and Social Council Chamber, United Nations on October 27th, 2014 I want to thank the government of the United Arab Emirates for taking this important initiative to have debate and discussion on one of the most pressing issues of our times. I have been invited in my capacity as lead author […]

The Legacy of A New Woman in Our Generation: Sunila Abeysekara (1952-2013)

Photo courtesy New York Times ‘Her discourse, even when ‘theoretical’ or political, is never simple or linear or ‘objectivized’, universalized; she involves her story in history’. – Helene Cixous and Catherine Clement, The Newly Born Woman, 1986. My first meeting with Sunila Abeysekara was unforgettable. It was July 1976 and I was being held at Slave Island […]

“Where are the Sri Lankan Female Scientists?” A Case of Democratizing Science

Photo by Reuters, courtesy International Business Times In recent decades, many researchers, education specialists and policy advocates have paid increasing attention to the issue of gender bias in science. While several successful attempts have been made to increase female participation in science, a dearth of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields still […]

Good women and bad women of the post-war nation

Photo by Anushka Wijesinha, 2011, via IPS Since the end of war in May 2009, the United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government has sought to forge a new overarching Sri Lanka identity inclusive of all ethnic and religious communities. As articulated by the President himself in his first post-war speech to parliament: “the word minorities […]

Women and Children: The Cutting Edge of International Law

Photo by UN/Myriam Asmani, via World Education Blog The Grotius Lecture 2014[1] PREFACE Sometime at the end of 2011, while I was still the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary General for Children and Armed Conflict, I met an ambassador from an Asian country just before a United Nations Security Council meeting on children […]

“Strong Women”: A book review

In the post-war phase, discourse around women and their rights remains extremely weak. As such, attention must be paid to the day-to-day increase of violence against women and girls across the country. The continuing ethnic issues and insecurity together with other socio-economic factors, including the rising cost of living, have placed a great burden upon […]

Should a Muslim eat wedding cake? A note on interpellation and agency

Photo courtesy The Agenda A few days ago, at the wedding of two Sri Lankan Muslims, both of whose families hail from Mannar, families forcibly evicted from their homes by the LTTE in 1990, a married Sri Lankan Muslim woman, a doctor by profession, cut a slice from the wedding cake after the bride and […]

A Call for Accountability: Death of a Young Woman in Kilinochchi

On November 28, 2013 a pregnant mother from Malaiyalapuram North[1] (Malaiyalapuram) in Kilinochchi District died at Jaffna Teaching Hospital. She was 17 and 2/7 weeks pregnant at the time of her death. She had been injected with Jadelle,[2] a Progestogen-only subdermal implant (PODSI), [3] on September 07, 2013.[4] The deceased – Ms. Manjula Satheeshkumar – […]