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Listen to our voice, also - North East Women’s Network

Sep 25, 2010 3:37:59 PM- transcurrents.com

It was observed by us that in the after math of tsunami and the destructive war, resettlement programs have been in progress in the north and the east of Sri Lanka without focusing on the views of women and their special needs.

It is very unfortunate that the resettlement programs that have been initiated in the war and tsunami affected areas of the north and the east of Sri Lanka have failed to incorporate the views and needs of the women who had borne the brunt of the manmade disaster and the natural disaster that had ravaged the country, particularly the north and the east of Sri Lanka. The needs and rights of women have been neglected. Let’s remember once again our neglected rights and needs!

* How can we sleep in houses that do not have doors?

* Even though confirmed that my children are not dead but their whereabouts is still unknown

* Is it too much to provide us with employments as we have lost everything and become destitute?

* How can I visit my husband who is in the detention camp leaving my daughter alone without any protection?

* How long can we bathe at wells and ghats which do not provide us with any privacy?

* Is it fair to decree that entitlement to housing scheme is possible only if we have land deed?

* As women, we bear loads of burdens.

* As the toilets are located far away, we can’t relieve ourselves in the night.

* Even a twelve year old girl is not safe from rape. How can I protect myself?

* The armed groups and the other powerful people are threatening us.

Our requests:

* Please return my land to me

* Please do not separate families and relatives under the guise of relief and resettlement

* Gone are the days people visited homes to enjoy hospitality. Nowadays they visit houses to rape us. Please stop this menace

* The meaning of a house is changed now. Please give us at least a door and a window

* We are tired of repeating this request. Please listen to our concerns and wishes before doing anything for us.

* The war is over. Yet, abductions, murders, robbery and violence are still rampant. Our problems won’t be solved until these things are solved. Please stop these things.

* Our children are missing. They say they are not dead. Then return them to us.

* Please let us live. Please do not deprive us of our livelihoods. Please improve it.

The above are the genuine requests and concerns of the women of the north and the east. We have given it to you in their language as much as possible. It is because we want their aspirations and needs to reach you. We want you to know the sufferings and the pain that they are undergoing. The views and the concerns submitted by women have been prepared as a report. This is a summary of that report. This recommendation is a link between the organizations that serve affected women and the individuals.

The purpose of the recommendation is to revive our action to amplify the voices of women that have been hitherto neglected. The response of handful of government and non-governmental organizations or some individuals to their problems are not enough given the magnitude and the gravity of problems highlighted here. We urge the government, non-governmental organizations, social activists and the society that immediate steps should be taken to secure the demands of women. - North East Women’s Network