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* Women MP’s of Sri Lanka parliament call for action to prevent verbal harassment from male colleagues
Tue, Nov 23, 2021, 12:45 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Nov 23, Colombo: Chairperson of the Women Parliamentarians’ Caucus (WPC) in Sri Lanka parliament, Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle, State Minister of Primary Health Care, Epidemics and COVID Disease Control has written to the Speaker of Parliament to take steps to prevent verbal harassment of female members by their male colleagues.

Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle, Chairperson of the WPC, has drawn the attention of the Speaker to the fact that the handful of female Members of Parliament have been verbally abused by male members of the Sri Lankan Parliament.

WPC Chairperson has drawn attention of the Speaker to a recent statement made by the ruling party Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MP Tissa Kuttiarachchi directed at the opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Rohini Kavirathna as well as SJB and Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa’s wife.

Dr. Fernandofulle noted that in the past too, verbal violence has been used to make statements that embarrass female MPs in the Supreme Parliament, which is not a good precedent for a society that values democracy.

She pointed out that if women people's representatives who contribute to the formulation of laws are harassed at the very same place of legislation, it shows the degeneration of an entire society.

The State Minister has pointed out that anyone who values civility does not approve of the issuance of statements in the form of verbal harassment against members of parliament of a supreme body that discusses violence against women at home, on public transport, on the road and in the workplace and takes action to prevent such.

In her letter, Dr. Fernandopulle further points out that she does not think special analytical data is needed to gauge society's backward attitude towards women, who make up 52% of the population.

This attitude is more or less recognizable, from the attempts of all three main ethnic groups, Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims, to define women as property of men, as part of human beings who should be governed by men, less than men, socially as well as religiously and within legal frameworks, she further pointed out in her letter to the Speaker.

There are only 12 women parliamentarians in the 22-member parliament of Sri Lanka.

In July, a government minister had allegedly made a remark said to be of a sexual nature singing a lewd song lyric directed at Opposition MP Thalatha Athukorala.

Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena has said that he will inquire into an allegation of verbal sexual harassment directed at MP Thalatha Athukorala.

 

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