ICG - militarised North-East leading to women's insecurity
Tamil Guardian 20 December 2011
Detailing the "lack of security" faced by Tamil women across the North-East, in the aftermath of the armed conflict, International Crisis Group (ICG) detailed how "the heavily militarised and centralised control of the north and east – with almost exclusively male, Sinhalese security forces" raises problems for Tamil women in terms of their "safety, sense of security and ability to access assistance", in a report published Tuesday.
"Women in Sri Lanka’s predominantly Tamil-speaking north and east are facing a desperate lack of security in the aftermath of the long civil war."
"Today many still live in fear of violence from various sources. Those who fall victim to it have little means of redress. Women’s economic security is precarious, and their physical mobility is limited. The heavily militarised and centralised control of the north and east – with almost exclusively male, Sinhalese security forces – raises particular problems for women there in terms of their safety, sense of security and ability to access assistance."
"They have little control over their lives and no reliable institutions to turn to. The government has mostly dismissed women’s security issues and exacerbated fears, especially in the north and east. The international community has failed to appreciate and respond effectively to the challenges faced by women and girls in the former war zone. A concerted and immediate effort to empower and protect them is needed."
"The fact that women must rely on the military for everyday needs not only puts them at greater risk of gender-based violence, but also prevents them from building their own capacity within communities."
"The heavily militarised and centralised systems of control in the north and east exclude most residents, but especially women from decisions that affect their security. While there are some female civilian officials and some programs nominally directed at women, all activities occur within a male, Sinhalese, military structure. The government has constrained access for international humanitarian organisations and even more so for local civil society. The vision of security the government has pursued is a masculine, militarised one. Human security is lacking."
The Sri Lankan minister for resettlement, D. M. Swaminathan, has been criticised for failing to meet directly with displaced residents of Valikamam North, during a visit to the High Security Zone on Monday.
The TNA's Batticaloa MP P Ariyanenthiran said in parliament on Friday that the new government will not be able to convince the Tamil diaspora of its intentions unless it takes meaningful steps to address Tamil issues.
The NGO, Together Against Genocide (TAG, formerly Tamils Against Genocide) has welcomed the prosecution of Sri Lankan Army Staff Sergeant Sunil Rathnayake for the Mirusuvil Massacre, but has said that much more must be done to end impunity.
A Sri Lankan government commission into disappearances began holding more hearings in Trincomalee on Saturday.
The much criticised Sri Lankan Presidential Commission to Investigate Missing Persons will be hearing oral statements from those it has invited to attend the new sitting,