June 13, Geneva: Sri Lanka says the country has taken concrete steps to address the issue of violence against women, in line with its zero tolerance policy on gender based violence.
Delivering a statement on Thursday at the clustered interactive dialogue held at the Human Rights Council with the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, Sri Lanka's representative said in the country's national policy framework, importance of gender equality has been consistently highlighted the and measures have been taken to alleviate any existing gender gaps.
"We believe that in national policy formulation to combat violence against women, it is necessary to focus on gender equality and the empowerment of women to enable them to fully enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms," the statement said.
Sri Lanka stressed that notwithstanding the lack of a specific legally binding instrument at the international level, States could take measures to combat violence against women.
Sri Lanka is committed to enhancing the support extended to vulnerable groups and numerous programs are being implemented to improve socio-economic conditions of low income households.
Sri Lanka's Ministry of Child Development and Women's Affairs is in the process of formulating a National Action Plan on Sexual and Gender based Violence under the "Strengthening Enforcement of Law, Access to Justice and Social Integration" Programme (SELAJSI), which is being implemented by the government in close partnership with the UNDP.
Sri Lanka said due to the sustained initiatives taken by the government, Sri Lanka has made significant progress in social indicators and has comfortably surpassed many of the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) targets set for 2015.