The Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) has been established to catalyse the process of achieving reconciliation in Sri Lanka. ONUR’s principal role is to ensure a durable peace by building bridges between all our peoples.
Towards this objective, the role of women both as beneficiaries and participants of the process is seen as vital. The ONUR with the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs have embarked on an ambitious journey to promote the role of women in reconciliation.
It has been brought to ONUR’s notice that post-conflict programmes for peace-building and reconciliation, accord insufficient attention to the vast range of problems faced by women and that there exist serious gaps in the services and opportunities available to war affected women, especially war widows including military widows and female-headed households.
Following several consultations; Personal security issues related to the post-conflict context (and violence against women in general), Psycho-social Support, Social Security issues and Livelihood Development related issues have been identified as priority areas
To initiate this long term process and as an immediate step to provide relief to affected women, ONUR and Ministry of Women and Child Affairs are organising the ‘Liya/Mahalir Shakthi’ programme in collaboration with the Registrar General’s Department, Registration of Person’s Department, the Department of Pensions, the Department of Immigration and Emigration, the District Secretary’s Office and the Divisional Secretariats to issue vital documents to those women who have so far been unable to obtain such documents due to various challenges.
As the first phase of this programme, stalled cases have been identified with the assistance of the District Secretary in Kilinochchi and over 1,500 cases have been sent to the relevant departments to identify as to why there have been delays in the issuance of documents or why documents were not issued so far. The next step is to take the resolved cases back to Kilinochchi and to complete the necessary formalities with the relevant person so that the document issue can take place thereafter so that affected women can access the benefits and services available to them.
This programme was initiated with the participation of a large number of people seeking the services in Kilinochchi District which covered Karachchi DS Division on 13 October and Poonakari DS Division on 14 October. Similar events will be held in Kandavalai DS Division on 20 October and Pachchilaippalli DS Division on 21 October.
The Kilinochchi District events were organised with the support of National Center for the Empowerment of Widows and Women Headed Families affiliated to the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs. The ONUR and Ministry of Women’s Affairs intend to continue this programme into other provinces during the rest of the year and the beginning of 2017.