UN Assistant Secretary-General and UNDP’s Asia-Pacific Regional Director Mr. Haoliang Xu, met with the Inspector General of the Sri Lankan police, during his mission to Sri Lanka in April 2015. At the meeting, Mr. Xu presented a manual and reference guide on Sexual and Gender Based Violence to the Inspector General of the Sri Lanka Police.
The manual was developed by the UN in partnership with the Sri Lanka Police and was published in Sinhala, Tamil, and English.
The Sinhala and Tamil versions of the manual were presented to the Inspector General by UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Subinay Nandy, and UNFPA Representative and Chair of the UN Gender Theme Group, Mr. Alain Sibinelar, respectively.
The UN initiated its engagement with the Sri Lanka Police in 2014 to provide technical assistance to increase its institutional capability to address growing sexual and gender based crimes against women and children premised on international standards of policing and promotion of compliance with human rights laws and standards. With the facilitation of UNPOL, the UN deployed a team of police experts in July and August 2014 to support the Sri Lanka Police to develop the manual and reference guide on Sexual and Gender Based Crimes, to train new recruits and officers working with the Women and Child Desks across the country. The technical intervention has resulted in the institutionalization of the manual as part of basic training for new recruits. The Sri Lanka Police has also made the training on sexual and gender based crimes mandatory for promotional courses for all police officers.
While Sri Lanka is a fairly low crime society, the crime rate for sexual abuse has increased from 11 (for every 100,000 population) in 2009 to 15 in 2012, with many such crimes going unreported for various reasons. Sexual abuse is the highest in Mullaitivu, Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura, Monaragala, Nikaweratiya (Kurunegala district), Jaffna, Tangalle, and Mannar, which includes three from the Northern Province and five from North Western, Southern and Uva, which are typically poorer districts with higher levels of marginalization and exclusion.
A recent UNHCR study found that 40 percent of women in return areas in the North do not feel safe staying home alone. This is a direct indication of serious safety concerns at the village level for females and is backed up by continuous reports on gender-based violence.
Addressing these issues, the second phase of UN technical assistance is aimed to further strengthen the institutional capacity of the Sri Lanka Police by developing, embedding and institutionalizing operational strategies and processes to prevent sexual and gender based crimes.