The Women and Media Collective held several discussions with women’s rights activists and groups from over 20 districts on the new constitution making process. The drafting of third constitution since Sri Lanka’s independence encouraged public opinions for the very first time. At this historic juncture it was important that thoughts and concerns of women were brought to light so that when the new constitution is adopted it will protect and strengthen the rights of women throughout the country.
Submissions to the Public Representation Committee (PRC) were made during the month of February 2016 by nearly 70 women’s rights activists and over 20 women’s groups. Within the discussions there was an overall sense that the socio-economic rights of the people must be established. These include the right to life, education, health, water and shelter to name a few. On the other hand provisions pertaining to women on violence, equal wages, land and property rights, sexual and reproductive rights, political participation and electoral reforms and establishing a women’s commission were brought forward. Throughout the districts most of the submissions made did include common elements but there were submissions which were also more specific to the respective districts. It gave women an opportunity to raise issues that mattered to them the most and talk about the change that they desire.
The meetings were carried out consistently with all those who attended and were held prior to the PRC visits to each of the districts. The PRC was appointed by Hon. Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe with the approval of the cabinet to obtain proposals from the public on Constitutional Reforms. The committee accepted oral and written submissions from citizens until the 15th of March 2015.
Contribute to the social media campaign on the new constitution making process with the hash tag #womenconstlk and #newconstlk
Below are photographs from each of the district meetings: