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 need to reduce the size of the military presence in the North-East was a key issue flagged in the North said the US Ambassador to the UN whilst speaking on her visit to the North-East of Sri Lanka.
Britain will discuss Sri Lanka’s progress on implementation of the United Nations Human Rights Council resolution on accountability for mass atrocities at the upcoming Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Malta.
Expressing shock and sadness at the news of a Jaffna student committing suicide in protest over the ongoing detention of Tamil political prisoners in Sri Lanka, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) urged calm.
All schools across the Northern Province will be shut on Friday in order to commemorate the death of a Tamil student who committed suicide in protest at the continued detention of Tamil political prisoners.
Sri Lankan military intelligence personnel have threatened security guards working at Jaffna University to give up any information regarding Maaveerar Naal posters, which have appeared across the campus.