International Women's day 2018 was organized by the Human Rights Office Kandy Sri Lanka with the participation of the families of the disappeared, the families of the prisoners, the support group and the staff. Although the event was to be celebrated on the 08th March, it has to be postponed to the 28th March due to the curfew imposed in Kandy District on the 08th March as some extreme groups created clashes between the Sinhalese & the Muslim communities in Kandy.
With the theme “I’m your Mother, Sister, and Daughter. I have the Right to travel without being sexually harassed” stickers were posted by women in 500 buses in Kandy.
Ninety per cent of women travelling in public transport are sexually harassed and this appears to be a deterrent for women accepting jobs that involves long distance travel, according to a World Bank Report on “Getting to Work: Unlocking Women’s Potential in Sri Lanka’s Labour Force” (Sunday Times November 26, 2017)
The initiative of women was well received by the transport authorities and owners of buses and the general public made lots of positive comments as women are subjected to harassment during travel in all public transportation services. The women complain to say that men take advantage of crowdedness in public transportation to sexually abuse women and often women suffer silently as complaints are unheard.
Hence the Human Rights Office empowered women with stickers posted in buses, reminding the abusers that the women have a Right to travel freely without being harassed or abused. Further the sticker reminds that the “Sexual abuse” is a punishable offence and that the women should not suffer in silence.
Human Rights Office Kandy, Torture in Sri Lanka, Disappearances in Sri Lanka, Healing and Counseling
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