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Strategic Mapping of

Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

Women and Med ia Collective

First Print April 2009

ISBN 978-955-1770-03-7

Compiled by : Sarala Emmanuel

Cover Photo by : Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala

Cover & Layout : Damayanthi Muthukumarage Velayudan Jayachithra

Supported by :

Published by : Women and Med ia Collective 174 Alwis Avenue, Castle Street, Colombo 8, Sri Lanka Phone: +94-11-2690192, 2690201, 5635800, 5632045 Fax: +94-11-2690192 Email: womed ia@sltnet.lk Website: www.womenandmed ia.net

Contents
Executive Summary 1. Introduction 2. Conceptual frameworks for analysing confl ict and peace 3. History of womens movement activism and civil society activism in Sri Lanka 4. Analysing womens peace activism 4.1 `Womens peace activism in the 1980s l inking peace work with socio-economic rights 4.2 Movement pol itics and identity pol itics 4.3 Peace build ing and peace making - deal ing with the everyday real ities of confl ict 4.4 Addressing issues of justice 4.5 Creating alternative d iscourses and spaces through cultural and mainstream med ia 4.6 Networking 4.7 International advocacy and lobbying 4.8 Research and theorising 4.9 Memory and History 4.10 Working from within involvement with government initiatives 4.11 Lobbying with key stakeholders to the formal peace process 5. Conclusion 5.1 Threats and challenges the socio-pol itical context 5.2 Mobil ity 5.3 Cultural Barriers 5.4 Fund ing 6. Reflections and recommendations 6.1 Assessing impact 6.2 Moving towards consol idating achievements of womens peace initiatives 6.3 Build ing and strengthening womens pol itical participation 6.4 Networks and networking Footnotes Bibl iography 05 12 14 17 20 25 26 29 32 33 34 37 37 37 38 39 40 40 41 41 41 42 42 43 44 44 46 48

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

Womens Organizations celebrating International Peace Day organized by Sri Lanka Women for Peace and Democracy, 2007

Executive Summary
his report has been compiled from interviews with women (and men) associated with 17 organisations that have been involved in peace build ing work in Sri Lanka. It has also drawn from the existing l iterature on peace work and womens activism in Sri Lanka. A draft of this report was presented to a gathering of representatives from the organisations interviewed, long-term women activists, those involved in peace work, academics and international organisations working in this field. The critiques, recommendations and d iscussion points raised at this meeting have also been included in this report. The report records some of the actions taken by ind ividuals, groups of women, and organisations to respond to the impact of confl ict on women, as well as initiatives taken to promote peace at the community, d istrict, national and international levels. These activities were selected to represent varied types of interventions, the long duration of peace activism and the spread of work geographically within Sri Lanka. Internationally there has been a growing recognition that the impact of war on women is significantly d ifferent to that of men and that womens long term peace build ing activities

have largely been marginal ised from most formal peace negotiation processes. This global recognition has been further strengthened by United Nations Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security which was adopted by the UN Security Council in October 2000. This report on mapping womens peace initiatives illustrates how Sri Lankan womens groups have been involved in working on many of the areas d iscussed in the paragraphs of the Resolution as part of their day to day responses to confl ict and also as part of their long term strategic work towards promoting womens human rights in Sri Lanka. Much of this work began long before the Resolution was adopted and continues to-date. Therefore the information in this report can be a source of knowledge for future initiatives to promote UN Resolution 1325. The conclud ing section of this report provides some suggestions on how the UN Resolution 1325 can be used to strengthen the work of womens groups and organisations in Sri Lanka. The aim of this report is to map initiatives as well as the ways in which womens activism has changed and evolved to respond to the changing socio pol itical context. The analysis explores the underlying concepts that have influenced the

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

assumptions about the nature of confl ict, and the objectives for engaging in peace work. The objective of this exercise is to provide a framework-document which can be useful for ind ividual womens groups and organisations to assess their own work, as well as for the womens movement and organisations involved in peace work to collectively and critically reflect on the initiatives taken so far. The report is divided into three sections. First, this report engages with concepts of confl ict and peace build ing from existing l iterature, particularly focusing on feminist conceptual isations of war, mil itarism, violence and peace build ing, as an exploration into peace activism in Sri Lanka cannot be d iscussed in isolation as mere activities, without frameworks that enable us to place this work within the larger socio pol itical context and womens movement activism in Sri Lanka. In the second section this report traces the history of womens movement activism, activism within social movements and within civil society organisations again drawing on existing l iterature. The final part of the report describes the d ifferent types of activities that have been used by womens groups and organisations, based on their particular assumptions about the causes and the nature of confl ict. This section ends with a d iscussion of how UN Resolution 1325 can be affectively used in the context of Sri Lankan womens peace activism. It is important to note that each sub section uses initiatives and organisations as examples to describe particular types of activities. This does not mean these are the only organisations involved in these particular types of work. The final part of the report and its analysis, and indeed this entire mapping exercise is only ind icative of types of initiatives and is not representative of all the work done in Sri Lanka. Also, to enable a concise analysis, the final part of the report also singles out specific key interventions of organisations, although the organisations have often been involved in a variety of activities over the years.

What has been the conceptualisation of peace that has guided different interventions?
One of the key underlying concepts that has guided womens engagement with peace building has been the identification of violence as existing along a continuum. Women often experienced the, connected forms of domestic and political violence that stretched from the home, to the street to the battlefield(Manchanda, 2001. p. 17).This conceptual isation has provided a broader framework which has enabled us to look at women as also impl icated in violence and to recognise that the end of formal confl ict does not mean peace for women. Through the interviews what emerged was that often womens work towards build ing peace has recognised these connected forms and was based on the understand ing that people should l ive in a just society and not be subjected to socio economic marginal isation, cultural oppression, patriarchal power relations and pol itical d iscrimination. Some womens groups recognised the right to self determination of minority communities, some based their work on the premise that a pol itical settlement to the confl ict was essential, some organisations had made the conceptual l ink that violence during confl ict spread in a continuum from within the home to the community and country and their activism therefore was not l imited to periods defined as confl ict-times but also extended to times of ceasefires and peace processes. Some organisations work towards peace was about the daily resistance of the mil itarisation of their homes and communities. Others had l inked development work to peace build ing work and addressed issues of l ivel ihoods, health and poverty. This report puts forward a proposition that the theorising and documenting of peace work has been significantly d ifferent from the theorising and documentation of womens movement activism for peace.

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

Feminist theorising and analysis of womens peace activism has had some d istinctive features. Womens peace activism has usually been conceptually placed within womens pol itical participation in labour movements, in anti imperial ist struggles and left movements (Tambiah, 2002; De Mel, 2001; Giles 2003). Therefore an important observation that is made in this report is that womens peace activism has been a part of their broader work towards addressing issues of socio economic

marginal isation, cultural oppression, patriarchal practices, labour rights, pol itical rights and justice. Peace work has not been a separate or isolated activity, and womens engagement with these other d imensions has not been instrumental or simply as a means to bring about peace. These d imensions related to structural injustice and oppression, were seen as inherently important, and as being both inter-connected with and independent from issues of war and armed confl ict.

An overview of interventions and strategies documented in this report


Type ofi t r enti n nev o W om en i decii n- aki g n so m n Speci i exam pl s fc e W or i g t w ar s i cl di g w om en i decii n m aki g kn o d n u n n so n , s rc e bodi s at t e com m uniy l vel I P cam ps dit i t bodi s e h t e ,D W om en s andi g f rel cti ns t n o e o Lobbyi g w ih m ai s r am par i s and pr vi i g n t n te te o dn r com m endati ns f ri cl di g w om en i polti alpr ces es e o o n u n n ic o s W om en' r pr s nt ti n w ihi peace negoti ti ns s e ee a o t n a o o i D ocum enti g w om en' experences and opi i ns t brng n s i no about aw ar nes on w om en' voi es f rpeace e s s c o e eom e Cons iuti naland l galr f r bas d tt o on a w om en' rght per pecti e si s s v i cl di g cus om ar l w s n u n t y a Advocati g f rt e D om es i V i l nce Act 2005, n o h tc o e cont i uti g t t e PenalCode r f r s of1995,cont i uti g rb n o h eom rb n t t e dr f i g oft e oft e 1997 D r f Cons iuti n, o h a tn h h at tt o ay e m aki g r pr s nt ti ns bef r t e Pari m ent r Sel ct n e ee a o oe h la Com m it e on El ct r lRef r ,2006,2007 and m aki g te e oa om n te n s bm isons t t e Al Par y Repr s nt ti es Com m it e i u si o h l t ee a v 2007 The Krs ant iKum ar s am y cas ,advocacy on cus odi l ih h aw e t a oe r pe and s xualvi l nce a e i s ee c n D ocum enti g t e s at s ofw om en' l nd rght ,r s ar hi g n h t u sa w om en' r pr ducti e healh concer s i confi t anal ss se o v t n n lc , yi ofm iiars ti n lt ia o Pr vi i g healh car and nut i i n o dn t e rt o Food,cl t i g,s eler w at r acces t educati n o hn h t , e, s o o Addr s i g pover y and lvelhood e sn t i i needs M i r cr di,lvelhood s ppor ,t ai i g co e t i i u t r nn r nn kl l n Vocati nalt ai i g and s ilbuidi g o H ousng as it nce,w at rand s niati n and i pr vi g i ss a e a t o m o n healh and nut i i n t rt o Educati n and aw ar nes r ii g f rw om en o e s a sn o

J s ie u tc Res ar hi g and concept alsng e c n u ii w om en' experences t s r t gi aly s i o ta e c l gui e w or d k Pr vi i g hum aniaran r lef o dn t i ei

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

Type ofi t r enti n nev o

Speci i exam pl s fc e

Suppor f rvi l nce -fom dom es i t Pr vi i g s ppor t w om en w ho have experenced vi l nce t o oe r tc o o dn u t o i oe -couns li g,l gals ppor ,m at rals ppor e ln e u t ei u polti alvi l nce ic oe t Runni g s eler and s f s aces f rw om en n h t s ae p o Buidi g m ut als ppor and s ldart am ong w om en w ho l n u u t o i iy have experenced vi l nce and/ rl s ,s m eti es acr s i oe o os o m os et ni di i es h c vd Publc acti im i vs Antiw ardem ons r ti ns pr t s s r li s sl nt m ar hes t a o , o e t , a le , ie c , Bhavana,Kannal w w as vi is a , gl Si nat r cam pai ns g ue g Com m uniy l velpublc r ss ance t m iiar pr s nce and t e i e it o lt y e e r cr im ent e ut Aw ar nes r ii g docum ent ti n e s a sn a o Aw ar nes r ii g dicus i ns on hum an rght ,peace, e s a sn s so i s dem ocr cy,i t r aldipl cem ent a nen s a D icus i ns on how t lve w ih em er ency r gul ti ns s so o i t g e a o , m iiar acti ns s ch as cor on and s ar h oper ti ns lt y o u d e c a o , ar ir r ares s diappear nces b ta y r t , s a D ocum enti g hum an rght vi l ti ns vi l ti ns of n i s oa o , oa o hum aniaran l w t i a Fact fndi g viis i n st Cr s et ni cont ct os h c a s D ay t day i t r cti ns and s ar d w or bet een dif r nt o nea o h e k w fe e et ni gr ups s ch as s ar d i com e gener ti n acti i i s h c o u h e n a o vte os h cd te Sharng experences ofvi l nce acr s et ni i enti i s i i oe Soldart viis bet een Sout er com m uni i s and i iy st w h n te com m uni i s i t e N or h and Eas ,t e pl nt ti ns and hil te n h t t h a a o l count y as w el as bet een M us i and Tam i com m uni i s r l w lm l te Cr ati g aler ati e dicour es t r ugh e n t n v s s ho m edi a Publcati ns usng m ai s r am m edi ,s r et t eat e,Kavi i o , i n te a te h r m adu,fl s docum ent res t l s ow s O ppar im , ai , ak h , i

Buidi g s il f rnon vi l ntconfi tr s l ti n att e i di i ual com m uniy and key s akehol erl vel l n k ls o oe lc e o u o h n vd , t t d e s Addr s i g culur lbari r and e sn t a re s pat i r halcont ol f rw om en at t e ra c r so h com m uniy l vel t e W or i g w ih key s akehol ergr ups kn t t d o W or i g w ih young peopl kn t e Forexam pl havi g dicus i ns w ih m os ue com m it es e n s so t q te about M us i w om en' rght t t l about polti alis es i lm si o ak i c su n publc f r m s enablng l calM us i w om en' gr ups t i ou , i o lm s o o t ke l ader hi i peace buidi g w or . a e s p n l n k For i g i t rr lgi us gr ups m edi gr ups t ade uni n m n n e -e i o o , a o ,r o gr ups polti alpar y gr ups o , ic t o Changi g educati nalcuri ul r n o rc a Pr vi i g s aces f ryout t i t r ct acr s et ni di i es o dn p o h o nea o s h c vd Lear i g about ot eret ni com m uni i s t r ugh s hool nn h h c te h o c U sng t eat e as a m eans f renablng i t r cti ns bet een i h r o i nea o w young peopl fom dif r nt com m uni i s e r fe e te W or i g w ih t e gover m ent and kn t h n s curt f r es e iy o c Lobbyi g f rr s ecti g Geneva Conventi ns s ppor t n o ep n o ,u t o w i ow s ofs l i r ,s ppor t f m ii s ofdiabl d s l i r d odes u t o a le s e odes

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

Type ofi t r enti n nev o

Speci i exam pl s fc e

M obiii g as m ovem ent s ch as M ot er 'Fr nt lsn s u h s o s N et or i g w kn I t r ati naladvocacy nen o M em or ,hit r and r m em berng y so y e i Com pii g aler ati e CED AW r por s s bm isons t t e ln t n v e t, u si o h U PR pr ces oft e U N ,s bm isons t Speci lRappor eur o s h u si o a t s Com m em or ti g l s durng 1983 rot ,Fr edom fom Fear a n os i i s e r cam pai n,Bearng W ines , V i i Coalti n et . g i t s gl io c.

report on future peace build ing work by women in Sri Lanka. The reflections and recommendations have also been l inked to particular UN instruments namely United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 and Convention on the El imination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women(CEDAW) as a way of highl ighting how these UN instruments can be useful in future work in terms of women and peace build ing.1

Assessing impact
There has been much comment on why the peace movement in Sri Lanka cannot mobil ise as much support as the mainstream pol itical parties. Also there has been analysis of the impact of donor fund ing and NGOisation of social movements in weakening pol itical activism (Orjuela, 2004; Burke and Mulakala, 2005). Indeed, this report also notes the efforts made over the years by womens groups and the challenges they have faced in trying to mobil ise women for peace. This report does not explore the impact or effectiveness of specific interventions. As the various examples in this paper illustrate, womens groups have used d iverse strategies, which call for equally varied approaches to impact assessment. It is important to evaluate the strategies that have been used for example, the work towards increasing womens pol itical participation, the work done to build networks, or the publ ic advocacy and campaign work and the lobbying and advocacy during the formal peace process for the inclusion of women and gender concerns in the peace negotiations of

2002/03. Also it is important to note that though womens peace activism, specially in the 1980s and 1990s l inked peace work with socio-economic and pol itical rights, there would have been an impact of donor fund ing for stand-alone peace projects, on the work of womens organisations. This report in its l imited scale cannot fully explore this impact. It is hoped, however, that this paper may be useful to stimulate some future d iscussions about the impact of some strategies and possible future work in this field. Therefore a follow up study to this report could be a sensitively developed research process to assess the impact of womens peace activism in Sri Lanka.

Moving towards consol idat ing achievements of womens peace initiatives


UNSCR 1325 Paragraph 8(b) Recognising womens day to day interventions in responding to conflict and promoting peace supporting and sustaining this work Womens groups and organisations have provided independent spaces for women to develop pol itical awareness and leadership, to be able to challenge mil itarisation and war at their community level as well as nationally from outside mainstream pol itics, and have consistently voiced alternative d iscourses to the powerful mil itaristic, national istic and extremist d iscourses. Therefore these small but potent initiatives need to be supported and

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

strengthened so that womens voices and visions can influence publ ic d iscourse and any future pol itical negotiation to the confl ict. One of the important outcomes of this mapping process was that there was a serious and critical reflection about the work, by those who were part of it. In this vein, a key observation of those interviewed was that though womens groups have been working over a number of years within communities, keeping al ive the d iscussions and analysis of peace, democracy, justice and mil itarisation, these d iscussions have not been consol idated and effectively employed at strategic levels of intervention within the pol icy and pol itical spheres. There needs to be some creative thought on how this can be achieved. One possible first step in this regard would be to carry out research and d iscussions using feminist research methodologies with community women about their own day to day initiatives in respond ing to the confl ict and local level peace making, and their suggestions on how these responses could be translated into strategic level activism and action. An important area of future work that was identified was respond ing to the militarisation of communities, especially of the youth. This issue was raised by women working in confl ict areas and villages bordering confl ict areas. Mil itarisation was seen as a serious challenge to creating spaces for representation and voice. Therefore there needs to be collective reflection and strategising on how womens groups could respond to the mil itarisation of their communities, especially its effect and impact on youth, and to collectively respond to state ideologies of war and mil itarisation through advocacy. The participants at the presentation of the draft report identified a d isconnect between those organisations who focus mainly on advocacy and lobbying work and those organisations provid ing case-by-case support to women, children and men affected by confl ict. Therefore, there is a need to look back at moments when there was strong cohesion between these strands of work and drawing from that experience to strengthen conceptual and programmatic l inks between these two areas of work. This would provide more support for the

locally based organisations d irectly working with communities as well as enrich the advocacy and lobbying work. The capacity and strength of womens groups to actively support ind ividual women or communities has to also be further strengthened with add itional skills and resources in terms of psycho socio- economic support, case management, documentation and supervision support. Questions were raised as to whether adequate effort has been made by womens groups to sustain or consol idate the empowerment, social changes and challenges to patriarchal relations that have taken place due to the confl ict. There is a need to ensure that support systems and capacity have been built up to avoid local cond itions reverting to oppressive past forms when confl ict ceases or changes. Many stud ies have analysed and documented the impact of NGOs and womens groups in bringing about womens empowerment and leadership in confl ict contexts and these stud ies provide a rich source of knowledge that could be useful for a comprehensive analysis and d iscussion as to how these gains can be build upon (see footnote 7).

Building on and strengthening womens political participation


UNSCR 1325 Paragraph 1, Paragraph 8(c) CEDAW Article 7a,b,c Womens participation in political and public life, CEDAW GR 23 (1997) Political and public life, CEDAW GR 6 (2003) Effective national machinery and publicity. Another area which was identified as requiring a greater and a sustained amount of work was womens pol itical participation especially at the local levels as peace making and peace build ing was seen as an inherently pol itical process2. Within this broader area of work some possible interventions identified were Creating a d ialogue with communities about womens pol itical participation and representation

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Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

Creating awareness, supporting and empowering women to engage with mainstream pol itics Coming up with strategies on how womens groups could engage with any future peace process or pol itical negotiation process with a critical reflection on past experiences. This would then help guide the long and med ium term work towards build ing a constituency of women pol itical representatives.

When the draft report was presented, another key challenge identified by those present, was the lack of effective networks and the lack of capacity in networking of womens groups and organisations. Some recommendations for further action which came up were A systematic reflection on current networking practices to learn from good examples and to create more effective networks which can respond to the needs of womens groups and organisations working in confl ict areas and peace build ing. The need for effective networking to respond to urgent human rights violations, violence against women, and threats to women workers, in terms of practical immed iate support. To collectively work towards effective pol itical representation of womens rights in peace build ing.

Networks and networking


UNSCR 1325 Paragraph 1, Womens representation in decision making, 8(b) Supporting local womens initiatives, 8(c) Protect rights of women and girls, 10 Supportive work in responding to gender-based violence, CEDAW Article 2(c) Mechanisms to provide legal redress and protect women working on human rights issues.

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Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

Introduction
his report has been compiled from interviews with women (and men) associated with 17 organisations that have been involved in peace build ing work in Sri Lanka. It has also drawn from the existing l iterature on peace work and womens activism in Sri Lanka. A draft version of this report was presented to a gathering of representatives from the organisations interviewed, long-term women activists, those involved in peace work, academics, international organisations working in this field and women representatives from trade unions. The critiques, recommendations and d iscussion points raised at this meeting have also been included in this report. The report records some of the actions taken by ind ividuals, groups of women, and organisations to respond to the impact of confl ict on women, as well as initiatives taken to promote peace at the community, d istrict, national and international levels. These activities were selected to represent varied types of interventions, the long duration of peace activism and the spread of work geographically within Sri Lanka.

Internationally there has been a growing recognition that the impact of war on women is significantly d ifferent to that of men and that womens long term peace build ing activities have largely been marginal ised from most formal peace negotiation processes. This global recognition has been further strengthened by the United Nations Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security which was adopted by the UN Security Council in October 2000. This report on mapping womens peace initiatives illustrates how Sri Lankan womens groups have been involved in working on many of the areas d iscussed in the paragraphs of the Resolution as part of their day to day responses to confl ict and also as part of their long term strategic work towards promoting womens human rights in Sri Lanka from much before the adoption of the Resolution and continues todate.. Therefore the information in this report can be a source of knowledge for future initiatives to promote UN Resolution 1325. The conclud ing section of this report provides some suggestions on how the UN Resolution 1325 can be used to strengthen the work of womens groups and organisations in Sri Lanka.

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Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

The aim of this report is to map initiatives as well as the ways in which womens activism has changed and evolved to respond to the changing socio pol itical context. The analysis explores the underlying concepts that have influenced the assumptions about the nature of confl ict, and the objectives for engaging in peace work. The objective of this exercise is to provide a framework-document which can be useful for ind ividual womens groups and organisations to assess their own work, as well as for the womens movement and organisations involved in peace work to collectively and critically reflect on the initiatives taken so far. The report is divided into three sections. First, this report engages with concepts of confl ict and peace build ing from existing l iterature, particularly focusing on feminist conceptual isations of war, mil itarism, violence

and peace build ing, as an exploration into peace activism in Sri Lanka cannot be d iscussed in isolation as mere activities, without frameworks that enable us to place this work within the larger socio pol itical context and womens movement activism in Sri Lanka. In the second section this report traces the history of womens movement activism, activism within social movements and within civil society organisations again drawing on existing l iterature. The final part of the report describes the d ifferent types of activities that have been used by womens groups and organisations, based on their particular assumptions about the causes and the nature of confl ict. This section ends with a d iscussion of how UN Resolution 1325 can be effectively used in the context of Sri Lankan womens peace activism.

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Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

Conceptual frameworks for analysing conflict and peace


any scholars have argued against viewing the l ink between women and peace build ing as an intrinsic one ( i.e. that women are naturally peace loving as they are creators and nurturers of l ife), but stress that they often do find it easy to understand and identify structural inequal ities, power relations and oppression as they experience injustice and structural oppression and control in everyday l ife, whether there is an overt confl ict or not (Manchanda, 2001; Coomaraswamy & Fonseka, 2004). There have been arguments made to move away from simpl istic conceptual isation of women merely as victims of violence and men as perpetrators. Coomaraswamy & Fonseka (2004) suggest that this sort of one d imensional analysis is not helpful to understand womens agency, womens call for participation in peace build ing processes as active citizens or to recognise womens compl icity in horrific violent acts in confl ict contexts. Therefore, one of the key underlying concepts that has guided womens engagement with peace build ing has been the identification of violence as existing along a continuum. Women often experience the, connected forms of domestic and political violence that stretches

from the home, to the street to the battlefield (Manchanda, 2001. p. 17).This conceptual isation provides a broader framework which enables us to look at women as also impl icated in violence and also to recognise that the end of formal confl ict does not always mean peace for women. In fact, feminist researchers have noted that during peace negotiations or post confl ict contexts, the incidence of violence against women increases. Jane Barry, who analysed the impact of confl ict on women in Kosovo, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Slovenia and Sri Lanka, argued that this was because in post confl ict contexts the number of groups who pose a threat to women increases with the presence of national armed forces, armed mil itant groups, international mil itary interventions and demobil ised men returning to communities (often with access to arms). She also points to the rise in mercenary gangs and criminal gangs at such times. Secondly, particular types of violence increase, such as human trafficking, prostitution and backlash against women who have stepped into publ ic space. Thirdly, there is the prevail ing sense of impunity (as well as certain impunity clauses that become part of peace deals) which lead to the lack of any investigation or justice

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Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

into incidences of violence. She notes that when there are ceasefire agreements or peace negotiations in progress, the international actors involved consider the violence occurring at that time as not related to the confl ict - as the war is now over. The incidents are seen as isolated, sporad ic or private (Barry, 2005). In the d iscussions with older womens groups in the South of Sri Lanka, what became clear was that they d idnt engage in peace work because they felt they had an intrinsic desire for peace as they were women. They d id so because they felt that while working for the rights of their own communities, (i.e. women workers or women farmers) they also had to respond to the injustice, d iscrimination and violence against women from the minority communities l iving in the North and East and sometimes in their own towns and villages. Many of them felt that this was their responsibil ity. This report advances a proposition that the theorising and documenting of peace work is significantly d ifferent from the theorising and documentation of womens movement activism for peace. For example, Orjuela (2004) who has documented civil society peace work in Sri Lanka though critical of the l imitations of theoretical frameworks of confl ict resolution and peace build ing, nevertheless draws on these frameworks for her own analysis. Here the centre of focus is on the violence/confl ict/war. From that point of reference, these frameworks explore social, economic, pol itical structures and cultural suppression and deprivation that need to be addressed as root causes in order to bring about an end to the confl ict. Orjuela (2004) makes a d istinction between those interventions that work towards end ing violence and those that work towards transforming society and bringing about social justice and argues that sometimes within peace work these two goals are confl icting. However, the assumption in her analysis is that these two l ines of work are both instrumental means of bringing about an end to the confl ict. Therefore, she notes that peace work could be work done to prevent violent confl ict, reduce violence, promote negotiations and settlements (p.45). Orjuelas framework can be said to roughly represent the conceptual frameworks of many professed peace-build ing

organisations in Sri Lanka and also represent the frameworks used for research done in the field of peace build ing (see also Goodhand & Klem, 2005). However, feminist theorising and analysis of womens peace activism is d ifferent. Womens peace activism has usually been conceptually placed within womens pol itical participation in labour movements, in anti imperial ist struggles and left movements (Tambiah, 2002; De Mel, 2001; Giles 2003). Economic and pol itical rights for women were very much part of active debates and d iscussions within these movements. The rapid progress achieved in the post-independent Sri Lanka in terms of womens access to education, health and employment enabled women to mobil ise around action to secure their socio-economic rights in the 1970s and 1980s. Tambiah (2002) notes how rural womens groups such as Wilpotha Kantha Ithurum Parishramaya and the Sinhala Tamil Rural Womens Network (STRWN) were challenging unequal power relations within the home and the community and addressing issues of poverty and injustice. These very same organisations have also been working on issues of peace and justice since the 1980s. One example of this is how the STRWN contested the provincial council elections in April 1999 as an independent all womens party because they felt that the government and pol itical parties were not respond ing to the demands of the poor rural women they worked with. The 18 women who contested were from varied ethnic and rel igious backgrounds and they were challenging not only the gender bias but also class and ethnic biases within mainstream pol itics (Tambiah, 2002). This was not done as peace work per se, but with a recognition of structural inequal ities and the right to pol itical representation. While tracing histories of womens movement activism, what becomes clear is that womens groups have often addressed issues of socio pol itical and economic injustice, and have over the years attempted to identify violence against women and pol itical violence within this context. De Mel (2001) notes that organisations such as the Womens Development Foundation and the Uva Wellassa Govi Kantha Sanvidanaya worked

15

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

with plantation Tamil labourer women, women from the North and East and d isadvantaged farmer women from the South-east practising a transversal pol itics that challenged restrictive structures and re-imagined the nation in a far more plural istic way. Women have, therefore, been amongst the harshest critics of the dominant national isms that hold up a community and/or the nationstate, for they had to engage with the fact of their d ifference within the nation. Their d ifference from men as citizens, as well as members of ethnic, rel igious, class and caste groups whose affil iations they have to symbol ically bear. (De Mel, 2001, p21) An important observation that this report aims to make is that often womens peace activism has been a part of their broader work towards addressing issues of socio economic

marginal isation, cultural oppression, patriarchal practices, labour rights, pol itical rights and justice. Peace work was not a separate or isolated activity, and womens engagement with these other d imensions was not instrumental or simply as a means to bring about peace. These d imensions related to structural injustice and oppression were seen as inherently important, and as being both inter-connected with and independent from issues of war and armed confl ict. The woman demand ing the cost of rice, bread and milk powder to be brought down stood next to the woman asking for justice for those missing in the confl ict when demonstrating in publ ic. They supported each others causes. A feminist peace politics thus connects with the struggle against racial, ethnic and class oppression (Manchanda, 2001, p.17).

16

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

History of womens movement and civil society activism in Sri Lanka

n Sri Lankas history, women were very active in anti imperial ist struggles. For example in 1933 women launched the Suriyamal movement against the Armistice Day or Poppy Day where poppies were sold to raise funds for the British Sold iers. The funds raised through the Suriyamal movement were used for educating low caste girls (De Mel, 2001). De Mel notes the establ ishment of the Girls Friendly Society and the Ceylon Womens Union in 1904, The Tamil Womens Union in 1909, The Mall ika Kulangana Samitiya in 1925, the Womens Franchise Union in 1927 as some the early organisations that spoke of womens rights in terms of education and health and lobbied in particular on the womens right to vote, which led to Sri Lanka enjoying universal franchise in 1931. Women were also very active in trade union pol itics and the left pol itics of the LSSP. Two of the womens organisations that emerged prior to independence were the Eksath Kantha Peramuna, a womens pol itical organisation affil iated to the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP), and the Lanka Mahila Samithi, which worked closely with the United National Party (UNP). Though the womens organisations had l ittle recognition within mainstream pol itics and

Women for Peace post card, 1985

within their own parties, women were still speaking out against war along with their other demands for social and economic rights. Two key figures that De Mel describes from this period were Vivienne Goonewardena and Sel ina Perera, who were members of the LSSP. Recall ing Vivienne Goonewardenas work, De Mel notes that she was elected a Municipal Councillor in 1950 and served as a Member of Parl iament from 1956-60, 1964-5 and 1970-7. Goonewardena was very vocal against certain international confl icts and aggressions in the 1960s and the early 1970s.

17

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

Women for Peace Appeal, 1989

Vivienne was vocal in her protests against US aggression in Vietnam, Cuba, Mozambique, and Zionist aggression in Palestine....She asked that the Sri Lankan government d isallow Pakistani air force use of Sri Lankan airports as a fuell ing point in its strikes against Bangladesh in the 1971 war of independence. (De Mel, 2001 p 29). Some of the organisations working on peace today also emerged in the 1950s. For example, the Sarvodaya Movement had a social ist ideology of working to empower marginal ized groups across ethnic l ines, for example working with Tamil plantation workers and Sinhala rural agricultural workers. This work was conceptual ised as a part of the struggles against oppression and not as peace work per se (Orjuela, 2004). The 1970s saw the emergence of organisations working specifically again state aggression such as the Civil Rights Movement which was created after the JVP insurrection and its aftermath in 1971, The Citizens Committee for National Harmony after the communal violence in 1977, and the Movement for Inter-racial Justice and Equal ity (MIRJE) in 1979, and the Marga Institute. These organisations were involved in

campaigns to release pol itical prisoners, push for constitutional reform, document violence against minorities, and create spaces for d ialogue between communities in the North and the South (Orjuela, 2004). In 1978, a multi ethnic social ist womens collective was formed called the Voice of Women which at the time was the only expl icitly feminist organisation (De Alwis 2003). Other womens groups formed during the late 1970s were Hatton Womens Committee, Musl im Womens Research and Action Forum and the Musl im Womens Conference3. There were also church-l inked groups which started raising concerns of violence and confl ict in the 1970s, such as Satyodaya, Devasaranaramaya, Centre for Society and Rel igion, Socio Economic Development Centre, The Student Christian Movement and the National Christian Council (Samuel, 2006). Samuel notes that there were very active women in all these movements and some of them later became active in womens organisations.

18

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

In the early 1980s, De Mel (2001) notes that some of the key campaigns that womens groups were involved in related to equal pay for women in the plantations, the el imination of night work for women in the Free Trade Zones, campaigns for maternity benefits, criminal ising domestic violence, womens med ia representation, womens reproductive health and other strategic gender interests. However with the mounting state violence and war, womens groups started taking on issues related to violence and confl ict as well Samuel (2006).

1. Women for peace post cards,1985 2. Women for peace post cards,1985 3. Mothers and Daughters of Lanka Petition - Stop the Killings on All Sides, 1989 3

19

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

Analysing womens peace activism


his section of the report draws from the interviews from 17 organisations, and documented accounts of womens activism and work in relation to respond ing to confl ict and promoting peace. Each sub section uses initiatives and organisations as examples to describe particular types of activities. This does not mean these are the only organisations involved in these particular types of work. This section and its analysis, and indeed this entire mapping exercise is only ind icative of types of initiatives and is not representative of all the work done in Sri Lanka. Also, to enable a concise analysis, this section also singles out specific key interventions of organisations, although the organisations have often been involved in a variety of activities over the years. The following table has been drawn up by combining the categories that have been put forward by Jane Barry (2005) and by Camilla Orjuela (2004). This table provides a snapshot view of the activities which have been often used in respond ing to confl ict and promoting peace. The following section will also analyse the assumptions, l inkages, and pol itics behind these activities for a better understand ing of womens peace work.

Womens peace vigil near Katunayake Airport, 2006

Womens Street Drama on Peace by Community Encouragement Foundation, Puttlum, 2006

20

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

TABLE 1 TYPE OF WORK

Resi ti g s n confi t lc

Pr t cti n w or Ser i e oe o k vc pr vi i n o so hum aniaran t i

Legal rfr eo m

Polti al ic acti i m vs

Tr nsi i a to ns

I f r al nom di l m acy po and cr ss o et ni h c cont ct a s W om en s arng h i experences i ofvi l nce oe agai s nt w om en acr s os dif r nt fe e et ni gr ups h c o Soldart i iy viis st i cl di g n u n ' eace t ai s p r n'

Antiw ar dem ons r t ta i ns o , Pr t s s o e t, Rali s le , sl nt vi is ie gl

Suppor t t o s r i or of u vv s vi l nce,t aci g oe r n and r unii ati n, e fc o l galadvi e and e c cas s ppor , e u t couns li g,s f e ln a e hous s e Couns li g f r e ln o w arw i ow s d

H ealh,s eler t h t , f od w at r o e, acces t s o educati n o

CCons iutt ti nal o rfr s eom o ns iuti ntt o alr f r s eom

Cont ont C es i g tn el cti ns e o es i g tn el cti ns e o

D em obiils a- i n and to r i t gr t en e a i n of o chid l s l ir odes

Aw ar nes e s r ii g, a sn peace educati n o and i f r ati n nom o s arng h i

H ealh s r i e Ref r of t e vc om pr vi er t o d s o per onal s hel i p n l ws a vi l nce oe agai s w om en nt cas s t r ugh e ho w om en' s healh t com m it es te Pr vi i g f od o dn o s ppl m ent u e s f rpr gnant o e w om en and l ct ti g a a n m ot er i I P h sn D cam ps

Engagem ent i n ceas fr e ie and peace negoti ti a ons

H um an rght i s m oniorng, t i docum ent a ti n and o r por i g e tn

M ut als ppor u u t and s ldart o i iy gr ups f r o o w om en w hos e f m iy m em ber a l s have diappear d. s e

Dr wi g a n up r com m ee ndati ns o f r peace o pr ces es o s and negoti ti a ons Dr wi g a n up r com m ee ndati ns o fr o w om en' s polti al ic par i i at tcp in o

I t r ati nal nen o W om en' s M ison si r com m endae ti ns t t e o o h gover m ent n

Si nat r g ue cam pai ns g

M i r fnance co i and cr di f r e to w om en' s em pow er ent m

Fact fndi g i n viis st

Li elhood v i s ppor and u t m ar eti g k n s ppor and u t busnes i s t ai i g, r nn lnki g w ih i n t gover m ent n unis t

21

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

Resi ti g s n confi t lc

Pr t cti n w or Ser i e oe o k vc pr vi i n o so hum aniaran t i

Legal rfr eo m

Polti al ic acti i m vs

Tr nsi i a to ns

I f r al nom di l m acy po and cr ss o et ni h c cont ct a s

Pr vi i g o dn housng i as it nce f r ss a o w om en Vocati nal o t ai i g and r nn s il t ai i g k ls r n n f rw om en o

TABLE 2 ORGANISATIONS INTERVIEWED


N am e of or ani ati n g s o Cent e f rPeror i g r o f m n Ar t Cent e f rW om en r o and D evel pm ent o Locati n o J fna/Col m bo af o Year of Reasons f r st r i g w or o a tn k est blshm ent a i 1965/ 999 1 To cr at a f m iy ofar it and us ar as e e a l ts s e t a m eans ofbuidi g r l ti ns i s acr s l n ea o h p os et ni dif r nce. h c fe e Pr vi i g hum aniaran s r i es t o dn t i e vc o i di i ualw om en and f m ii s afect d by n vd a le f e t e confi t but l t rm oved t addr s i g h lc ae o e sn lc hum an rght is es i confi t i s su n To dealw ih t e r alti s ofl r e t h e ie ag popul ti ns ofdipl ced per ons a o s a s Thei com m uni i s w er diecty afect d r te e r l f e r t by t e confi t and ext em e pover y,and h lc w as get i g r pi l m iiars d t n a d y lt ie W e s ar ed w or i g on peace becaus w e t t kn e beleve t at t e com m uni i s w e w or i h h te k w ih ar diecty afect d by t e confi t t e r l f e h lc , becaus w e beleve i a polti al e i n ic s t l m ent t t e confi t and w e beleve e te o h lc i t at vi l nce agai s w om en ext nds fom h oe nt e r r t e hom e t t e count y. h o h Cam e t get ert fght agai s polti al o h o i nt ic sa e vi l nce by bot s at and non- t t oe h t e act r .I w as s t up on t e prnci l s of os t e h i pe r s ect rght t lf ,buid s ldart ep i o ie l o i iy am ong dif r nt et ni ,r lgi us and fe e h c ei o culur lgr ups pr m ot w om en' rght t a o , o e si s To w or fom w ihi t e M us i k r t n h lm com m uni i s and Il m i prnci l s t te sa c i p e o pr m ot peace,r s ect and w om en' o e ep s . em pow er ent m

J fna af

1988

Com m uniy Tr s t ut Fund D ii a Shakt i ry h W om en' s O r aniati n g s o Gale H um an Ri ht l g s Pr t cti n oe o O r aniati n g s o ( ot ers Fr nt M h ' o )

Put al m t a Pol nnar w a o u

1990 2000

Gale l

1987

M ot er and h s D aught r ofLanka es

N et or w k

1989

M us i W om en' lm s Res ar h and Acti n e c o For m u

Kal unai m / o Col m bo

1990/ 976 1

22

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

N am e of or ani ati n g s o
N ati nalPeace o Counci l

Locati n o
Col m bo o

Year of Reasons f r st r i g w or o a tn k est blshm ent a i


1995 St r ed by i t rr lgi us gr up of at n e -e i o o i di i ual and or aniati ns w ho n vd s g s o cam pai ned agai s el cti n vi l nce and g nt e o oe f ra per anent and peacef ls l ti n t o m u ou o o t e pr t act d confi t h or e lc . St r ed by cam pai ni g f ri f r ati n of at g n o nom o l ved ones m isng fom t e s curt o si r h e iy f r es oc . To r s ond t t e needs ofvul er bl ep o h n a e com m uni i s lvi g i 168 I P cam ps te i n n D To buid a s ci t t at s ppor s j s i e, l o ey h u t u tc equalt and a non- i l nt lf s yl by iy v o e ie t e usng non- i l nt com m uni ati n s il i vo e c o k ls To pr vi e r left t os w ho w er o d ei o h e e lc o dipl ced due t t e confi t and t s a o h pr t ct and pr m ot com m unalhar ony oe o e m i t e hilcount y. n h l r To r s ond t w om en' pr cti alneeds i ep o s a c n t e cam ps f rt e dipl ced and h o h s a o es o kn o i p e pr gr s ed t w or i g f rprnci l s of dem ocr cy,peace and w om en' rght a si s o O r anii g f r erw om en t dem and g sn a m t ei rght h ri s W or i g f rrght ofw om en w or er kn o i s k s To cr at a s ci t t at r s ect f m i it e e o e y h e p s e ns prnci l s prnci l s ofdem ocr cy and i pe, i pe a i s n c y n vd s hum an rght ,i w hi h ever i di i uali t eat d w ih di niy and t ei rght t r e t g t h ri o s l- et r i ati n i r s ect d. e fd e m n o s e p e W om en' net or es abls ed t cal f ra s w k t ih o lo polti als t l m ent t t e confi t i c e te o h lc

As oci ti n f rW ar s a o o Afect d W om en f e Pr j D ii a a a ry Padanam a Sam adanam

Kandy

2001

Put al m t a Kandy

2002 1993

Si hal Tam i Rur l n a l a W om en' s O r aniati n g s o Surya W om en' i s D evel pm ent Cent e o r

Trncom al e i e

1988/ 003 i 2 n Kant l ae

Bat i al a tc o

1991

U va W elas a Far er l s m W om en' s O r aniati n g s o W om en' Cent e s r W om en and M edi a Colecti e l v

M onar gal a a

1978

Ekal a Col m bo o

1982 1984

W om en f rPeace o

N et or w k

1984 -1999

23

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

TABLE 3 AREAS OF WORK The following table provides a rough outl ine of where the emphasis of surveyed work has been. These categories are not mutually exclusive and also d ifferent organisations identified their target groups using d ifferent descriptive terms. However it is still interesting to note that there

had been much work done at the community level working with women affected by confl ict, but quantitatively less targeting decisionmakers, leaders at community and d istrict levels, national pol icy making bod ies, med ia and pol itical parties.

Tar et gr ups g o Chidr n l e Yout h D ipl ced w om en s a W om en headed hous hol s e d Young w om en W om en i ' or er vil ges n b d ' la ' ow 'cas e w om en L t W om en pl nni g t ent r a n o e m ai s r am polti alpr ces es n te ic o s W om en w or er i f r aland k sn om i f r als ct r ( ex w or er ,fs er nom e os s k s ih w om en,f r erw om en,m i r nt am ga w or er ) k s W i ow s d O t erCBO s h W om en f ci g s eci lpr bl m s a n p a o e i cl di g vi l nce n u n oe Al et ni com m uni i s l h c te W om en fom al et ni com m uni i s r l h c te O t erN G O s h V il ge and dit i t l vell ader la s rc e e s Relgi us l ader i o e s M edi a D it i t net or s s rc w k G over m ent and polti alpar i s n ic te Tr de uni ns a o

Fr quency e X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X

X X X X X X X X X X X X

X X X X X X X X X

X X X X X

X X X X X

X X

24

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

4.1. Womens peace activism in the 1980s Linking peace work with socio-economic rights One trend that became apparent through this mapping is that womens peace activism took place along side their activism for social and economic change. The Sinhala Tamil Rural Womens Organisation, a membership based organisation, was originally set up to respond to the d isplacement of famil ies due to the confl ict, and then later started working on community development, micro cred it, health and nutrition, sexual and reproductive rights, environment and peace. In its involvement in the pol itics of everyday l ife, STRWN has taken on issues as d iverse as the import of potatoes, construction of a new hydro power plant and the rise of identity pol itics in the d istrict (Tambiah, 2002 p.460). As d iscussed earl ier, the STRWN attempted to contest local government elections as a womenonly pol itical party in 1999. However, what was clear was that their work on socio-economic empowerment of communities was closely l inked with addressing issues of violence and

Sri Lanka Women for Peace and Democracy demonstration at Lipton Circus on International Peace Day, 2007

confl ict. For example, from 2005 onwards their programmes combined working with widows and women headed households, famil ies affected by the tsunami d isaster and famil ies l iving in poverty along with having language classes, sharing of experiences across communities, trainings and awareness raising programmes on the ethnic confl ict and peace. De Mel (2001) documents the work of the Womens Development Foundation, which grew out of the Progressive Womens Front which started in 1982. The Progressive Womens Front began organising farmer women in the Monaragala District to campaign against the water tax and also provide preschool facil ities for women working in the sugar plantations. However they also started d iscussing issues of oppression, violence against women and the confl ict and started visiting women pol itical prisoners in the Anuradhapura Prison. After the 1983 riots the women worked on rebuild ing relationships between the Sinhala and Tamil communities in their area. The Womens Development Foundation publ ished a monthly journal Athwela which regularly carried articles by women call ing for the end to the ethnic confl ict and the need for a

25

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

negotiated pol itical settlement. They also highl ighted the experiences of women l iving in the confl ict areas. The Progressive Womens Front used cultural exchange though street theatre especially between 1984 and 1985, as a means of d iscussing issues of oppression, d iscrimination and ethnic bias (De Mel, 2001). The Uva Wellassa Farmer Womens Organisation also primarily worked with women farmers in the Monaragala District. Poverty was common in the d istrict and was considered to be one of the most underdeveloped d istricts in the country. Poverty had pushed many young men in the d istrict to join the mil itary and be sent to the frontl ines. There had also been attacks on villages l iving in the border areas with the Eastern d istrict, where the LTTE had been active (De Mel, 2001). The organisation had close l inks with MIRJE, and therefore was a part of the peace campaigns that was organised by MIRJE. They were involved in supporting famil ies who were d isplaced due to the 1983 riots and also the many famil ies who were affected by the violence between 1987 and 1989 due to the JVP insurrection and government counter insurgency activities. Some of the farmer women had their fathers killed and sons d isappeared during this time, and these experiences had led them into publ ic activism (Barry, 2004). In 2003, UWFWO was involved in d iscussions with another five womens organisations from Jaffna, Akkaraipattu, Batticaloa and Monaragala, where there was a sharing of experiences, a d iscussion on

strategies for peace activism and exploration of strategies for enhancing womens contribution to peace processes. The Womens Centre in Ekala focused mainly on rights of women workers in the factories. However, apart from their work in promoting rights of women workers, they also recognised the importance of assisting women who have been affected by the confl ict. After the ethnic riots in 1983, The Womens Centre assisted 10 famil ies by rebuild ing their homes that were burnt during the riots. They also provided shelter and security to two Tamil famil ies during the riots. They engaged in awareness raising and d iscussions on the ethnic confl ict because they also felt that all women workers should be aware of the confl ict. The Womens Centre has networked and built l inks with women workers in factories in the East and in the Estate sector. As women workers they have also used street theatre as a med ium through which they can d iscuss problems of women workers and problems related to the confl ict. 4.2. Movement politics and identity politics If civil society is the space, or context, in which people can organise to promote peace, the concepts of social movement..... describe the forms for such organisation.....A social movement can be defined as organisations, groups of people and individuals who act together to bring about transformation in society (Kaldor, 2003: 82 in Orjuela, 2004, p.59) Apart from working as ind ividual organisations (as d iscussed in the previous section), the 1980s saw the coming together of womens coal itions against the war. One of the first such womens coal itions to be formed around the national question was the Womens Action Committee (WAC). This coal ition comprised of women from trade unions and women organised by the Womens Centre and the Dabindu Collective both working in the Greater Colombo Economic Commission Area in which the first Export Processing Zone of Sri Lanka was situated. The WAC also brought together women from

Newspaper advertisement by Sri Lanka Women for Peace and Democracy, 2005

26

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

plantation womens groups, the Womens Study Circle in Jaffna, womens organisations working among the peasantry, church based womens groups, women writers and academics (Samuel, 2007). Originally they came together to show sol idarity to the women from the Polytex Garments who were on strike demand ing trade union membership, a higher wage and a Christmas bonus. However, they later had publ ic demonstrations demand ing the repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act 1979, the release of Nirmala Nithiyanandan the first Tamil woman pol itical prisoner and equal wages and citizenship rights for Tamil plantation workers. At the national level, the coal ition engaged in publ ic activities centred around International Womens Day, International Human Rights Day and International Labour Day. At the community level the d ifferent groups had d iscussions, awareness raising and inter ethnic interactions (Samuel, 2006; De Mel, 2001). The WAC provided a space for d iscussion on pol itical issues such as national l iberation, womens l iberation and feminism. Also, as (2007) has noted, the conceptual underpinnings behind the work of WAC l inked the ethnic confl ict and pol itics of violence to the deterioration of democracy and its consequences for all communities. The WAC was committed to the right of self determination for minorities and was against the establ ishment of non democratic structures and the abuse of state power. In other words, the nature and objective of peace work of WAC was strongly pol itical. It was, therefore, one of the most broad-based groups of the time. It organised several workshops, campaigns and lobbying strategies linking womens rights to human rights, with the ultimate goal of establishing a far-reaching democratic culture within Sri Lanka. (De Mel, 2001, p.237) However, the pol itical base of the work of WAC meant that it faced much hostil ity and attacks as well. For example, WAC welcomed the attempt to a negotiated solution to the ethnic confl ict through the Indo-Lanka peace accord in 1987. This meant that many of the women were then

Newspaper advertisement by women - May, 2006

27

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

targeted by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) and had to go into hid ing and leave their villages as the JVP was strongly opposed to the Ind ian intervention in Sri Lanka (Samuel, 2007; De Mel 2001). The WAC reconstituted itself into a broader coal ition called Mothers and Daughters of Lanka in the face of JVP terror and counter terror by the State in 1989 and continues its activism for a negotiated pol itical solution to the ethnic confl ict. Motherhood identity pol itics Mobil ising outside conventional pol itical forums to challenge the state(Tambiah, 2002, p.21) In Sri Lankas recent history, women have mobil ised to respond to pol itical violence that have d irectly affected them. This was most powerfully seen in the mobil isation of mothers in Jaffna in 1984 after over 800 Tamil youth were rounded up in Velvettiturai and transported to the South (Samuel, 2003). Samuel notes that this was the first time that motherhood had been invoked to demand accountabil ity and protection against violence from the state. The common experience of the men in their famil ies

being taken away and their moral authority to voice their anger as mothers allowed for these women to come together across d ifferent pol itical views and classes. The Northern Mothers Front had l inks to the womens groups in the South, particularly those associated with the Womens Action Committee and the WAC maintained these l inks raising the issue of rape by the security forces for the first time in 1984 in support of the campaigns of the Northern Mothers Front. The WAC also took up the call for the release of Tamil pol itical prisoners and worked closely with the Movement for Inter Racial Justice and Equal ity, the Campaign for the Release of Pol itical Prisoners and Women for Peace, a broad coal ition of women call ing for a pol itical solution to the ethnic confl ict establ ished in 1984 raising the concerns of the northern mothers call ing for the release of their loved ones detained or d isappeared by the security forces. While the protests took the form of letter writing, the issuing of statements, street demonstrations and pickets, Women for Peace played a crucial role in provid ing legal assistance and support to famil ies of detenues through their work in the prisons and with the family members of the detained (Samuel, 2006). The Southern Mothers Front was formed in 1990 in Matara, again by women who had had family members d isappeared by the state and JVP. The Southern Mothers Front had leadership from women l ike Dr. Manorani Saravanamuttu whose son Richard de Soyza was assassinated during this time. She tried to keep the focus of the Mothers Front to be peace seeking and non partisan. Make no mistake, our aim is peace, our method is peaceful. We have wept alone and come together for comfort. From this has arisen our desire to collectively seek peace in our country words of Dr. Saravanamuttu at a pubic gathering (Samuel, 2003, p. 170). The Southern Mothers Front was very powerful and had a broad based membership of famil ies who were affected by the 1987-89 brutal violence in the South4. Key pol iticians were also associated with the movement. For example,

International Peace Day Activity, Mothers & Daughters of Lanka

28

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

Publications by National Peace Council

Women and Media Collective Celebrating International Peace Day, 2007

Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Mangala Samaraweera were all key champions of human rights and supporters of the mothers of the d isa ppeared at the time (De Mel 2001, Samuel 2003). The women not only used mainstream pol itical activism with statements and pol itical meetings but also used unconventional means such as appeal ing to the gods (Kannalawwas), collectively cursing perpetrators at temples and going on marches (Padayatras). Movements such as the Southern Mothers Front led to the election of Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga as President, who came to power promising peace and the establ ishment of d isappearances commissions to investigate the violations during the bheeshana samaya (reign of terror). Famil ies received compensation but there was no substantive justice in terms of prosecutions of the perpetrators. Perera-Rajasingham (2005) in her paper Resisting Violence : The Politics of Motherhood in the East also speaks of the gendered activism of women within the space of motherhood and how they have been resisting the atrocities of civil war, where children were conscripted by mil itant groups. She notes instances of ind ividual and collective action such as d ialogues and mass protests, against forced conscription of young children in the Eastern Province. Women have also taken on pol itical activism after their sons and husbands went missing while working for the security forces in the current

confl ict. Again, their identity as mothers and wives of sold iers enabled them to step into publ ic space and into activism. When the ceasefire agreement was signed between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE in 2002, these women lobbied for the release of prisoners of war hoping to find their loved ones. The Association of War Affected Women was formed at this time. They made l inks with mothers from Jaffna who had their children d isappeared due to the confl ict. AWAW organized a demonstration, in Colombo, with the Guard ians Association for the Disappeared in Jaffna that brought together famil ies of sold iers missing in action with famil ies of the d isappeared in the North, to demand for information about the missing and the d isappeared5. The quest for find ing their loved ones or information about what happened to them was intertwined with calls for the end of war, pushing for a negotiated settlement and the respect of the Geneva Conventions (Barry, 2005, Orjuela 2004). 4.3. Peace building and peace making - dealing with the everyday realities of conflict When interviewing Diriya Shakthi Womens Organisation6 the interviewer asked the question why is it important for your organisation to work on peace. They repl ied with many examples of their day to day battles to prevent their communities and homes being mil itarised. They had also made the conceptual l ink that the increased mil itarisation in their communities had led to the increase in domestic violence within their homes, and sexual ised violence in their communities.

29

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

They were able to stop a mil itant group from recruiting 5 young boys from their village. They had been going from house to house and having small meetings with parents groups to create awareness about the dangers of send ing young children to join armed groups and the home guard. They protested as a village when the security forces in the area demanded that two persons from each home should come for guard duty to their camps. The women from this organisation noted the increase in child marriages sometimes girls as young as thirteen were marrying young men from the home guard. There was an increase in sex work - for example there were two sex workers in 2005, but in 2007 there were eight women working as sex workers in that village. The use of pornographic films by the security forces and home guards has also been l inked to the sexual abuse of women and young girls in the villages. They noted the increase in poverty, the fact that young women were abandoned with children, the lack of access to proper health care and education facil ities as contributing factors to womens vulnerabil ity. Due to these real ities they were working to prevent the mil itarisation of their homes and communities and voicing their resistance to war. When l iving in confl ict contexts, womens groups have had to use innovative means to address the consequences of war. Suriya Womens Development Centre (Suriya), for example, has been working with womens groups at the community level in promoting their local l ivel ihoods as a means of creating a space

Staff of Women and Media Collective preparing for International Peace Day, 2007

for the women to come together and share experiences and create awareness about socio pol itical concerns includ ing respond ing to domestic violence, articulating womens concerns about peace, and helping women who have had family members d isappeared or killed to access help and legal assistance. Though Suriya Womens Development Centre started by meeting the very practical rel ief needs of d isplaced women and have continued to do this again and again when communities have been d isplaced due to confl ict and the tsunami d isaster, Suriya has also been clear about articulating strategic concerns and rights alongside this work. This has included call ing for the inclusion of women in decision-making bod ies at the local and d istrict level, lobbying for the recognition of women as co-heads of households and canvassing for the recognition of womens right to land in resettlement processes. In the early 1990s, many of the humanitarian interventions in the Batticaloa District conceptual ised women as destitute, down trodden, victims, poor and interventions took a very welfarist approach. At the time, Suriya had many d iscussions and raised awareness at the community and d istrict level about the importance of not looking at women as only victims but as ind ividuals with rights and agency. Organisations such as Musl im Womens Research and Action Forum have been working from within the Musl im communities and Islamic principles to promote peace, respect and womens empowerment. For example, they

Empowerment program of Women Forum Members by Community Trust Fund

30

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

been d isplaced; and through these programmes they work towards peace. Their aim has been to l ink peace work to poverty alleviation work in Jaffna. Similarly Praja Diriya Padanama and Community Trust Fund, which both work in Puttalam, carry out development work such as constructing publ ic build ings, provid ing housing and l ivel ihood assistance along with forming village level peace committees to build co-existence between Tamil, Sinhala and Musl im communities in the area. Praja Diriya Padanama also works on environmental concerns as the real ities of d isplacement and large IDP camps has taken a toll on the host communities, their environment and resources. Their work with d isplaced communities has been from a rights perspective and not merely as welfarist rel ief work. De Mel (2001) documents the changing power relations and patriarchal controls on women when confl ict destabil ises existing social systems. Though confl ict has caused immense suffering, it has also provided spaces for women to take on leadership roles in the community, become heads of households, have increased mobil ity and become economically independent. She describes these spaces as transformative, and identifies the challenge for the womens movement to build on what has been empowering for these women. Skill building in non violent confl ict resolution and confl ict handl ing - Samadanam which started working in 1993 aims to build the capacities of community groups to resolve d isputes and confl icts in a non violent manner

Group discussion at a Peace Programme, Center for Women and Development, Jaffna

supported women to come forward to talk about their experiences of confl ict and demand for an end to the war. Initially, the men from these communities were opposed to women speaking in publ ic (to men) about pol itical topics such as the need for peace. There was much opposition from the mosque committees. MWRAF worked with the mosque committees creating gender awareness and awareness raising as to why women have the legitimacy to talk about peace in their communities. They also influenced the curricula taught at madrasas and included components on learning about other communities. MWRAF have supported the creation of Hindu cultural societies, Buddhist societies and Christian societies and formed an inter rel igious group in Ampara in 2007. They work with school children where they support the local Maulavi to go and speak about Islamic culture and rel igion in the Tamil schools and vice versa. They also run a pre school in the border of a Musl im and Tamil village so that children from both communities attend this school and this enables the children to be friends with each other and the parents from the d ifferent communities also to interact. Linking peace work with development work The Centre from Women and Development working in Jaffna also has a hol istic conceptual isation of peace work. Their work supports women who have experienced violence in the home by provid ing legal assistance and they have l ivel ihood support programmes for famil ies l iving in poverty and those who have

Womens Peace Camp organized by Centre for Performing Arts, 2005

31

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

Peace Programmes for youth By Centre for Performing Arts, 2008

through d iscussions in a neutral space. They have been training rel igious leaders, med ia personnel, government officers, students and women leaders to be able to facil itate non violent confl ict resolution at the community level and form networks of non violent facil itators across communities. 4.4. Addressing issues of justice As gendered violence in the Sri Lankan war became one of its marked features with the 1996 rapes and murders of schoolgirl Krishanthi Kumaraswamy and 22year-old Rajani Velauthapillai at the Chemmani and Kondavil military checkpoints in Jaffna respectively; of Ida Carmelita in 1999, and the custodial rapes and torture of two women in Mannar in 2001, womens groups joined forces as a vigil coalition, issued statements of protest and demanded swift justice (Kois 2001 in Options 2001:17 in De Mel, 2007 p.278). The Vigil Coal ition had regular silent demonstrations in Colombo asking for a speedy investigation and justice for the Krishanthi Kumaraswamy case. There was a signature campaign and lobbying with international human rights organisations and Foreign Governments. The cumulative impact of the lobbying and publ ic demonstrations was that the five sold iers and pol icemen accused in the case were found guilty of rape and murder (Samuel, 2006). However, this was a rare occasion on which there

has been any legal justice for crimes again women in confl ict in Sri Lanka and even this process was flawed. Other organisations have also been involved in provid ing support for women who have faced sexual violence in confl ict contexts. They have provided safe houses, counsell ing, material support, med ical help and legal help. For example, Women in Need was establ ished in 1987 to provide shelter, psychosocial support and legal help for women who have experienced violence, and Women for Peace which worked with pol itical prisoners, facil itating legal assistance, family visits, shelter and transport for famil ies was also very active in the Vigil Coal ition; the Suriya Womens Development Centre also provides legal, material and psychosocial support to women who have experienced violence in confl ict. Legal and Constitutional work - In 1996, the Women and Media Collective coordinated a consultation with Coomaraswamy on legislation that would lead to a domestic violence bill in Sri Lanka (Options 1999: 17-18 in De Mel, 2007). National organisations such as the Women and Med ia Collective (WMC) have been involved in legal reform processes such as the above mentioned campaign that resulted in the enactment of domestic violence legislation. The WMC also participated in the drafting of the 1997 draft constitution advocating for womens rights and a chapter on socio-economic rights. The Collective has also been advocating for affirmative action to increase womens representation in Parl iament and in Provincial and local government since 1994. It continued

Peace activists at adiscussion, Center for Women and Development, Jaffna

32

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

critically challenge socio-pol itical developments and cultural practices. Women and Med ia Collective produced Sinhala productions of pol itical plays such as Death of a Maiden(1998) and Bernardo Alba. Organisations such as the Suriya Womens Development Centre had their own womens theatre group who produced street theatre such as Mattunagar Kannakikal(1998) and Wind as Witness(2003) which d iscussed the impact of war on women and also d iscussed the continuum of violence where even when there were talks between the confl icting parties violence against women and communities continued with abductions, kill ings and recruitment of children. These plays also d iscussed the social stigma on women who have experienced violence or who were widowed and called for the change in social attitudes and cultural practices that impinged on womens rights. The Centre for Performing Arts (CPArts) works with young people from d ifferent ethnic groups and use theatre as a med ium for interactions between Sinhala, Tamil and Musl im young people. The theatre groups from d ifferent towns visit each other and l ive in each others homes. They also have theatre camps for children and young people from d ifferent ethnic groups and focus on training women actors to take on leadership roles. For example, CPArts organised an exhibition and demonstration Women

Relief Distribution to Conflict Affected Districts, Centre for Performing Arts, 2007

this work proactively in the period following the appointment of a Parl iamentary Select Committee on Electoral Reform in the 2006, making submissions before the Select Committee together with the International Centre for Ethnic Stud ies and the Musl im Womens Research and Action Forum and actively lobbying Parl iamentarians for a womens quota and electoral reforms to put in place checks and balances to deal with the culture of electoral violence and malpractice. 4.5. Creating alternative discourses and spaces through cultural mediums and mainstream media Many of the organisations and womens groups used theatre, street theatre, Kavi madu, rad io programmes, community rad io, main stream med ia, film and songs to create alternative spaces and d iscourses to d iscuss the real ities of confl ict. Some organisations that work at the national level such as the National Peace Council and Women and Med ia Collective d irectly work with national level med ia outlets sponsoring talk shows, having advertising campaigns, send ing statements to the newspapers, participating in talk shows and news programmes. Organisations also publ ish their own newsletters and journals as well, such as Samakali publ ished by Women for Peace, Shakthi, Dharini, Madya Nirikshaka, Options, Eya, Sol publ ished by the Women and Med ia Collective, and Penn publ ished by Suriya Womens Development Centre. These publ ications provide an alternative space to raise womens voices and

Inetrnational Peace Day March by Sri Lanka Women for Peace and Democracy, 2006

33

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

Towards a New Age in Panadura in 2007 which focussed on the work and achievements of woman actors who have been a part of CPArts. 4.6. Networking

Almost all the organisations interviewed were part of broader networks both nationally and internationally. The following table traces some of these networks. Networking has been a key strategy that has been used by womens groups and organisations to make their work more effective and strategic. Being a part of a network also provides protection for ind ividual organisations and ind ividual men and women when raising human rights concerns and issues of violence during the war. Networks have also provided opportunities for organisations and ind ividuals to access information, have exposure to d ifferent experiences nationally and internationally and learn about other strategies and to build capacity to respond to situations of confl ict and peace build ing. For example, in 2003 and 2004, The Mothers and Daughters of Lanka worked at d istrict levels to create awareness among women about the importance of getting involved in national level pol itical processes, in particular within the on-going peace process. Some of the national organisations have been facil itating networks for many years. For example, the Women and Med ia Collective has

Womens activist commemorating 4th Anniversary of the Cease Fire Agreement, Colombo 2006

been involved in WAC, Women for Peace, Mothers and Daughters of Lanka, Sri Lanka Women for Peace and Democracy, and the Sri Lanka Womens NGO Forum. The National Peace Council has sector wide networks for med ia, rel igious leaders, pol iticians, youth and trade unions. However networking has also not been free of deep d ivisions due to the d ifferences of the principles of engagement in peace work. Some of the womens organisations engaged in peace work have engaged in mainstream pol itics and also had built up relationships with the LTTE. This however placed a crucial challenge for womens groups and networks which had been engaged in peace work along the principles of justice, democracy and peace (Such as the Mothers and

Peace Rally on International Peace Day by Sri Lanka Women for Peace and Democracy, 2006

34

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

N am e ofor ani aton g s i 2001 1965/ 999 1 W om en' P eace A lance s l i

Locaton i

N et or s w k o / i l cal natonal

i N et or s l cal natonal w k o /

N et or s I t r atonal w k ne n i i W om en W agi g P eace,W om en Thrve n W ord W i e,W I C O M P ,S A FH R ,I R C l d S C A V IA ussi V ol nt er I t r atonal e u e s nen i , Y or U ni er iy C anada k v st S out A si P eace S A A R C com m it e h a te

A ssoci ton f rW arA fect d K andy ai o f e W om en

C ente f rP eror i g A rs r o f m n t

Jafna/ f C ol m bo o 1988 1990 C H A ,W om en' P eace A lance,N atonalP eace s l i i l C ounci

35
2000 S ar odaya D i ti tnet or ,ZO A ,S r Lankan v s rc w k i W om en f rP eace and D em ocr cy,W ord S ol art o a l i iy d ai O r ani aton,C ol ctve f rB ui i g C ooper ton g s i l i o e ln d bet een E t ni G r ups w h c o M ovem entt P r t ctD em ocr tc R i ht o oe ai g s G al H um an R i h=-t N et or l e g -s w k H as a m em ber hi of36 or ani atons,S r Lanka s p g s i i S angat A P W LD , W om en f rP eace and D em ocr cy,A nt W arFr nt o a i o , ai g s M ovem entt P r t ctD em ocr tc R i ht o oe N et or f rS ust i abl C om m uniy D evel pm ent w k o an e t o ( 43 or ani atons i t e E ast g s i n h ) u D i ti tnet or s ( 18) ,P eopl ' For m ( 12) s rc w k es M edi net or ,poli i ns net or ,yout net or , a w k ic a t w k h w k r l i us net or ,tade uni n net or ei o g w k r o w k 1987 1989 1990 1995

o S ar odaya,S E D E C ,C art s S r Lanka,C eyl n v ia i B i l S oci t ,W or shop P l yer ,H U D E C , be ey k a s U N I EF C

C ente f rW om en and r o D evel pm ent o

Jafna f

C om m uniy Tr stFund t u

P utal m t a

C H A P utal m ,V anniC ulur lFoundaton,N atonal A m an A si Thai nd,A M D A I t r atonal a l a nen i t a t a i i C hrstan C ounci Jam aih t ulU l m a,A m an S r ii l , t h a i Japan, C om m it e f rA si n W om en te o a Lanka,N P C ,C P A ,I FO R M ,LS T N Thai nd.For m A si ,G l balP eace l a u a o M i si n -M al ysi ,Japan C ente f r s o a a r o h a u C onfi tP r venton,S out A si For m l c e i f rH um an R i ht ,S out A si f rH um an o g s h a o R i ht -P aki t n g s sa

D ii a S hakt iW om en' ry h s O r ani aton g s i

P ol nnar o u wa

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

G al H um an R i ht l e g s P r t cton O r ani aton oe i g s i ( M ot ers Fr nt h ' o )

G al l e

M ot er and D aught r of h s es Lanka

N et or w k

M usl W om en' R esear h i m s c and A cton For m i u

K al unai m

W om en Li i g U nderM usl Law vn i m

N atonalP eace C ounci i l

C ol m bo o

N am e ofor ani aton g s i


2002

Locaton i

N et or s w k o / i l cal natonal

N et or s l cal natonal w k o / i

N et or s I t r atonal w k nen i

P r j D ii a P adanam a a a ry

P utal m t a

36
1993 N atonalP eace C ounci i l C B O net or s and di ti tnet or ofS TR W N w k s rc w k W om en' C oali n f rD i ast rM anagem ent s io o t s e B ati al a,W om en and M edi C ol ctve,W e tc o a l i e W om en,S LW N G O F,I FO R M ,C P A N U va N et or f rP eace and D evel pm ent N TT w k o o , M ot er and D aught r ofLanka, h s es S r Lanka W om en f rP eace and D em ocr cy, i o a S LW N G O F,M W R A F,P ol nnar w a D i ti t o u s rc W om en' C om m it e,W e W om en s te S angat A P W LD , 1991 1978 1984 1984 -1999 1982 s i te M I JE ,W om en' A cton C om m it e R M ot er and D aught r ofLanka,W om en f r h s es o P eace,S r Lanka W om en f rP eace and i o a D em ocr cy

C H A P utal m ,G A ofi e,G over m entand N G O t a fc n t a l h p s n or ani atons P utal m ,W i ot a W om en' S avi gs g s i C ente,C om m uniy D evel pm entS er i e r t o vc C ol m bo,W om en and M edi C ol ctve,M ot er o a l i e h s N C and D aught r ofLanka,I FO R M ,FLI T,C H A es C ol m bo,W S G C ol m bo,I A D R C ol m bo,I M , o o M o O C EPA kn A si n P eace and H um an R i ht W or i g a g s G r up,G l balO r ani aton f rN on o o g s i o V i l nce oe

S am adanam

K andy

S i hal Tam i R ur l n a l a W om en' O r ani aton s g s i

e Trncom al - 1988/ 003 i i 2 n e K ant l ae

S urya W om en' i s D evel pm entC ente o r

B ati al a tc o

U va W el ssa Far er l a m W om en' O r ani aton s g s i

M onar gal a a

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

a W om en and M edi C ol ctve l i e

C ol m bo o

N orh E astN et or I di ,S out A si ns t w k n a h a f rH um an R i ht ,I R A W I t r atonal o g s W nen i W om en' R i ht A cton W at h,P eace s g s i c W om en acr ss t e G l be,I t r atonal o h o nen i s i A l r,I t r atonalW om en' Trbune et nen i C ente,D A W N D evel pm ent r o A ler atves w ih W om en f ra N ew E r t n i t o a

W om en f rP eace o

N et or w k

W om en' C ente s r

E kal a

C om m it e f rA si n W om en, te o a Ti A si ,H um an R i ht C ounci e a g s l G eneva

Daughters of Lanka), as they viewed the d irect engagement with the LTTE alongside pol itical parties and their agenda for negotiations, as compromising the principles of womens peace activism7. There needs to be some reflection on these experiences so as to better prepare for and plan the cond itions, on which womens groups and organisations would engage with mainstream peace negotiations and pol itics in the future. 4.7. International advocacy and lobbying

knowledge generation done on the connections of gender, poverty and confl ict; womens reproductive health in confl ict contexts; womens land rights, on gender based violence in Musl im communities; on mil itarisation; female headed households; empowerment and agency during confl ict. 4.9. Memories and history

Another strategy used by some of the organisations was international level lobbying and advocacy. This work was done through international networks that womens groups were a part of (see above table). Some other examples include the facil itation of an International Womens Mission with prominent international womens rights actors to document the situation and provide recommendations for the Sri Lankan government on includ ing women and gender concerns in the peace process. More recently womens groups engaged with a broader range of civil society organisations to compile submissions to the Universal Period ic Review Process of the UN on womens concerns on peace build ing. Womens groups have also come together to prepare shadow reports for the CEDAW Committee and at present there is an initiative to incorporate concerns on women and confl ict into the NGO Shadow Report to CEDAW. The Sri Lanka Womens NGO Forum, the Centre for Womens Research, and the Women and Med ia Collective, have respectively taken the lead in preparing the Shadow reports over the years. The Women and Med ia Collective coord inated a visit by womens groups to Sri Lankan refugees in Chennai to document and advocate for the inclusion of Tamil refugee concerns in the peace process. 4.8. Research and theorising

One of the most important aspects of peace work that has been done by the womens movement in Sri Lanka, that has been rarely done by other organisations, has been keeping memories and histories al ive. For example, in 1993 womens organisations were part of the MIRJE initiative to organise the Freedom from Fear campaign which was in memory of the loss of l ife of Rajini Thiranagama and Richard de Soyza and many other deaths and kill ings due to violence, and the challenges against democratic principles. They were used as symbols to campaign against the terror of the state and the LTTE in arresting, d isappearing and extra jud icially executing civil ians. Also in 1999 several events were held to commemorate the 10th death anniversary of Rajini Thiranagama. This event was organised by a coal ition which included the Women and Med ia Collective, Mothers and Daughters of Lanka, UTHR(J), Movement for the Defence of Democratic Rights and the National Christian Council. There was participation of South Asian feminists at this event (De Mel 2001). Human rights activists braved heavy military presence and Emergency Rule to both commemorate and vindicate the assassinations of Rajini Thiranagama in Jaffna and Richard de Soyza in Colombo and used the symbolism of their lives, their struggles for justice and democracy and their brutal killings to launch the Campaign on Freedom from Fear with a march and rally commencing from the beach at Mt. Lavinia where Richards body was found. This was one of the first such struggles launched by the human rights community linking state and non state violence and violations of human rights. It was launched to

Womens groups and ind ividual feminists have also been involved in key research work that has guided peace build ing work in Sri Lanka. This report does not provide a review of the academic contributions to the field, though it has drawn on feminist conceptual isations for its analysis. However, to provide some examples, there has been very important theorising and

37

Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

link the demand for democracy with that of peace. Women mobilised in large numbers to support and participate in this campaign (Samuel, 2006, p.25). Neloufer De Mel has conceptual ised the importance of memory and testimony for feminist peace build ing work in her book Militarising Sri Lanka: Popular Culture, Memory and Narrative in the Armed Conflict (2007). Though this report does not explore in detail her theoretical contributions, it draws attention to some aspects of her d iscussion, for example, that testimony is important to remember those who d id not survive violence and also to give voice to experiences of women whose l ives have been hidden from official accounts of history. De Mel describes the video archiving of stories from 54 women as a means of not forgetting people and events that have taken place. These are the well documented examples, but there are many such commemorative events, publ ications and small ceremonies which have been held in quiet ways by womens groups over the years to remember and mourn massacres, the 1983 riots, d isappearances, rapes and kill ings, and abductions of children. 4.10. Working from within involvement with government initiatives Most of the national level peace work of the womens groups and NGOs d iscussed in the paper has been from outside the mainstream pol itical and governing processes. However, it is important to note here that at a local and d istrict level womens groups and organisations have been working with decision-making bod ies to respond to the real ities of confl ict, d isplacement and violence. In analysing the l iterature of mainstream peace build ing, there are two instances documented where human rights and womens rights groups attempted to work with the government in its efforts to bring about a peaceful resolution to the confl ict. One was the work done by the Sudu Nelum movement and the peace caravan in 1997-1999, and the second, was the participation in the Sub Committee on Gender Issues within the Norwegian-facil itated peace

Consultation on Mapping of Womens Peace Activism organized by Women and Media Collective, 2008

negotiations in 2002. The Sudu Nelum movement was initiated under the Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga government to create awareness about the unity of Sri Lanka and its people, the recognition that there was an ethnic confl ict that needed to be solved, and the need for the devolution of power. This ran alongside other government initiatives such as the National Integration Programme Unit of the Ministry of Justice, Constitutional Affairs, Ethnic Affairs and National Integration. Though many human rights activists, includ ing womens groups became involved in this process, there was a move away from working with the government by 1998-1999 as the government launched a major war for peace at the same time. Similarly, though womens groups initially got involved in the peace negotiations of the UNP government with the LTTE post 2002, the fall ing-through of the negotiations and the change in government in parl iament placed at obstacle to the continuation of this work from within. Samuel (forthcoming 2008) documents the work of the Sub Committee on Gender Issues (SCGI) which was a mechanism establ ished as part of the peace negotiations in 2002. She notes that women d id negotiate norms of gender equal ity and citizenship and exercised agency in the Sri Lankan peace process even though formal peace making had marginal ised women (and the SCGI).

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Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

There have also been state welfare initiatives to provide support to widows of sold iers who have d ied or were missing in action in the confl ict. Two stud ies by Pathirana and Dissanayake (2004) and Wickremasinghe (2003) documents the work of Seva Vanitha, Ranawiru Sevana Authority (RSA) and Family Services Centre in provid ing counsell ing support and welfare to the widows. The RSA has also worked in collaboration with Sarvodaya in provid ing l ivel ihood support for widows. Dealing with the pressures of the LTTE and the state Orjuela (2004) documents the challenges and negotiations that NGOs have had to go through with the changing pol itical contexts where there have been moments of increased pressure from the LTTE on NGOs to join their development and pol itical work. The LTTE backed Tamil Rehabil itation Organisation controlled many of the local NGOs working in the areas controlled by them in terms of fund ing and type of work that was done. The LTTE exerted control over d istrict NGO consortia, through which all local NGOs had to report their work and their financial reports to the LTTE. Orjuela (2004) notes that during the ceasefire period there was non violent popular mobil isations in the North and East which were spearheaded by the LTTE such as hartals and sit ins usually around security interests of the LTTE such as mil itary violence and the removal of the High Security Zones, and cultural events such as Pongu Tamil which mobil ised students and community people in a large scale. When organisations refused to participate, they were threatened. Some of the organisations interviewed spoke of the d ifficulties in maintaining an independent focus when faced with the increased pressure of the LTTE, especially during the ceasefire period after 2002. For example in 2003 there was much pressure that all activities for the International Womens Day had to come under the activities of the LTTE and it was not possible to hold any independent events. Similarly the state has also put enormous pressure includ ing using violence to curtail the work of NGOs when there has been increasing

criticism of the state and its human rights record. Orjuela (2004) documents the state control of NGO work in the 1977-1994 period where there was a push for increased control of NGO fund ing and activities by the state, a sustained campaign to create suspicion of NGO activities as promoting western imperial ism, and personal threats against NGO workers includ ing the head of Sarvodaya in the early 1990s. The same phenomenon can be seen happening in the current context with a del iberate and strategic attack against NGOs but this time includ ing the UN and its systems, control of visas and registration processes for international organisations, Defence Ministry clearances for working in particular areas and personal threats, abductions and kill ings of NGO workers (Law and Society Trust, 2008). 4.11. Lobbying with key stakeholders to the formal peace process Welcoming the ceasefire at a publ ic rally in Colombo, marking International Womens Day on 8 March 2002, over 1000 women from the networks Mothers and Daughters of Lanka and the Sri Lankan Womens NGO Forum, comprising d ifferent ethnic groups, sectors and regions of the country called for a strengthening of the CFA and the commencement of peace negotiations. The Government and the LTTE were petitioned with the reminder, that an important feature of any agreements made during processes seeking to establ ish peace is that they must be transparent and inclusive of the concerns of civil ians. (Samuel, 2008) The Women and Med ia Collective, along with other womens networks carried out many initiatives such as lobbying for the inclusion of women and gender concerns in the peace process, all iance forming across ethnic groups, facil itating a multi ethnic, inclusive fact find ing mission to the North and East, carrying out advocacy work with the Norwegian facil itators, and lobbying with the bi-lateral and multi lateral donors to Sri Lanka for a womens mechanism to the peace process8. The work of Association of War Affected Women has also been on similar l ines (see above).

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Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

Conclusion

n this conclud ing section, this paper draws on the interviews and l iterature to identify challenges that were mentioned by those interviewed, for womens peace activism. 5.1 Threats and challenges the sociopolitical context In the current context, some of those interviewed had been facing intimidation and pressure from the mil itary, from sections of the pol ice and pol iticians, from mil itant groups, pol itical parties such as the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, Jathika Hela Urumaya as well as other Sinhala extremist groups includ ing Buddhist monks in the border areas. Some organisations have been labelled as tiger supporters because they work with Musl im and Tamil communities. Staff have sometimes been taken in for questioning under the new regulations which give a lot of power to the state. In the 1980s, organisations were labelled as CIA agents, whilst in the current context they are called LTTE supporters. At the community level, people have bel ieved the misinformation about the current pol itical context given in the med ia and are also very suspicious about NGO activities. People have also expressed a strong support to the war effort of the state, so womens groups stated that

working in this context has been very d ifficult. Even among women workers, it was becoming harder to get support for a negotiated settlement as feel ings of national ism were high. Those interviewed noted that within this context of a high level of intimidation and impunity to those who attack and threaten NGOs and civil society groups, there has been a growing polarization of communities. During the time period of this research there were two elections that took place in the East of Sri Lanka the Local Government Elections in Batticaloa on the 10th of March 2008, and the Provincial Council Elections for the Eastern Province on the 10th of May 2008. Though the Sri Lankan government claimed that these elections were democratic and were not marred by violence, local communities and womens groups working in the East noted the intimidation, threats, fear and suspicion that surrounded these elections. There were also very gendered manifestations of violence during this time which were not publ icised due to the extreme fear of communities and local womens groups working in the East. During this period during the week prior to the Local Government Elections, at least four women were abducted and one woman was raped.

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Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

5.3

Cultural barriers

Traning for Peace Volunteers in Puttlam District, Community Trunst Fund

Across the country, some of the organisations noted that when working across ethnic identities, it had been d ifficult to have a sustained involvement of d ifferent ethnic groups when the pol itical context had been unpred ictable and volatile. It took years to change the attitude of suspicion and mistrust across ethnic identities, especially as communities l ived the real ities of poverty and confl ict on a day to day basis. In the current context, there have been add itional challenges due to the increase in d isappearances and kill ings sometimes ethnically motivated - to create confl ict between communities. People l ived in extreme fear and suspicion. In this context, there has also been an increase in violence against women includ ing rapes and criminal activities as there is absolute impunity for perpetrators. 5.2 Mobility

Some of those interviewed noted that there has been l ittle encouragement at the community level for people to learn each others language and this was a challenge for community level peace build ing work. Womens groups and peace build ing NGOs were therefore engaged in provid ing opportunities for community womens groups to learn Sinhala and Tamil. There were also cultural restrictions identified that d id not allow for women and men to be involved in publ ic activities, and especially those which were seen to be pol itical. For example, The Centre for Performing Arts noted that within the Musl im communities it was a challenge to get young men and women involved in theatre and performances. It was also d ifficult for Musl im women to be involved in peace work in publ ic space due to gendered restrictions and control of womens mobil ity within their communities. 5.4 Funding

In the current context, organisations have been facing problems raising funds and were financially weak to carry out their work. This was a result of the lack of capacities to write proposals and have access to alternative fund ing sources on the one hand; but also due to fund ing organisations moving away from fund ing work seen as pol itically sensitive due to government attacks and controls on foreign donors. Some of those interviewed stated that fund ing was also largely dependent on personal contacts and those organisations and ind ividuals who d id not have these contacts found it d ifficult to sustain their work. Also within the peace build ing/confl ict resolution field often fund ing was more read ily provided to nationally based high-profile groups rather than regional or community based organisations that had a necessarily lower profile. One organisation stated that in the post tsunami context, fund ing shifted away from peace work to tsunami related work and that this made it hard to continue work.

Some of the challenges identified by organisations were practical issues when working in confl ict areas, such as the lack of resources, constraints to travel due to security restrictions (such as in Jaffna) and the risks involved for Tamil staff to travel outside the North and East (particularly for young men). Even organisations working in the South who had establ ished close l inks and friendships with communities in the North and East, described d ifficulties with travel to particular areas in the North and East.

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Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

Reflections and Recommendations


he section puts forward some recommendations based on the interviews and recommendations made by the participants at the publ ic presentation of the draft report on future peace build ing work by women in Sri Lanka. The reflections and recommendations have also been l inked to particular UN instruments namely UNSCR 1325 and CEDAW as a way of highl ighting how these UN instruments can be useful in future work in terms of women and peace build ing. 6.1 Assessing Impact

There has been much comment on why the peace movement in Sri Lanka cannot mobil ise as much support as the mainstream pol itical parties. Also there has been analysis of the impact of donor fund ing and NGOisation of social movements in weakening pol itical activism (Orjuela, 2004; Burke and Mulakala, 2005). Indeed, this report also notes the efforts made over the years by womens groups and the challenges they have faced in trying to mobil ise women for peace. This report does not explore the impact or effectiveness of specific interventions. As the various exemples in this paper illustrate,

womens groups have used d iverse strategies, which call for equally varied approaches to impact assessment. It is important to evaluate the strategies that have been used for example, the work towards increasing womens pol itical participation, the work done to build networks, or the publ ic advocacy and campaign work. Also it is important to note that though womens peace activism, specially in the 1980s and 1990s l inked peace work with socio-economic and pol itical rights, there would have been an impact of donor fund ing for stand-alone peace projects, on the work of womens organisations. This report in its l imited scale cannot fully explore this impact. It is hoped, however, that this paper may be useful to stimulate some future d iscussions about the impact of some strategies and possible future work in this field. Therefore a follow up study to this report could be a sensitively developed research process to assess the impact of womens peace activism in Sri Lanka. De Mel (2001, p. 12) argues, Feminist scholars have drawn attention to the fact that measuring the success of womens movements needs different yardsticks because

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Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

their composition and strategies are not necessarily orthodox. A womens movement comprises a range of womens organisations and networks encompassing womens wings of political parties, NGO coalitions, trade unions, academics and professional womens networks. They stand, at times in coalition, at times alone, for a diverse array of goals and strategies. They incorporate both middle class and working class groups. Some of them chose to work with the state while others do not. Their goals have not only been those of raising awareness, equal opportunities and gender justice, but also of employment generation, health, education, legal aid, community and slum development, consumer protection for women and cultural production. Thus, yardsticks such as membership numbers of the success of orthodox tactics of disorder such as public protests and demonstrations are not always the best gauge by which womens movements can be judged. Many womens organisations opt for working privately, away from public view. They do not keep written records of meetings, and in certain cultures depend more on informal networks and kinship groups rather than organised party or association membership. 6.2 Moving towards consolidating achievements of womens peace initiatives UNSCR 1325 Paragraph 8(b) - Recognising womens powerful day to day interventions in responding to conflict and promoting peace supporting and sustaining this work Given the history of activism in womens movements and the work of organisations documented above with their d iverse but significant gains and enormous challenges when the question is raised on why it is still important for NGOs to be involved in this work, we can find some powerful arguments in the

work of Tambiah (2002). She notes that NGOs provide a space for women to cultivate pol itical awareness and challenge various forms of d iscrimination from outside party-dominated spaces. NGOs can provide opportunities for women to take on leadership roles and develop leadership capabil ities which they can then use in their communities. Also womens movement pol itics provide alternative d iscourses and d iscursive spaces to articulate feminist visions and understand socio-pol itical real ities in a more complex way. NGOs also play a key role in supporting women who have decided to enter mainstream pol itical arenas in terms of raising issues from a gendered perspective and voicing alternatives to the hegemonic agendas of the state and extremist groups. The participants at the presentation of the draft report identified a d isconnect between those organisations who focus mainly on advocacy and lobbying work and those organisations provid ing case-by-case support to women, children and men. Therefore, there is a need to look back at moments when there was strong cohesion between these strands of work and drawing from that experience to strengthen conceptual and programmatic l inks between these two areas of work. This would provide more support for the locally based organisations d irectly working with communities as well as enrich the advocacy and lobbying work. The capacity and strength for womens groups to actively support ind ividual women or communities has to also be further strengthened with add itional skills and resources in terms of psycho socio- economic support, case management, documentation and supervision support. Questions were also raised as to whether adequate effort has been made by womens groups to sustain or consol idate the empowerment, social changes and challenges to patriarchal relations that have taken place due to the confl ict. There is a need to ensure that support systems and capacity have been built up to avoid local cond itions reverting to oppressive past form when confl ict ceases or changes. Many stud ies have analysed and documented the impact of NGOs and womens groups in

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Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

bringing about womens empowerment and leadership in conflict contexts9 Womens groups and organisations have provided independent spaces for women to develop pol itical awareness and leadership, to be able to challenge mil itarisation and war at their community level as well as nationally from outside mainstream pol itics, and have consistently voiced alternative d iscourses to the powerful mil itaristic, national istic and extremist d iscourses. Therefore these small but powerful initiatives need to be supported and strengthened so that womens voices and visions can influence publ ic d iscourse and any future pol itical negotiation to the confl ict. One of the important outcomes of this mapping process was that there was a serious and critical reflection about the work, by those who were part of it. In this vein, a key observation of those interviewed was that though womens groups have been working over a number of years within communities, keeping al ive the d iscussions and analysis of peace, democracy, justice and mil itarisation, these d iscussions have not been consol idated and effectively employed at strategic levels of intervention within the pol icy and pol itical spheres. There needs to be some creative thought on how this can be achieved. One possible first step in this regard would be to carry out research and d iscussions using feminist research methodologies with community women about their own day to day initiatives in responding to the confl ict and local level peace making, and their suggestions on how these responses could be translated into strategic level activism and action. An important area of future work that was identified was respond ing to the militarisation of communities, especially of the youth. This issue was raised by women working in confl ict areas and villages bordering confl ict areas. Mil itarisation was seen as a serious challenge to creating spaces for representation and voice. Therefore there needs to be collective reflection and strategising on how womens groups could respond to the mil itarisation of their communities and to collectively respond to state ideolo-

gies of war and mil itarisation through advocacy. 6.3 Building on and strengthening womens political participation UNSCR 1325 Paragraph 1, Paragraph 8(c) CEDAW Article 7a,b,c womens participation in political and public life, CEDAW GR 23 (1997) Political and public life, CEDAW GR 6 .,(2003) Effective national machinery and publicity Another area which was identified as requiring a greater and a sustained amount of work was womens pol itical participation especially at the local levels as peace making and peace build ing was seen as an inherently pol itical process10. Within this broader area of work some possible interventions identified were Creating a d ialogue with communities about womens pol itical participation and representation Creating awareness, supporting and empowering women to engage with mainstream pol itics Coming up with strategies on how womens groups could engage with any future peace process or pol itical negotiation process with a critical reflection on past experiences. This would then help guide the long and med ium term work towards build ing a constituency of women pol itical representatives. 6.4 Networks and networking UNSCR 1325 Paragraphs 1 womens representation in decision making, 8(b) supporting local womens initiatives, 8(c) protect rights of women and girls, 10 supportive work in responding to gender-based violence, CEDAW Article 2(c) mechanisms to provide legal redress and protect women working on human rights issues. When the draft report was presented, another key challenge identified by those present, was the lack of effective networks and the lack of capacity in networking of womens groups and

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Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

organisations. Some recommendations for further action which came up were A systematic reflection on current networking practices to learn from good examples and to create more effective networks which can respond to the needs of womens groups and organisations working in confl ict areas and peace build ing. The need for effective networking to respond to urgent human rights violations, violence against women, and threats to women workers, in terms of practical immediate support. To collectively work towards effective pol itical representation of womens rights in peace build ing.

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Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

Footnotes
1. The rationale for linking CEDAW to UNSCR 1325 is that these instruments complement each other and provide a platform for stronger lobbying with state and non-state actors. The Sri Lankan Government is a signatory to CEDAW and has been reporting on work done on issues of womens political participation, gender-based violence, women and health, women and education and womens rights in conflict. Sri Lankan womens groups and NGOs have also been submitting alternative reports to the CEDAW committee. Therefore there is potential which has not been fully utilised, for using CEDAW along with the UNSCR 1325 for more strategic interactions with the state. It should also be noted here that the new UNSCR 1820 which was adopted by the Security Council in June 2008, also deals with sexual violence in armed conflict and could be used in combination with the other UN instruments. 2. Other studies that document work done in Sri Lanka to promote womens political participation and womens experiences in participating in peace processes include - The Asia Foundation [TAF]. Collaborating Within and Across Borders to Advance Womens Political Participation. P.13-15. 1998 Annual Report- Economic Crisis in Asia: Meeting the Challenge. San Francisco; United Nations. Peace Process. P.53-72. Women, Peace and Security : Study submitted by the SecretaryGeneral pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000). New York. 2002; Taking 1325 to the Village : Association of War Affected Women[AWAW}, Ongoing. Resolution 1325 in Action. 15 November 2007. 1p. [Source http://www.peacewomen.org/ 1325inaction/ index.html; accessed on 8 February 2008]; Sivachandran, Saroja. Womens Participation in Peace Building. 3p. Expert meeting on Womens Human Rights under Armed Conflict, Kyoto (Japan), 14-15 September 1000. Tokyo, Asian Womens Fund. 2000; Ms. Selvadharshini Thevanesan Croos, (Sri Lanka). P.25 Women and Leadership : Voices for Security and Development : *Forum Report Ottawa, SAP. 2002; Muslim Womens Research and Action Forum (MWRAF). Enhancing Human Resource Pool and enabling Citizenship Activism for Muslim Women : Field-Level Workshops & Training. Puttalam, 21 April 2001 p. 11 Annual Report : January December 2001. Roundtable discussion on women and politics at the Women and Media Collective, 2008 June 23. 3 Samuel, Kumudini. Feminist Trends in the Womens Action Committee (WAC) 1982-1990, Masters Thesis, University of Colombo. 2007.

4. Other groups that worked with families who had loved ones disappeared during this period were the Organisation of the Families of the Disappeared and the Organisation of the Parents and Family Members of the Disappeared. 5. Personal communications with Sunila Abeysekera, INFORM Human Rights Monitor July 2008. 6. The Diriya Shakthi Womens Organisation was formed out of the Polonnaruwa District Womens Committee which was a committee of women voluntarily working in the border areas in the Polonnaruwa and Batticaloa Districts. 7 Personal communication with Sunila Abeysekera, INFORM Human Rights Monitor, July 2008. 8. For example the following documents refer to the inclusion of gender concerns and womens representation within the peace process which was a result of the lobbying and advocacy of womens groups Samuel, Kumudini (2008), Women in the Sri Lankan Peace Process: Included but Unequal, Institute for Human Rights, University of Deusto, Bilbao, Spain (forthcoming), Thiagarajah, Jeevan. SIHRN: Opportunities for Collaborating and Coordination: Summary of Presentation. [s.l]. February 2003. 4p. [Source http:// www.cpalanka.org; accessed on 4 January 2007]; Welcome opening for raising Gender Issues. 22 March 2003. [and] Sub-Committee on Gender Issues [SGI]. 8 March 2003. Daily News; Womens Journey Sri Lanka South Africa 2003. Womens Journey to Peace : Strengthening the Next Step Forward, Colombo, 30 January 2003 : Report from One day Workshop. 10p.; [http:// www.onlinewomeninpolitics.org/ beijing12/ women_peace_lk.doc ; accessed on 18/12/2007] ; Womens Concerns and the Peace Process : Recommendations of the International Womens Mission to the North East of Sri Lanka 12th to 17th October 2002. P. 40-44; notes. Pravada. Vol.8, No.

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Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

4. 2002; Post-Conflict and Transitional Participation. 1p. [s.l], International Knowledge Network of Women. [Source http:// www.iknowpolitics.org/ en/ taxonomy_menu/2/ 49?.page=10; accessed on 8 February 2008]. International Womens Mission to the North and East of Sri Lanka. Statement to Tokyo Donor Conference : Summary of Womens Concerns submitted at the *Tokyo Donor Conference. April 2003. 5p. 9 For example - Elek, Sophia. Choosing Rice over Risk : Rights, Resettlement and Displaced Women. Colombo, Centre for the Study of Human Rights (CSHR). 2003; Ruwanpura, Kanchana. Child Supporting Households: Views and Perceptions of Female Heads of Households o. P.93-144; tables; notes; ref. Poverty and Social Conflict in Sri Lanka: Integrating Conflict Sensitivity into Poverty Analysis. Ed. R. Asirwatham et al. Colombo, Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA) et al. 2004; Ruwanpura, Kanchana. Female hardship among Muslims in Eastern Sri Lanka: A Case of Changing Household Structures. P.1-17; tables; notes. Nivedini. Vol. 11. July/August 2004; UNICEF. Displaced Women: The Key Issues. P.12-24. The Gender Dimension of Internal displacement: Concept Paper and Annotated Bibliography. Prp. Judy A. Benjamin and Kadija Fancy. [s.l], Office of the Emergency Programmes Working Paper Series. New York, 1998; Hoffman, Claire. Community Participatory Family Planning and Reproductive Health with Internally Displaced Communities : Sri Lanka : p Findings on Reproductive health of Refugees and Displaced Population. [Washington D.C.,]. 5-6 December 2000. [Source http:// www.rhrc.org/ resources/ general_reports; accessed on 8 February 2008]; Kottegoda, Sepali. Gender Dimensions of Poverty in Sri Lanka. Colombo, Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA). 2004. 8p. (Briefing Paper Series: Poverty Brief 8 2004); Pathirana, Buddhiprabha [and] Dissanayake, Vishaka. Investigation of Problems and Coping Factors of War Widows in the South of Sri Lanka. 11p.; ref.; annex. CENWOR: 9th National Convention on Womens Studies, Colombo, 20-23 March 2004; CARE International. Capacity Building of Community based Organisations in Jaffna (CAB-JAFFNA). [s.l]. 23 June 2004. [Source http://www. careinternational.org.uk; accessed on 15 August 2004]; FORUT-Sri Lanka. Project Activities : Puttalam. [Colombo]. 2000. P.1. [Source http:// www.forut.lk; accessed on 12 April 2003]; Jaffna Diocese of the Church of South India [JDCSI]. Kiran

Widows Empowerment Project (KWEP). p.24; plates. JDCSI Annual Report and Case Analysis 1996-97. Batticaloa; Kasynathan, Nalini. Working with Women Refugees in Eastern Sri Lanka. P.24-26. Focus on Gender. Vol.1, No.2. June 1993; Kurukulasuriya, Lasanda. War Widows denied Land. Daily Mirror. 3 May 2002; Rajaratnam, Siron. The Role of Women in Non-Governmental Organisations in the Trincomalee District. 9p.; ref; annex. CENWOR: 4th National Convention on Womens Studies, Colombo, 3-6 March 1994; Ruwanpura, Kanchana. The Gender and Spatial Politics of NGOs : Spaces of subversion and sites of reinforcement. 19p.; ref. Gender and Violence, Hambantota, 11-14 July 2005; Seneviratne, Dharshini. Changing Lives and Laws : Activism and Predicaments of the Muslim Womens Research and Action Forum [MWRAF]. P. 34-37; notes. Options. 2nd Quarter 1993; 10 Other studies that document work done in Sri Lanka to promote womens political participation and womens experiences in participating in peace processes include - The Asia Foundation [TAF]. Collaborating Within and Across Borders to Advance Womens Political Participation. P.13-15. 1998 Annual Report- Economic Crisis in Asia: Meeting the Challenge. San Francisco; United Nations. Peace Process. P.53-72. Women, Peace and Security : Study submitted by the SecretaryGeneral pursuant to Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000). New York. 2002; Taking 1325 to the Village : Association of War Affected Women[AWAW}, Ongoing. Resolution 1325 in Action. 15 November 2007. 1p. [Source http://www.peacewomen.org/ 1325inaction/ index.html; accessed on 8 February 2008]; Sivachandran, Saroja. Womens Participation in Peace Building. 3p. Expert meeting on Womens Human Rights under Armed Conflict, Kyoto (Japan), 14-15 September 1000. Tokyo, Asian Womens Fund. 2000; Ms. Selvadharshini Thevanesan Croos, (Sri Lanka). P.25. Women and Leadership : Voices for Security and Development : *Forum Report. Ottawa, SAP. 2002; Muslim Womens Research and Action Forum (MWRAF). Enhancing Human Resource Pool and enabling Citizenship Activism for Muslim Women : Field-Level Workshops & Training. Puttalam, 21 April 2001. p. 11. Annual Report : January December 2001.

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Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka

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Abeysekera, Sunila (1999), Women and Peace in Sri Lanka : Some observations, Women in Action. Issue No.3. 1999. Barry, Jane (2005), Rising up in Response: Womens Rights Activism in Conflict, Urgent Action Fund for Womens Human Rights, Canada Burke, Adam & Mulakala, Anthea (2005), Donors and Peace building in Sri Lanka 2000-2005; Part of the Sri Lanka Strategic Conflict Assessment 2005, Vol. No. 02, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, The Asia Foundation, Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, World Bank Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) (1979) United Nations Coomaraswamy, Radhika & Fonseka, Dilrukshi (2004), Introduction, in Radhika Coomaraswamy & Dilrukshi Fonseka (eds), Peace Work: Women, Armed Conflict and Negotiation, Women Unlimited New Delhi De Alwis, Malathi (2003), Reflections on Gender and Ethnicity in Sri Lanka, in Wenona Giles, Malathi de Alwis, Edith Klein, Neluka Silva (eds), Feminists Under Fire: Exchanges Across War Zones, Between the Lines, Toronto De Mel, Neloufer (2001), Women and the Nations Narrative: Gender and Nationalism in Twentieth Century Sri Lanka, Kali for Women, New Delhi De Mel, Neloufer (2007), Militarising Sri Lanka:Popular Culture, Memory and Narrative in the Armed Conflict, SAGE Publications, New Delhi, India Giles, Wenona, Introduction: Feminist Exchanges and Comparative Perspectives across Conflict Zones in Wenona Giles, Malathi de Alwis, Edith Klein, Neluka Silva (eds), Feminists Under Fire: Exchanges Across War Zones, Between the Lines, Toronto Goodhand, Jonathan & Klem, Bart (2005), Aid, Conflict and Peace Building in Sri Lanka, Vol. No. 01, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, The Asia Foundation, Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, World Bank Law and Society Trust (2008), Under Fire: Persons in Humanitarian Service, A preliminary Report on Killings and Disappearances of Persons in Humanitarian Service in Sri Lanka January 2006 December 2007, Law and Society Trust, Colombo Manchanda, Rita (2001), Where are the Women in South Asian Conflicts? In Rita Manchanda (ed), Women, War and Peace in South Asia, SAGE Publications New Delhi Orjuela, Camilla (2004), Civil Society in Civil War: Peace Work and Identity Politics in Sri Lanka, Department of Peace and Development Research (Padrigu), Goteborg University, Sweden Pathirana, Buddhiprabha & Dissanayake, Vishaka (2004). Investigation of Problems and Coping Factors of War Widows in the South of Sri Lanka. CENWOR: 9th National Convention on Womens Studies, Colombo, 20-23 March 2004. Perera-Rajasingham, Nimanthi(2005) Resisting Violence : The Politics of Motherhood in the East draft paper presented at the conference on Gender and Violence, Hambantota, 11-14 July 2005. [Draft]. Samuel, Kumudini (2003), Activism, Motherhood, and the State in Sri Lankas Ethnic Conflict, in Wenona Giles, Malathi de Alwis, Edith Klein, Neluka Silva (eds), Feminists Under Fire: Exchanges Across War Zones, Between the Lines, Toronto Samuel, Kumudini (2006), A Hidden History: Womens Activism for Peace in Sri Lanka 1982-2002, Social Scientists Association Colombo Samuel, Kumudini (2007), Feminist Trends in the Womens Action Committee (WAC) 1982-1990, Masters Theses, University of Colombo Samuel, Kumudini (2008), Women in the Sri Lankan Peace Process: Included but Unequal, Institute for Human Rights, University of Deusto, Bilbao, Spain (forthcoming). Tambiah Yasmin (2002), Women and Governance in South Asia: Re-imagining the State, International Centre For Ethnic Studies, Colombo United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000), Women, Peace and Security Wickremasinghe, Narme (2003). Honouring those who thirst for Peace. Daily Mirror. 7 June 2003.

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Strategic Mapping of Womens Peace Activism in Sri Lanka