(L-R) Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, Ms. Rosy Senanayake, Ms. Ambika Satkunanathan, Mr. Alain Sibenaler
Remarks by Mrs. Ban Soon-taek, Spouse of the UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon
Round Table Discussion on ‘Sustaining Peace in Sri Lanka: The Role of Women’ organized by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
2 September 2016, Colombo
Honourable Chandrani Bandara, Minister of Women & Child Affairs
Ms. Rosy Senanayake,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for taking the time to meet with me today at this round table discussion on the role of women in sustaining peace in Sri Lanka.
During Sri Lanka’s 25 years conflict, Sri Lankan women faced the brunt of violence, loss and displacement and grievous forms of sexual and gender based violence.
Many women were widowed and compelled to take up leadership and lead caretaker roles within their family, community and state. While trying to rebuild their lives in the post-conflict period, women have faced economic insecurity, exclusion from inheritance of property rights and land that is vital the survival of themselves and their families.
While the conflict in Sri Lanka is its own, the women of Sri Lanka, are confronting consequences of conflict that affect millions of women worldwide.
I commend the important contribution you and your organizations have made for reconciliation and peacebuilding in Sri Lanka during the conflict and in the post-war period.
Your work to address gender-based violence faced by women and girls as well as support women’s participation in peace processes and post-conflict reconstruction is critical to the progress of your country as a whole.
I am pleased to learn about the ways the Sri Lanka government and civil Society are working together with the United Nations are working together to implement durable solutions.
It is imperative that do not see women merely as ‘victims’ of the conflict and ‘recipients’ of assistance post-conflict, but as equal partners in ensuring a peaceful future.
I look forward to hearing from you all, as experts at the community and country level, on the way forward to ensuring that women are a central part of sustainable peace in Sri Lanka.