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GR will back laws to protect women: Amunugama

Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Friday, 8 November 2019 00:00



  • Pledges to strengthen institutions to expedite investigations
  • Promises disciplinary action against officers found guilty of discriminatory behaviour 
  • Proposes 24-hour emotional support and advisory helpline


By Nuwan Senarathna

Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) Parliamentarian Dr. Sarath Amunugama yesterday said Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa would uphold the rule of law to prevent sexual harassment against women and ensure a safe environment due to his military

Dr. Sarath Amunugama


Addressing media at the Mandarina Hotel, Dr. Amunugama said Rajapaksa’s policies to promote discipline in the country would encompass the ability to minimise the harassment of women. He argued technology could be used to assess issues more productively and accurately to strengthen action against perpetrators.

“We have a culture of impunity. Women are reluctant to complain about harassment and this is very common in South Asia because society judges that particular woman rather than the perpetrator. Gotabaya Rajapaksa is committed to changing this to ensure the safety of women,” Dr. Amunugama declared.

He argued that women who were being sexually harassed were unable to obtain justice due to investigative and administrative lapses. Dr. Amunugama argued that due to these shortcomings with the current investigative process, women had to endure unpleasant experiences, which led to fewer reports of harassment.

“The cards are stacked against that poor woman who is harassed. This culture needs to be changed. Gotabaya Rajapaksa has identified the challenges women are facing and he pledges to take action to prevent women being harassed.”

He said he could give assurances that sexual harassment and insecurity would not be allowed if Rajapaksa was elected. Dr. Amunugama argued that Rajapaksa had delivered on his promises as Defence Secretary, therefore the public could count on his promises to end the harassment of women. 

“We are trying to create an environment where young people can enjoy their lives and have freedom day or night. We are committed to creating an environment where women can go out safely at night. Gotabaya Rajapaksa is the only person who is capable of delivering that.”

He noted that Rajapaksa had pledged that a separate unit would be set up within the Police Commission to take swift disciplinary action against officers who do not adhere to the standards and principles of gender equality.

“A mechanism will be put in place for women to be able to report violence or harassment to the nearest police station through their mobile phones. A 24-hour emotional support and advisory helpline will be established under the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs so that women can contact the centre for support and help,” he said.

Pic by Sameera Wijesinghe 

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