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Put an End to Violence Against Women in Sri Lanka

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His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa

President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Presidential Secretariat

Colombo 1

Your Excellency,


We, the members of the five Zonta Clubs in Sri Lanka, have initiated this petition to end violence against women (VAW) in the country. Zonta is an Association of Professional and Business Women, committed to the cause of advancement of the status of women. We are affiliated to Zonta International, a global association of 33,000 women in business and the professions. Zonta District 25 comprising Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka at its 12thDistrict Conference held in Colombo in October 2013, resolved that meaningful and effective action should be taken to eliminate and/or minimize violence against women in the region.

Our intention through this petition is to collect one million signatures to urge Your Excellency and government instruments to take speedy action on this pressing problem which threatens women directly, affects the economy of the country and the very fabric of society. We are all confident that Your Excellency will instruct all those concerned to consider this as a priority issue which needs prompt action.

We are proud that Sri Lanka is ahead of other countries in the region in relation to the Millennium Development Goals. We also appreciate very much your state policy of Zero Tolerance to Violence against Women as highlighted in the Mahinda Chinthanaya. However we regret to note that this very relevant and significant policy has not been entirely upheld and enforced. This is manifested by the increased incidences of VAW within the country in the recent past. Similarly, the National Action Plan on action to be taken regarding the elimination of violence against women has been prepared by the Ministry of Women’s Empowerment and Child Development, however, many provisions are yet to be implemented.

We seek Your Excellency’s intervention to act speedily to ensure the following:

Establish a multi-stakeholder National Task Force to give priority attention to issues relating to violence against women, including monitoring and documenting incidents of VAW. This would be an umbrella organization similar to the National Child Protection Authority to provide a multi-sectoral approach upon which actions to prevent and respond to violence against women are built.

Through the Attorney General’s Department which now functions under Your Excellency, provide clear directives to the Law Enforcement officers to ensure that justice is meted out in an expeditious manner

Direct the judicial system so that judicial and other law enforcement officers are sensitized on the repercussions of domestic violence and its severity towards the victim, victim's family, the community and country at large.

Make it an essential State responsibility to design effective services and facilities such as safe environments for counselling, legal services, safe shelters etc.

Mainstream gender issues into all stages of programme planning and policy implementation.

Strengthen and expand the women’s and children’s desks in police stations so women can confidently approach the law enforcement authorities.

Whilst thanking Your Excellency and the government for the keen interest and consideration given to Women’s Affairs, we are confident that our petition will be duly acted upon by Your Excellency. We assure you our fullest support in your attempts to eliminate violence against women in Sri Lanka.

Yours faithfully,

Dr. Marlene Abeywardene

District Governor

Zonta International – District 25

We are honoured that Sri Lanka's First Lady Madam Shiranthi Rajapaksa has agreed to endorse our appeal.

We invite you, your organization, your friends and colleagues to join us in strengthening this call by endorsing our appeal.

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