[16days_discussion] 16 Days COUNTDOWN- from Sri Lanka

Bimali Ameresekere bimali_a at sltnet.lk
Thu Nov 22 16:03:46 EST 2007

Dear Sadia
In Sri Lanka the GBV Forum is commemorating the International day for the Elimination of Violence against women and the 16 days of activism against GBV by launching a TV and Radio  campaign containing 16 statements by men......

Please see below for the press release

Bimali Ameresekere
GBV Forum Facilitator

 Commemorating International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25th November)
and The 16 days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence (25th November - 10th December)

As the world commemorates the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, on 25th November, which is also the first day of the annual 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence (25th November to 10th December, Human Rights Day), the GBV Forum will launch a media campaign where 16 men will speak out against violence against women. The focus of this year's GBV Forum campaign is on engaging men to end violence against women, with a slogan/theme which affirms that "men too can make a difference. Say NO to violence against women." The media campaign will feature 16 thirty second spots which will be aired on TV and on radio during the 16 Days of Activism. Included in the campaign are well-known personalities such as our cricketers Kumara Sangakkara and Jehan Mubarak, singers/ song writers Bhatiya and Santush, Diplomat Jayantha Dhanapala and actor Roshan Ranawana among others from diverse walks of life.

The GBV Forum comprises of different agencies from various sectors (NGO, INGO, UN, Government etc.) working together to End Gender-based Violence. This is the third consecutive year the GBV Forum has commemorated the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence. 
During the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence island-wide programs focusing on Gender-based Violence (GBV), women's rights and human rights will take place. The White Ribbon Campaign, which is the largest effort in the world of men's activism to end violence against women, also takes place during this time. This year also, Sri Lankans will join this world-wide campaign by wearing a white ribbon, which is a personal pledge never to commit, condone nor remain silent about violence against women. 
In Sri Lanka the most prevalent types of violence against women (VAW) are rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, sexual violence, forced prostitution and trafficking. These crimes are not particular to a certain region or locality, but are widespread and cuts across class, race, religion, ethnicity, etc. In many cases these violations are hidden, this is especially true of domestic violence, which according to the UN Rapporteur on Violence Against Women is reported to have been experienced by 60% of Sri Lankan women (Wijayatilake, K., 2004. Study on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence in Selected Locations in Sri Lanka, Colombo: CENWOR and UNHCR).

Due to poor reporting and the social stigma attached to GBV, the actual numbers do not reflect the real situation. Nevertheless the reported cases have increased. But whether this is due to increasing incidents of GBV or due to efforts by many organizations to encourage women to speak out against GBV, remains unclear. Women living in war situations in the North and East of the country, post-tsunami shelters, institutions such as detention centres and orphanages are even more vulnerable to all forms of violence and abuse. Sri Lanka has made progress on various fronts, particularly in the legal domain, in an attempt to end VAW (for example the adoption of the Women's Charter, the amendments to the Penal Code in 1995, Domestic Violence Act in 2005 etc). But given that GBV is a complex multi-causal issue that has to be tackled at multiple levels, interventions made by state and non-state actors thus far, have touched only the tip of the iceberg. This highlights the need for continued collaboration and networking from all agencies working in this critical area which threatens the dignity and well being of women. 

This collaborative campaign is a positive step in a new direction founded on fostering shared resources, abilities and knowledge for the common good of all. We invite all Sri Lankans who are committed to uphold a violence free life for women and men to join us and support this worthy cause.  We especially speak to the men in our society - the fathers, grandfathers, husbands, uncles, brothers and sons to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women. 

"Men too can make a Difference. Say NO to Violence against Women"

For more information please contact: 2580840

HELPLINE : 4718585 



The GBV Forum was set up on 24th August 2005 following a consultation with selected agencies working on gender-based violence (GBV) issues, in order to facilitate greater coordination, understanding & sharing of information & resources and strengthen multi-sectoral responses to GBV 


The membership of the forum is broad-based including local NGOs, International NGOs, UN agencies, donor agencies and Government representation by the National Committee on Women (NCW) of the Ministry of Child Development & Women's Empowerment. The members of the GBV Forum include United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) Chair of the GBV Forum, OXFAM - GB, CARE International Sri Lanka, Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), National Committee on Women (NCW), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Women and Media Collective (WMC), Women in Need (WIN), Women's Development Centre - Kandy (WDC), United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), FORUT Sri Lanka, Action Aid International, Action Aid Sri Lanka, National Peace Council (NPC),  World Health Organization (WHO). UNDP Regional Centre, Association of War Affected Women (AWAW), International Labour Organization (ILO) and World University Service of Canada (WUSC), Sri Lanka.

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