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Petition launched against Tissa

2013 Nov 26

Activists and rights groups in Sri Lanka have launched a petition against Minister of Women’s Affairs and Child Development Tissa Karalliyadde, calling for his resignation over some public comments he had made.

The petition circulating via email says the Minister had on several occasions made extremely sexist remarks that are humiliating to Sri Lankan women in general, without any sense of responsibility for the cabinet office he holds as Minister of Women’s Affairs and Child Development.

According to the petition, the Minister had stated on several public platforms that women should not be appointed to responsible positions of public office because by nature they are unable to get on with each other and constantly fight and slander other women.

A few days ago he stated that the idea of gender equality is a meaningless concept advocated only by some women from NGO groups who have no connection with the vast majority of rural women. He added that these NGO women have rejected values of “pathivatha” (fidelity to husband) in their family life. This abusive and insulting remark about an identified group of women working on issues of concern to women, and implying sexual promiscuity, were made in a TV programme (Sirasa Press Release, 15 November 2013) that received wide publicity.

“Minister Karalliyadde is clearly unaware that the oath of office he has taken as a cabinet minister requires him to respect and follow the norms and standards set by our Constitution and national laws, and international treaties and policies that bind the Sri Lankan State and government. We wish to remind him that Article 12 of our Constitution incorporates a standard of gender equality and non-discrimination on the ground of a person’s sex. Sri Lanka, recognising its contribution in improving the lives of women by giving equal access to health and education, and desiring further progress, became a State Party to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1981. In 1993 it adopted a policy statement known as the Women’s Charter and which reinforces the Convention standards on gender equality between men and women. While the Sri Lankan government has binding obligations to implement the Constitution, National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) and CEDAW, it is also bound to implement the more recent Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). These require the government to implement and monitor development goals that will contribute to gender equality. These commitments are also central to the core Commonwealth values that have been incorporated in the Declaration of CHOGM. The President as current Chair of the Commonwealth has a responsibility to ensure that these values on gender equality are upheld by his administration,” the petition added. (Colombo Gazette)















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