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Women Claiming Rights:


Using normative frameworks of UNSCR 1325 & CEDAW
Study on Women Affected by Conflict in Post War Sri Lanka:

Selected cases of Marginalisation and Poverty; Female Headed Households; Female Ex-combatants; Land Rights and Domestic Violence

Women and Media Collective Suriya Womens Development Centre Viluthu Centre for Human Resource Development Home for Human Rights Rajarata Praja Kendraya Muslim Womens Research and Action Forum

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Women Claiming Rights: Using normative frameworks of UNSCR 1325 & CEDAW Study on Women Affected by Conflict in Post War Sri Lanka: Selected cases of Marginalisation and Poverty; Female Headed Households; Female ExCombatants; Land Rights and Domestic Violence

First Print: February 2014 Women and Media Collective ISBN 978-955-1770-15-0 Compiled by Design and Layout Research Team Azra Abdul Cader (Advisor Research and Co-Editor) Kumudini Samuel (Advisor Research and Co-Editor) Jayanthi Kuru Uthumpala (Research Coordinator) Sarala Emmanuel (Lead Researcher and Research Adviser, Suriya Womens Development Centre) Anuratha Rajaratnam (Data processor and analyst, Suriya Womens Development Centre) Shanthi Satchchithanandam (Research Adviser, Viluthu Centre for Human Resource Development) Sherine Xavier (Research Adviser, Home for Human Rights) Rupa Gamage (Research Adviser, Rajarata Praja Kendraya) Anberiya Haniffa (Research Adviser, Muslim Womens Research and Action Forum) Women and Media Collective Chandraguptha Thenuwara

This Research and Publication were supported by FOKUS

Published by The Women and Media Collective 56/1, Sarasavi Lane, Castle Street, Colombo 8, Sri Lanka Telephone: 94-115632045, 5335800, 5335800, 2690201 Fax: 94-112690201, 2690192 Email: wmcsrilanka@gmail.com Web: womenandmedia.org

Acknowledgements
The Women and Media Collective extends its gratitude and thanks to Professor Savitri Goonesekera of the Centre for Womens Research, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo and former CEDAW Committee member; Ms. Shanthi Dairiam of International Womens Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific and former member of the CEDAW Committee and Ms. Kamala Chandrakirana former Chairperson of the Komnas Perempuan, the Indonesian National Commission on Violence Against Women and current Chair of the UN Working Group on Discrimination Against Women in Law and Practice who helped us conceptualize this study using the frameworks of CEDAW and UNSCR 1325. We also wish to acknowledge with thanks the contextual framing provided by Ms. Ambika Sathkunanathan. Our thanks are due in particular to Ms. Azra Abdul Cader for her expertise and valuable assistance in designing the research and for the training and mentoring she provided to the team of researchers. We also thank Ms. Chulani Kodikara, Ms. Shanthi Satchchithanadam, Ms. Sherine Xavier and Mr. Mirak Raheem for the literature reviews conducted to supplement the field studies. This study was made possible however only because of the invaluable and committed work of the six organisations Suriya Womens Development Centre and Koralaipattu North Development Union, Batticaloa; Viluthu: Centre for Human Resource Development; Home for Human Rights; Rajarata Praja Kendraya and Muslim Womens Research and Action Forum that agreed to partner with us in the conduct of this study. Our thanks are especially due to Sarala Emmanuel, Rajaretnam Anuratha, Indiran Jeyanthy and Research Team at the Suriya Womens Development Centre (SWDC) and Koralaipattu North Development Union (KPNDU), Batticaloa; Shanthi Satchithanandam, Indumathi Hariharathamotharan and Research Team at Viluthu: Centre for Human Resource Development; Sherine Xavier, Ranitha Gnanarajah and Research Team at Home for Human Rights (HHR); Anberiya Haniffa, Furkaan Bannu and Research Team at Muslim Womens Research and Action Forum (MWRAF) and Sheela Rathnayeke, Rupa Gamage and Research Team at the Rajarata Praja Kendraya (RPK). They took the lead in conceptualizing and designing the studies, mentoring and supporting the researchers and analysing the findings and formulating recommendations. The study on violence against women was conducted by the six Centre Managers of MWRAF, A.C.Bathuriya Banu, A. M. S. Jumana Hazeen, K. Vinoja, U. L. Hafeela, M. M. J. Farvin and R. Logitha to whom we also extend our thanks. We are also grateful to FOKUS, Norway for its generous support that made this work possible resulting in the five studies and this publication. Our thanks are also due to Mr. Chandraguptha Thenuwara for the design of this report and Globe Printing Works for its printing.

Kumudini Samuel On behalf of the Women and Media Collective

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Acronyms
CBO CDF CEDAW Women CENWOR CEPA COHRE CPA CSD DDR DHS DS DSD EHRN FHH GN/GS HHR ICES ID INGO IWRAW AP LD LKR LLRC LTTE MMDA MWRAF NGO NRC O/L PAMA PARC PTSD RPK SWDC UN UNSCR VCHRD WDO WD WMC WRDS Community Based Organisation Civil Defence Force Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Centre for Women's Research Centre for Poverty Analysis Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions Centre for Policy Alternatives Civil Security Department Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration Demographic and Health Survey Divisional Secretary Divisional Secretariat Division Exploring Human Rights and Norms Female Headed Households Grama Niladhari / Grama Seveka Home for Human Rights International Centre for Ethnic Studies Investigations and Documentation International Non-governmental Organization International Womens Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific Legal Defence Sri Lanka Rupee Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam Muslim Marriages and Divorce Act Muslim Women's Research and Action Forum Non-governmental Organization Norwegian Refugee Council Ordinary Level Public-Assisted Monthly Allowance Protective Accommodation and Rehabilitation Centre Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Rajarata Praja Kendraya/ Rajarata Community Centre Suriya Womens Development Centre United Nations United Nations Security Council Resolution Viluthu Centre for Human Resource Development Women Development Officer Womens Desk Women and Media Collective Women Rural Development Societies

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Contents
Introduction Chapter 1 Women, Marginalisation and Poverty In Post War Batticaloa, Sri Lanka
Suriya Womens Development Centre

2-5

7 - 18

Chapter 2 Situation of Female-Headed Households Post War in Selected Regions of Batticaloa, Jaffna and Vavuniya Districts
Viluthu, Centre for Human Resource Development

20 - 29

Chapter 3 Female Ex-combatants in post-war Sri Lanka: Experiences from selected regions in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Mannar, Vavuniya, Batticaloa, Ampara and Trincomalee districts
Home for Human Rights

31- 39

Chapter 4 Securing Land Rights for Women Affected by War: The case of three border villages in Anuradhapura district
Rajarata Praja Kendraya

41- 48

Chapter 5 Discrimination and Access to Justice: Muslim Women Seeking Remedies for Domestic Violence in Selected Regions of the Amparai and Batticaloa Districts
Muslim Womens Research and Action Forum

50 - 59

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Introduction

In July 2010, fifteen months after the end of the war, a group of over 80 women from all the conflict affected districts in the country and from Colombo based organisations, came together for the first time, to discuss how women should engage with the process of post war recovery and on potential processes of conflict resolution, reconciliation, healing and transformation. This consultation began a process of dialogue and identified a range of issues that women were working on, continue to work on. It also discussed developing both individual and collective strategic interventions that would ensure Constitutional guarantees of equality for women and strengthen the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination against Women in the context of post war Sri Lanka. Among the priority areas identified for further strategizing and work were: Safety and Security; Livelihoods; Displacement and Resettlement; Detainees and Former Female Combatants; Political Participation and Decision Making Structures. As a follow up to this consultation which was supported by FOKUS, the Women and Media Collective together with five organisations present at the Consultation decided to begin a process of documentation and evidence based analysis to explore the impact of historical events i.e. in the context of the war and displacement years, on womens lives and how these events have impacted on womens abilities to rebuild their lives post war. This initiative too was supported by FOKUS. In terms of the Sri Lankan Constitutions guarantee of equality to women and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), we analysed this impact through a framework of substantive equality and nondiscrimination. We also used the principles set out in UN Resolution 1325 that deals with womens security and the enabling of post war recovery and peace. These frameworks allow for the recognition of challenges women have faced in the past and how these impact on them using some of the opportunities available to them in the post war context. This report presents the key findings from five studies that were undertaken in selected areas in post war Sri Lanka. Each of the studies focused on a specific issue and concentrated on a specific geographic location. The issues selected for study and documentation were: domestic violence, poverty and womens marginalisation, female headed households, former female combatants and land access and rights. The studies were located in different parts of the Northern, Eastern and North Central provinces all of which were affected by ethnic conflict and war. Women and Media Collective facilitated the studies, which were conducted in collaboration with locally based organisations working to promote, protect and realise womens rights and entitlements. These organizations were Viluthu: Centre for Human Resource Development (VCHRD), the Muslim Women's Research and Action Forum (MWRAF), Home

for Human Rights (HHR), Suriya Womens Development Centre (SWDC), and Rajarata Praja Kendraya (RPK). They work variously in the districts of Jaffna, Trincomalee, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, Batticaloa, Akkaraipattu, Kalmunai and Anuradhapura. As organisations working at the community level during the years of war in the conflict affected districts of the Northern, Eastern and North Central Provinces of Sri Lanka it has been our experience that while war affects all communities and both women and men, it affected women in different and specific ways. Living through war and its consequences caused new forms of vulnerabilities for women while it exacerbated existing disadvantages. Addressing these in the immediate aftermath of the war and thereafter is a crucial component of recovery. This includes examining womens experiences in terms of economic and social justice as well as in terms of civil and political rights.

Objectives of the research


The overall objective of this research was to develop an evidence base of the impacts of the post war context on women, particularly in regions that were directly affected by the war. Through the focus on specific thematic areas the study will show that there are a number of limitations when considering gender equality and womens rights in the context of post war recovery and development as envisaged in CEDAW and Resolution 1325. The focus on specific thematic areas involved the following aims/study objectives. Female Headed Households (FHH)1 To provide a situational analysis of the conditions and options that FHH have in a post war situation. To provide evidence related to womens access and control of the rehabilitation and reconstruction that can help support advocacy activities of the Forum for Women Headed Households and Vilithu. Domestic violence2 To understand the conditions of women affected by domestic violence in a post-war context and the impacts it has on their families. To broaden insight into the services women who are affected by domestic violence have access to. Female Ex-combatants3 To gain a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the diverse and profound challenges which female ex-combatants face in post-war Sri Lanka and identify how they are coping. To provide a contextualization of how female ex-combatants are coping in their respective communities including socio, economic and security issues related to
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Study undertaken by Viluthu, Centre for Human Resource Development Study undertaken by Muslim Women's Research and Action Forum (MWRAF) 3 Study undertaken by Home for Human Rights (HHR)

rehabilitated female ex-combatants who have been reintegrated into their respective societies To emphasize areas that state and non-state actors can improve these womens lives.

Marginalised women4 To assess the impact of displacement, resettlement and extreme marginalisation on women's lives in accessing basic needs, livelihoods and income, land, services and information, safe migration and freedom from violence within the context of development programmes that leave out women. Woman and land5 To access the nature of land access by women in a region that was affected by war and understand the perspective related to womens access and rights to land. The following chapters will present the findings from each of these studies, identifying the impacts of the war that are present today, nearly five years after the end of the fighting. The chapters conclude with an identification of theme specific conclusions and recommendations for action.

Methodology
The conduct of the studies was preceded by a residential documentation training workshop in September 2012 for all the partner organisations and their researchers, research coordinators and mentors. The workshop was conducted by the Women and Media Collective with two external trainers Ms Shanthi Dairiam of International Womens Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific (IWRAW AP) and a former member of the CEDAW Committee and Ms Kamala Chandrakirana former Chairperson of Komnas Perempuan the Indonesian National Commission on Violence Against Women and current Chair of the UN Working Group on Discrimination Against Women in Law and Practice. Create an understanding of CEDAW in relation to its application in the context of women and conflict. The workshop focused on information gathering and documentation using the frameworks of CEDAW and UNSCR 1325. The workshop had among its objectives to: Assess the conflict situation in Sri Lanka and an understanding of the vulnerabilities of women; Create an understanding of UNSCR 1325 and CEDAW in relation to its application in the context of women and conflict; Identify a set of indicators for information collection and data gathering to address vulnerabilities of women in the context of conflict in Sri Lanka from a human rights perspective. Each of the studies adopted standalone methodologies taking into account their specific objectives. Each study undertook an issue specific literature review that examined recent research and debates as well as identifying gaps in research. A research framework was developed to situate studies within the scope of CEDAW and Resolution 1325 and
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Study undertaken by Suriya Womens Development Centre Study undertaken by Rajarata Praja Kendraya

methodology was suggested and refined accordingly. The studies used both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, including household surveys mainly with women, including women headed households within each of the study contexts. Qualitative methods such as focus group discussions and in-depth interviews were used to investigate more sensitive issues such as conditions of female ex-combatants and domestic violence. The samples for these studies were drawn from databases that agencies had access to, in terms of people they already worked with or assisted, while greater randomization was attempted with others. Key person interviews were conducted with stakeholders based on each of the research topics that enabling an alternative viewpoint on the issues and a triangulation of the information from different sources. Case studies were also used for some of the studies attempting to explore some of the issues in greater detail. Kumudini Samuel Women and Media Collective 31 December 2013

Chapter 1 Women, Marginalisation and Poverty In Post War Batticaloa, Sri Lanka
By Suriya Womens Development Centre

1. Background and Introduction


Economic empowerment for women is a key aspect of post war recovery. The war impacted on women, in various ways, causing new forms of vulnerabilities that may not have been present before. Addressing these in the immediate aftermath of the war and thereafter is a crucial component of recovery. This includes examining womens experiences in terms of economic justice.

This section will include an analysis on the impact of poverty, lack of access to water, lack of transport, loan schemes etc. on womens lives and wellbeing. This chapter will explore the impacts of these on womens overall wellbeing including the challenges of marginalised women in accessing basic services and social security programmes established by the State.
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This chapter6 attempts to explore these aspects in the context of Batticaloa, in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka, which was affected by the war for several decades. It explores the impact of historical events i.e. in the context of the war and displacement years, on womens lives and how these events have impacted on womens abilities to rebuild their lives post war. In terms of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) this could be analysed through a framework of substantive equality, which emphasises womens ability to achieve their rights in terms of results, going beyond mere opportunities. CEDAW allows for the recognition of challenges women have faced in the past and how these impact on them using some of the opportunities available to them in the post war context. The framing of the research that informs this study is also based on the principles of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 in relation to its pillars of protection and participation. This chapter highlights experiences, which have impacted on both men and women but have had a gender-intensified effect on women due to women having less capacity to cope and the impact being different on women. This section will include an analysis on the impact of poverty, lack of access to water, lack of transport, loan schemes etc. on womens lives and wellbeing. This chapter will explore the impacts of these

This chapter and the research that informed it was conducted by the Suriya Womens Development Centre, Batticaloa.

on womens overall wellbeing including the challenges of marginalised women in accessing basic services and social security programmes established by the State. In addition, certain realities in the post war context also create real disadvantage for women. These include forms of sexual harassment, fear and control of mobility, violence against women and trafficking.

2. Establishing the Context: Batticaloa History of Conflict 2006 Onwards

According to the Sri Lanka Human Development Report 2012, Batticaloa District is among the lowest three districts with regard to the Human Development Index and the Gender Inequality Index. Income poverty had increased from 10.7% in 2006/7 to 20.3% in 2009/10.

The official end to the war in the East is marked with the "Eastern Liberation" in July 2007, which was achieved after an intensive military offensive that lasted for a year. 7 As with the destruction in the North, many people (nearly 200,000 people) were displaced and their lives and livelihoods destroyed. There were reports of the LTTE forcibly engaging civilians in the war. This served to blur the distinction between combatants and the general population. The exact death toll is unknown. Although resettlement was undertaken swiftly by the government, people returned to very little - destroyed homes, infrastructure and limited opportunities. They were also faced with harsh weather changes that led to disaster affectedness.8 According to the Sri Lanka Human Development Report 2012, Batticaloa District is among the lowest three districts with regard to the Human Development Index and the Gender Inequality Index. Income poverty had increased from 10.7% in 2006/7 to 20.3% in 2009/10. The Centre for Poverty Analysis (CEPA 2012) notes that the main thrust of the government's reconstruction agenda is on economic development, narrowly construed as the delivery of hardware, particularly infrastructure. With considerable assistance from bilateral donors such as China and India, and multi-laterals such as the Asian Development Bank, the Neganahira Navodaya (Eastern Revival) and Uthuru Wasanthaya (Northern Spring) programmes in the Eastern and Northern provinces, respectively, have focused on building roads and bridges, as well as rehabilitating irrigation works. 9 While this does address some needs in these regions, an approach that focuses on infrastructure development alone does not take into account other needs of communities. Most women in Batticaloa engage in daily wage work, self-employment activities, unpaid family work, agriculture and fisheries related work for their daily income, most of which happens in the margins of the market economy and is not valued. When women are chronically poor, it is often inadequate when assistance programmes aim to integrate them
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The war in Sri Lanka officially ended in May 2009, with a military victory for the government in the North of the country. Sri Lankas Eastern Province: Land, Development, Conflict, Asia Report N15915 Oct 2008, http://www.crisisgroup.org/en/regions/asia/south-asia/sri-lanka/159-sri-lankas-eastern-province-land-developmentconflict.aspx 9 Fernando P. and Moonesinghe S (2012), Livelihoods, Basic Services and Social Protection in Sri Lanka, Working Paper 6, CEPA, Colombo, p.10

into a market economy without addressing any of the structural barriers that poor marginalised women face. Women have to also take on most of the responsibilities in the care economy, which puts further pressures on accessing more appropriate work.10

3. Findings

The study was done in two villages in Batticaloa as example case studies. The objective was to analyse the progress of post war development initiatives through the standpoint of vulnerable and marginalised women. Therefore, these villages were purposely selected with the help of local womens groups and government officials. A mixed methods study was carried out including quantitative and qualitative components. This study was conducted in the villages of Kattumurivu and Aandankulam in the Vakarai Divisional Secretariat Division (DSD) and Thandiyadi in the Vavunatheevu DSD. The sample was selected using the population list that was acquired from the Government Agent at the village level. A random sample was selected; in Kattumurivu and Aandankulam out of total families of 205 households, 82 households were selected (40%) and in Thandiyadi, out of 182 households 100 households (56%) were selected. A female respondent from each household, who was available at the home, was selected for the interview. 2 focus group discussions were conducted with the village women. Key person interviews were undertaken with the school principals, Samurdi officers, Government Agents, social service officers, preschool teacher, retired teacher, WRDS members, and local women leaders, in both the locations.

All the women mentioned that they faced displacement multiple times in the war years (all of them mentioned that they were displaced more than five times from their village to nearby villages, facing major displacement in 2007).

3.1 The Impact of the War and Displacement on Womens Lives


All the women mentioned that they faced displacement multiple times in the war years (all of them mentioned that they were displaced more than five times from their village to nearby villages, facing major displacement in 2007). Impact of war on social roles for women and girls Kattumurivu and Aandankulam represents the real impact of the war years on womens lives. 20% were widowed or separated and were heading their households. 53.5% of the women interviewed had married at or before they were 18 years old. Almost 1 in every 10 of these women had married younger than age 15. Most of these women were below 30 years at the time of the interviews. In the focus group discussion women mentioned that while being
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Exploring the Economic Empowerment of Women in Conflict Affected Areas: Sri Lankan Case Study prepared for the Asia Pacific Women's Watch, November 2011.

displaced, and due to the fear of sexual violence and protection, parents married off their daughters at a very young age. Another point for concern was that 22.7% of women who had married at or before 18 years of age, had done so within the last 4 years. In other words 1 in 5 of these early marriages happened recently, in the post war context. Therefore, early marriage seemed to be a continuing practice in the post war context. Impact of war on livelihoods

Livelihoods assets to the value of LKR.6,517,702 were lost by the households in Thandiyadi. In Kattumurivu and Aandankulam 72 families (88%) had lost assets to the value of LKR.2,880,500; on average each family lost LKR.40,000 worth of assets.

The study asked respondents to calculate their losses during the massive displacement in 2006/07, mainly focusing on livelihoods related losses. Livelihoods assets to the value of LKR.6,517,702 were lost by the households in Thandiyadi. In Kattumurivu and Aandankulam 72 families (88%) had lost assets to the value of LKR.2,880,500; on average each family lost LKR.40,000 worth of assets. Impact of war on the right to education In Kattumurivu out of the 82 households, only 1 household had both the man and woman having completed their O/Ls. In every other household, generally, none of the adults had completed higher than secondary education. Even though displacement, loss of assets, and denial of access to education affected both men and women, for women, it had created gendered intensified disadvantages in the post war context. Specifically this meant vulnerabilities in responding to spiralling poverty, exploitation by sub agents when seeking employment as migrant workers, exploitation by middlemen when trying to sell their products, getting caught to loan schemes with high interest rates, and difficulties in negotiating power relations within the home resulting in domestic violence.

3.2 Continued Disadvantages - Womens Livelihoods and Poverty


In Thandiyadi village, 87% of women respondents said that they have not been able to start an independent livelihood of their own since being resettled. In the years since resettlement, some of the women had got livelihoods assistance from different sources. However, often, these attempts had not been viable or sustainable. Some women noted the loss of assets as well as lack of capital, inability to sell their products due lack of transport and access to markets, lack of water for part of the year and lack of opportunities for skills upgrading as reasons for them being unable to restart a viable livelihoods option. Even though assistance was given there seemed to be little support to the women to diversify productions so everyone was involved in the same livelihoods activity.

Poverty level in the two villages


This study used the official poverty line as an indicative estimate to assess the income of the

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households and to provide an approximate picture of the poverty status of the women interviewed. According to this, 90% of those interviewed in Kattumurivu and 76% of those interviewed in Thandiyadi were earning less than what was required to meet the basic needs of their household11.

The invisible work of women


In Kattumurivu and Aandankulam villages, men (husbands or sons) were the main income earners in a majority (78%) of households. Apart from home based livelihoods activities, women's work in the Kattumurivu village involved collecting honey from the jungle during the season, collecting fruits (paalpalam) from the jungle, weaving mats, and daily labourer work in the paddy fields. However, as the survey data indicated, women did not see this gruelling work as work even though most women were involved in going into the jungle to collect fruits and honey and in daily wage work whenever it was available.

The research was carried out during the paalpalam (Pallu) season; a local fruit which grew in the surrounding jungles and was picked by women. They would start doing this work at 3.00 a.m. in order to make the fruits available for sale at 10.00 a.m. to the middlemen, who bought it at a wholesale rate. The researchers observed a group of 10 women and girls selling the fruits to a group of Muslim traders. They received a very low price, and had to tolerate sexual comments and touching by the men. In Thandiyadi, in most of the households (76%) the main income earner was the husband. Men were mostly doing agriculture paddy cultivation and working as labourers in agriculture, daily wage-work, fishing and small business. In 9 households women were the main income earner and these were all women headed households. 4 other women were running small food businesses but were not the main income earner for their families. All the women who were involved in an income earning activity stated that they were finding it hard to make a profit. Another important issue was that livelihood support programmes and general development programmes did not recognise womens work in the care economy. Women mentioned how they managed to do household care work as well as their livelihoods work in the course of the day sometimes working very long hours. Therefore, early marriage, child care responsibilities, and carrying the full burden of running the house had created gender
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Another important issue was that livelihood support programmes and general development programmes did not recognise womens work in the care economy. Women mentioned how they managed to do household care work as well as their livelihoods work in the course of the day sometimes working very long hours. Therefore, early marriage, child care responsibilities, and carrying the full burden of running the house had created gender intensified disadvantages for women in the post war context.

Official Poverty Line for Batticaloa 2013 Department of Census and Statistics website updated August 2013 was LKR. 4,020 per person per month the self-declared income of households in this study that was below this amount was used as indicative of the poverty level.

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intensified disadvantages for women in the post war context.

Caught in the spiral of loan repayments Thandiyadi village


In the current context, where households had suffered tremendous losses due to the war, and were affected by poverty, one of the few options available to them has been loans. These loans were offered by government services, private banks, finance companies as well as NGOs. In Thandiyadi in 2013, 10 households out of the total interviewed for this research, had obtained loans. That is 1 in every 10 households had got a loan as livelihoods or housing/repairs assistance. The repayment amounts placed a heavy burden on the poor families who did not have sufficient income sources to be able to pay back such loans as well as take care of daily expenses related to the household. One of the women in the focus group discussion mentioned that along with her, 30 other women had taken loans from a finance company that came as a mobile service to her village. The loans were conditional. The women had to be between the age of 18-50. She took a loan of LKR.25,000 and of this LKR.1,000 was held back as insurance i.e. if she died or was medically affected and was unable to repay the loan, then the loan could be cancelled. Her weekly repayment was LKR.700. The loan was for 12 months. At the end of 12 months she had repaid LKR.36,400, which came to 45.6% additional repayment on the initial capital amount borrowed.

3.3Post War Realities - Womens Vulnerabilities and Gender Based Violence


In these areas domestic violence was very high. However, very few women reported these cases. Very few cases ever went to the Police. According to some key informants, there were areas where there was extreme poverty and women were commonly engaging in sex work to survive. Sometimes this work took place in the village, sometimes the women travelled to other locations. However, due to the sensitivity of the issue and the stigma around sex work it was not possible to verify the extent of this phenomenon. Trafficking of women seeking employment as migrant workers In one of the villages, the issue of trafficking was very real. One woman had left her 2 children with her father and was away from home for about 2 months in 2012. Her husband had died in the war. She had supposedly been promised work as a migrant worker. She returned after 2 months and no one knew where she had been. Some of the village leaders suspected that she may have been taken to Colombo with the

The loans were conditional. The women had to be between the age of 18-50. She took a loan of LKR.25,000 and of this LKR.1,000 was held back as insurance i.e. if she died or was medically affected and was unable to repay the loan, then the loan could be cancelled. Her weekly repayment was LKR.700. The loan was for 12 months. At the end of 12 months she had repaid LKR.36,400, which came to 45.6% additional repayment on the initial capital amount borrowed.

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promise of legitimate work and then used for other work. The sub agents came to the village from Kinniya and Kantale (Trincomalee District) and were usually Muslim men who give LKR.10,000 up front to the family. According to the GS another woman had just returned from Qatar after becoming pregnant. The background of her situation was also not clear.

3.4

Access to Social Services, Protection and Facilities

Samurdi and social safety nets

One of the most important safety nets for extremely poor and marginalised families has been the Samurdi scheme. However, in both villages women faced some challenges to accessing their right to social security measures. In the district level interviews, the government officers mentioned that the number of beneficiaries in 2009 were 86,824 and this had been reduced to 79,181 in 2012. In the Kattumurivu village only 51 families were receiving Samurdi assistance. In other words only 24% of the families were receiving Samurdi. Most of the families were allocated LKR.750 per family per month. Out of this, LKR.500 was what they got in hand. To collect the money they had to go to Kathiraveli (19 kilometers away) to the nearest Samurdi Bank. This cost them LKR.200 one way. In the Thandiyadi village, out of the sample survey, 53 (54%) families were on Samurdi. Out of this 53, 50 families were receiving LKR.500 cash in hand. What became clear through the interviews was that women who were in extreme poverty perceived Samurdi assistance as a long term social security. It was a safety net to protect them through rapid fluctuations of income. Even in times when Assessment of income their earnings may have gone up, due to the yearly, and taking off vulnerability to risks, women preferred to stay on the safety net. Therefore, the target oriented families yearly, seems a programming of the scheme, seemed to fall short of short sighted strategy to the realities of poor peoples lives. Assessment of deal with the high risk of income yearly, and taking off families yearly, seems a poverty dynamics. The short sighted strategy to deal with the high risk of demand on state officials not poverty dynamics. The demand on state officials not to increase the number of to increase the number of Samurdi recipients without removing others, seem to work against a philosophy Samurdi recipients without removing others, seem to of a social safety net for the poor. Another point for critique would be the linking of the social protection support with the repayment of Samurdi loans. In 1 village the women mentioned 13

In other words only 24% of the families were receiving Samurdi. Most of the families were allocated LKR.750 per family per month. Out of this, LKR.500 was what they got in hand. To collect the money they had to go to Kathiraveli (19 kilometers away) to the nearest Samurdi Bank. This cost them LKR.200 one way. In the Thandiyadi village, out of the sample survey, 53 (54%) families were on Samurdi. Out of this 53, 50 families were receiving LKR.500 cash in hand.

work against a philosophy of a social safety net for the poor.

that since the social welfare was now a cash grant, this was held back when women had failed to repay the loan amount. This fundamentally went against the philosophy of a social safety net or food support for extremely poor families. The clash of objective loan schemes and pressure for repayment, and social security schemes became problematic.

Even though there was the facility for scholarships for school students who had passed their O/Ls (LKR.1,000 per month) of Samurdi recipient families, children from these 2 villages were left out because only very few families were on the scheme. Women who were members of village level representative bodies such as the WRDS, and WDOs mentioned that one of the main challenges for women was that the Samurdi registration was in the mans name, this was This also highlights the gendered later confirmed by the Samurdi officer of the experiences of women who may area. According to him, the name can be have opportunities to access changed to the womens name, only if the man has gone out of the village on work or services but due to the patriarchal was unwell; even in these cases the man had views of state policies and to give a letter in writing stating that his wife structures they are denied their can collect the stamp amount. This also highlights the gendered experiences of right to services. women who may have opportunities to access services but due to the patriarchal views of state policies and structures they are denied their right to services. In other words women are unable to transfer opportunities into results. Since the change of the stamp into cash women felt they had lost more control over the money. There were instances where the men took part or the full amount, for their own expenses. Women often participated in the Samurdi meetings and were members of the various Samurdi groups. However the state policy was to register the household under the mans name as head of household. This also had implications for women who had been abandoned by their husbands, whose husbands had 2 marriages, and who were facing domestic violence. Most of the women were not aware of the actual amount that was their right, and for what purposes and how much was being cut from their Samurdi support by the Samurdi Bank. This raises the question of right to information of very poor and marginalised families. This was particularly significant in relation to the changes that had taken place in the Samurdi assistance scheme. Introducing a banking system had taken away a lot of the control women had over knowledge on the assistance they were entitled to. There is an urgent

Women who were members of village level representative bodies such as the WRDS, and WDOs mentioned that one of the main challenges for women was that the Samurdi registration was in the mans name

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need to review the changes in the Samurdi social protection scheme at a national level, in terms of its impact on womens access to social security and welfare.

Access to services
Services Electricity Kerosene stamp12 entitled to LKR.1,200 worth of kerosene per household which is given every 6 months (LKR.200 per month worth of kerosene). PAMA13 assistance Access Kattumurivu village had no electricity. In Thadiyadi, electricity was available but not all households could afford to access it. In Thandiyadi, in the survey sample, 47.5% mentioned that they were on the kerosene stamp - In Kattumurivu, according to the GS of the area, all the families were on the kerosene stamp. However, in 2013, they had not received any kerosene up to August, they started receiving the kerosene only in September.

Elders allowance14

In the Thandiyadi survey sample, only 5 families were getting PAMA assistance. In Kattumurivu 15 families were receiving this assistance. However, even the local government officials stated that for those families in Kattumurivu this was a nonassistance, as their travel cost ate up most of it. In the Vakarai DS division there were 360 registered elders. In Kattumurivu there were 11 who were getting an allowance of LKR.1,000 per month. In Thandiyadi 18 elders were receiving the elders allowance of LKR.1,000. illness In the Vakarai DSD, 360 persons were registered as disabled. There was no sex disaggregated data on this. In 2013, 50 from this list were supported through the DS office with a LKR.3,000 monthly allowance. Equipment needed by people with disabilities, were regularly being requested through the DS office to the Social Services Department in Colombo. In Kattumurivu, they have supported 1 person with a wheelchair, 1 person with a hearing aid and requested 1 more wheelchair. There was also a housing assistance scheme for people with disabilities to the value of LKR.250,000. In Thandiyadi, 2 persons with disabilities, had been supported for housing assistance. There was also a special scheme for children who are terminally ill or mentally ill, where the family got LKR.1,000 per month as assistance. For Vakarai DS division, they supported 6 such children in 2012 and in 2013 they supported

Disability support

and

12
13

The kerosene stamp was issued to those families in poverty who did not have access to electricity.

Public-Assisted Monthly Allowance - PAMA assistance is given to extremely poor families identified by the Social Services Department. A monthly assistance of LKR.250 basic amount and an additional LKR.50 per family member is given. The criteria for eligibility is extreme poverty (income is very low), and/or if a family member is terminally ill. 14 This is assistance given through the Social Services Department to men and women who were older than 70 years. The objective of this support was to promote the rights of elders and involve elders in social development.

15

4 children. Though these schemes were good initiatives, given the magnitude of the problems in the war affected areas, the assistance available for families, both in terms of the monetary value (such as the LKR.200/- kerosene stamp) and in terms of the numbers researched (50 out of 360 persons with disabilities) seem grossly inadequate. In very marginalised villages, the lack of transport meant that the cost of going to centralised points to collect such assistance ate up most of the assistance. Another concern was that, for poor families, the impact of the delays in these basic supports such as not getting the kerosene stamp for 8 months in the year lead to much hardship. This points again to the importance of substantive equality and if access can be translated into results by poor families.

Transport
In Kattumurivu - there was no public transport to the village. There were private lorries which took people for LKR.200 one way. Very few families could afford this. The road was damaged and the buses refused to go. During the rainy season the road was totally inaccessible. The Principal spoke of how the teachers carried their motorbikes over their heads everyday and waded through chest level water to reach the school during the rainy season. When we drove past, there were signs of the road being constructed.

Access to education
In both the villages, according to the Principals of the local school, there was a high drop-out rate among children at 14 years. The reasons given were poverty and work. During the paddy harvesting season boys and girls started working to support their families. In the Thandiyadi focus group discussion the women mentioned that one reason for children to drop out of school after Grade 9 was the distance of the school. Through the Thandiyadi DS office there was an attempt to involve dropout girls in future career planning, however, there was very low participation. This pointed towards cultural values of families that controlled the movement of adolescent girls. Boys who dropped out got into work immediately, however, for girls the options seemed to be limited to the home. This also had the additional risk of early marriage for girls.

Access to water
In Thandiyadi, all houses were using wells as their water source. 33 households had private wells, 60 households were using common wells. In other words 6 out of 10 houses relied on common wells for their source of water. These common wells had water only for 6 months of the year. During the dry season women had to walk a minimum of 2Km-3Km (one way) to get the water. To collect the water and return home it took 3 hours. Women usually went early morning to collect the water. Water was such a precious resource that people stole water, and protecting water was a big challenge for women. Women spoke of the harassment and uncomfortableness they faced while bathing at the public well as men sometimes watched the women and passed comments.

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In Kattumurivu as well, water was a big issue. They had water only for 6 months of the year. They had a common well which dried up during the dry season. They had to also share this well with the nearby army camp. The camp regularly used a pump and filled their tank. This greatly reduced the water for the village. Last year the DS office brought water in a bowser. Lack of water affected womens livelihoods - women tried to do home gardening without success. Even in the rainy season it was risky due to the floods. In addition, goats and poultry rearing were also highly risky due to lack of access to water. The scarcity of water becomes a risk factor for the sustainability of livestock and home gardens. If the livelihoods assistance is loan-based this adds the additional burden on repayment on women. As one woman mentioned all our other work, like sending children to school, looking after our vegetables, cooking, cleaning, keeping the family healthy, earning our own income, time to do a livelihoods activity, all depends on having access to water. Therefore the denial of this right impacts on so many other rights for women.

4. Conclusions
This study focused on 2 villages which were very badly affected by the war. They remain marginalised even 4-5 years after the war ended. From these 2 village studies it is very clear that marginalisation lead to discrimination in 2 profound ways. Firstly it lead to structural discrimination based on historic events. Such as losses due to the war and displacement, which families had not been able to replace. For example in Thandiyadi many women had not been able to restart their livelihoods, or replace their livelihood assets which they lost during the war, which amounted to more than 6 million rupees. This was the loss of 99 families in one small village. This is a grave indicator as to the type of losses households suffered, or in other words, the cost paid by poor families to the war effort. Events that happened in the past have created discrimination in the present. By not recognising this and putting in place proactive strategies the state is non-compliant to CEDAW. There should be an acknowledgement of this loss or cost paid by poor households. The other costs highlighted in this report included, denial of right to education and early marriage. These costs have impacted on womens ability to cope and rebuild a decent quality of life. Secondly, discrimination meant the lack of enabling conditions, such as nutritious food, shelter, health, transport, markets, electricity that had a 'gender-intensified impact15' on women. The challenges women faced in completing houses with the assistance given due the burden of household care work and expenses, the gendered impact of the Samurdi assistance being registered in the mans name as the head of household, the impact of changing the food stamp into a cash grant where the control of the money was with the banking structures, the confusion due to the lack of information on various schemes and entitlements for poor households, the lack of transport which had denied women access to services and markets, the lack of access to water eating into the time and strength of
15

A gender intensified impact is when a problem that affects both men and women is experienced differently by women or impacts more on women or women have less capacity to cope due to their gender roles Resource Manual, Training for Local Womens Organisations in the Context of Conflict and Post War in Sri Lanka, IWRAW AP & WMC, 2012 Colombo Sri Lanka

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women who had to walk long distances to collect it, were some of these gender intensified impacts documented in this report. Also the fact that there is very little sex disaggregated data available has meant that the gendered impact on women was invisible.

5. Recommendations
There is a clear need to increase resources allocated through national budgets for poor families like Samurdi support (both in terms of outreach as well as actual amount given per family), kerosene allowance, disability support etc. It is important to keep the food stamp and social safety net scheme separate from Samurdi loan schemes. The social safety net should reach all poor families and not be targeted. There needs to be an impact study to see if loan based livelihoods support has helped very poor women to have a sustainable livelihood, as this seems to be the primary driver for addressing poverty in the post war context. There is a need for gender sensitisation of officials to understand if women actually have access to income that is, understand the gender discrimination in access and control of income within the home. This is important in relation to loans, Samurdi assistance, income from livelihoods activities etc. There needs to be a change in discourse and analysis which allows for the recognition of and value womens care work and how this work is an important economic contribution. This includes the recognition of how women carry a double burden of home-work and livelihoods work. These responsibilities need to be factored in when supporting womens livelihoods. For example by setting up community child care facilities, or a monthly welfare support for women while pregnant or soon after delivery etc. In relation to very marginalised areas it is important to address structural issues like access to transport, roads, access to water, access to electricity, access to health (hospitals), access to social support like elders allowance, Samurdi, kerosene stamp etc., as the mere availability of these services does not necessarily guarantee that women (and men) can claim their right to these services. As loan schemes are directly targeting women, there is a clear need to develop strategies to deal with finance and leasing companies. In terms of the gendered experiences of women, loans are linked with harassment, sometimes sexual harassment and sometimes suicides. Therefore it becomes crucial to monitor and control these schemes to ensure that such schemes do not charge exorbitant interest rates and exploitative repayment terms taking advantage of womens lack of economic literacy. It is important to keep in mind that what people lost during the war is far greater than the assistance now provided by the state, NGOs and INGOs. The cost of war was borne not only by the state but by very poor people in terms of their education, livelihoods assets, and health.

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Chapter 2 Situation of Female-Headed Households Post War in Selected Regions of Batticaloa, Jaffna and Vavuniya Districts
by Viluthu: Centre for Human Resource Development 1. Context and Background
As a result of over three decades of conflict and civil war, rural communities of the Northern and Eastern provinces in Sri Lanka have suffered multiple displacements, loss of lives, loss of livelihoods and depletion of assets. These losses have impacted most on the women who were forced to become the main providers of their families due to death, disappearance or injury of their husbands or some other earning member. Women mostly rely on their human capital (i.e. labour) and have been able to cope to some extent working as agricultural labourers, small scale food producers etc. but the sustainability of such livelihoods is questionable within a context of war, displacement and destruction of social and economic infrastructure. The core issue however was the extremely slow pace of the implementation of housing and other rehabilitation components by the government after the war ended in May 2009. There are still a number of displaced families who have been resettled but have had no adequate access to housing assistance and therefore living in shacks with no viable avenues for pursuing a living for themselves. This has, in some areas, spawned the trafficking of women and their entry in to the sex trade. Two important development projects in post-war Sri Lanka are the Northern Spring (Uthuru Wasanthaya) and Eastern Revival (Negenahira Navodaya). They focused on security, development and infrastructure. Studies have been done in certain districts on the effectiveness of these and other multi lateral programmes of the government. According to existing international standards, the term Return indicates the returning of the displaced to their own home and land. Whereas, Resettlement indicates being located in a place other than ones home and land. Studies point out that government officials use both these words interchangeably as a result of which it is erroneously assumed that return is complete when persons are relocated to their own district. It is that most resettlements were effected through coercion of threatening to cut off food supplies and other assistance in the place of displacement. It is also alleged that for the settlers all aspects concerning resettlement safety, restitution of property, and conditions of sustainability were not fulfilled adequately. In many areas of the North re-settlers face the challenges of animals (wild boar and elephants) destroying their farms, threats from armed groups, crime and robberies. Their incomes have not matched their previous status and returnees have not been able to acquire assets held before.

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The governments compensation was considered puny in comparison to their losses. It is indicated that the underlying cause for this situation is that the legal framework and binding laws of Sri Lanka are inadequate in protecting the rights of the displaced people. Physical security for women and its effects are other key issues. Militarization has impacted security and the perception of security. Sexual violence against women and incidents of trafficking have also been reported arising, it is alleged, from the While the predominant presence of military personnel.

discourse on repatriation uncritically accepts and continually reaffirms territorialized notions of home, the narratives of resettled Sri Lankan women repeatedly implied that the concept of home and suggests something much more than merely a territorial space or their physical, geographical place of origin. To the contrary, home for many women was made up of a series of interconnected social, political, historical and psychological spaces, the return to which involved processes of struggle and contention.

Studies have also delved into the need to reinvent the identities of women particularly when they are displaced or lose their husbands. The reason being their social standing and identity depended on their home and marital status. The concepts of both home and a place to live in on return often meant vastly different meanings to women. While the predominant discourse on repatriation uncritically accepts and continually reaffirms territorialized notions of home, the narratives of resettled Sri Lankan women repeatedly implied that the concept of home and suggests something much more than merely a territorial space or their physical, geographical place of origin. To the contrary, home for many women was made up of a series of interconnected social, political, historical and psychological spaces, the return to which involved processes of struggle and contention. To this end, while resettlement to their native villages may have signified an end to physical displacement, the return to territorialized space called `home and the resulting violence marked the beginning of other forms of social, political and psychological dissatisfactions, making the return totally impossible, underscoring the necessity to device creative processes of reconstruction and rehabilitation (Jesse N 2003).

Identifying the need to organize these women in order to give them a voice, Viluthu began to mobilize them from early 2012 as an autonomous entity apart from other womens groups. The primary objective was to empower them to be able to engage in advocacy concerning their issues. By end of 2013 more than 78 such forums were formed with about 3,500 members. During this time, it was able to collaborate with Women and Media Collective to carry out a research on Female Headed Households (FHH), in order to support the women to do evidence based advocacy. This chapter draws from the research done by Viluthu, in selected areas of Batticaloa district in the Eastern Province, and Vavuniya and Jaffna districts in the Northern Province. The research attempts to provide a situational analysis of the conditions and options that Female Headed Households (FHH) have in a post

21

war situation in the selected regions and to provide evidence related to womens access and control of the rehabilitation and reconstruction that can help support advocacy activities.

2. Research and Methodology


The primary objectives of this research study were: a) to enable the Forum for Female Heads of Households and the District Federation of Women Rural Development Societies (WRDSs) (both formed and strengthened by Viluthu) to engage in evidence-based advocacy on issues related to womens access and control of the rehabilitation and reconstruction processes, and b) to contribute towards the preparation of the Shadow Report to the (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) CEDAW Committee. The specific objectives of the study were: identify issues related to female heads of households prepare profiles of female heads of households (including widows, abandoned women etc) in selected regions, illustrating their livelihoods, living conditions, their participation in household and community activity and opportunities available to them for decision making, their risks and vulnerabilities in the post war situation. to identify the constraints in accessing livelihoods and seek livelihood opportunities for women heads of households from various groups to identify the types of livelihoods and business development opportunities available that targeted female heads of households in the post war context This research study documents the different ways the war affected women. It looks at how particularly female heads of households are discouraged from participating in the post war development processes. The study also attempts to shed light on how post-war reconstruction processes influence the reconfiguration of gender roles and positions in the wake of war, and how womens actions could shape the construction of post-war social structures. The research administered a structured and a semi structured questionnaire to collect quantitative and qualitative data from a sample of 270 Female Headed Households. Interviews were held with FHH who were widows, ex-combatants, girls and women who were married during their teens, differently-abled women and single women. Data was collected from selected areas in Jaffna, Vavuniya and Batticaloa Districts and key informant interviews were conducted with government officials and individuals from Community Based Organizations, who work in these areas. Information from various institutions was used to triangulate data collected. Observation methods were also used. The villages selected from the Jaffna Distirct were Ketpali, Manthuvil and Puttur. In Vavuniya the villages of Olumadu, Nainamadu and Sinna Adampan were selected. In Batticaloa, the villages of Ampilanthurai and Munaikkadu were selected.

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3. Findings and Analysis


3.1. Definition of Women Heads of Households

The very first issue explored was to understand how women themselves viewed the definition of who female heads of households were. 86% of the sample had been widowed while others were FHH due to separation (8.1%), never being married (3.7%) or married and abandoned (1.9%). FHHs had an average of two children. 88.5% of the respondents have children between the ages of one to six. FHH include women who are widows (57.4%), whose husbands have disappeared (4.8%), separated by legal or illegal means (18.9%), they are confused about the term (3.7%), have no family members (1.5%), or the husband has been abducted (2.6%). All of the respondents expressed their understanding of this terminology in different ways, but always in relation to their status Another aspect to note here vis a vis the males in their family. Broadening the definition of FHH has not been considered with any seriousness in Sri Lanka. This study attempted to broaden this understanding based on the experience of working in conflictaffected regions. Often FHH are seen as a homogenous group, be it at the national policy level, at the implementation level or at the community level. The study revealed that a majority of FHH were married and widowed (of various age groups), others had separated from their spouses or spouses had disappeared/abducted and a small proportion were single and living on their own and abandoned by their husbands. This not only points to the heterogeneity of this group of women that spans across various age ranges, but also that they have come to their status of FHH from different circumstances. As with the usual notion many of them have had husbands who have passed on but with others, the male connection is varied or as in the case of single women, does not appear to exist at all, to define them as FHH. Most FHH who participated in the study (93%) had been affected by the war directly or indirectly by a loss of a husband, missing, injured, displaced, loss of properties. Another aspect to note here is that the term FHH has different meaning for different women, which has implications from programmatic and policy perspectives. The use of the term in a conventional way means that some women who are indeed FHH would be missed by recovery and development interventions and policy approaches when beneficiary inputs are sought, selection is undertaken and assistance provided. It could also have implications on the nature of assistance that is provided to such women.

is that the term FHH has different meaning for different women, which has implications from programmatic and policy perspectives. The use of the term in a conventional way means that some women who are indeed FHH would be missed by recovery and development interventions and policy approaches when beneficiary inputs are sought, selection is undertaken and assistance provided. It could also have implications on the nature of assistance that is provided. such women.

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3.2.

Health Conditions

The trauma of war is apparent in these women. A majority had some form of war injury trauma, non communicable disease, or disability. 77.8% obtained medication occasionally, 16.3% attended clinics regularly, and 4.1% for specific treatment and a few (1.4%) accessed a mobile clinic. 47.4% were able to access the town hospitals, 28.5% village clinics, 10.4% traditional healers, 5.9% Ayurvedic hospitals, 7.8% temple priest, Siddha medicine and Acupuncture specialists. On average women who participated in the study were less than 50 years old and appeared to be inhibited by some form of injury sustained from the war (physical and emotional), non-communicable diseases and hearing impairments. This indicates that while illnesses maybe considered to be affecting older FHH, the reality of their health conditions might be different, which could also have implications on their ability to access and engage in livelihoods and other community activities and care for dependents. The manner in which FHH tend to be excluded from society could also stem from this reality, where ill health might prevent them from taking on active roles in community and community development.

A majority of respondents in the study have received some form of assistance from government and nongovernmental sources to commence livelihood activities. They note the following criteria for being eligible for assistance; total loss, loss of a husband, loss of livelihood property, and dependency being the main factors. However, there are many who still do not receive any assistance.

3.3.

Poverty

In Sri Lanka, there has been a significant increase in the percentage of widowed women in recent years. The main causes are death of males in civil war, those who go missing, who are abducted and those in custody. The concept of targeting female headed households to reduce poverty in the community remains contentious and lacks rigorous evidence. Women, who are usually the bread winners in female headed households, face gender discrimination with respect to education, income, social rights, and economic opportunities. The study reveals that the mean incomes of the widowed were Rs. 3,875 per month. When they earn a daily wage, they earn between LKR300-400 per week by working two-three days. This is limiting and does not help meet daily needs. In some instances they have to borrow from their neighbours for their daily food needs.

3.4.

Livelihoods

Access to livelihood assistance is a key concern for FHHs within the post-war context. These women are often the most vulnerable and affected by poverty albeit poverty figures are not available for this group at the national level. They are however characterised by limited income generation opportunities given their situation. A majority of respondents in the study have received some form of assistance from government and non-governmental sources to commence livelihood activities. They note the following criteria for being eligible for assistance; total loss, loss of a husband, loss of livelihood property, and dependency being the main factors. However, there are many who still do not receive any assistance.

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FHH are engaged in a range of livelihood activities. 24.8% of women in this study are employed in various state sector jobs, 11.9% of them were unemployed but seeking jobs, very few of them 2.6% were not interested in seeking employment, some of them 5.6% engage in household work only, while some were unable to work because of a disability (2.2%). A majority of them however engage in wage labour working in rice mills, in paddy fields and chena cultivation as well as engaging in small scale businesses such as running grocery shops, processing and selling rice, sewing, and making milk products for sale. These industries are most often home-based and of a very simple nature, not always being done in line with market demands and opportunities but rather to supplement and provide subsistence income. Many feel they need to improve their skills, while others do not feel the need to improve their skills.

Just over half the respondents desired a permanent source of income, the ability to raise capital for livelihoods, capacity development, technology and materials, access to home-based industries, self-employment opportunities, business advise etc. A majority (87.4%) were dissatisfied with the livelihood programmes they had access to. They aspire to be independent and to be able to support their children while improving their wellbeing.

Just over half the respondents desired a permanent source of income, the ability to raise capital for livelihoods, capacity development, technology and materials, access to home-based industries, self-employment opportunities, business advise etc. A majority (87.4%) were dissatisfied with the livelihood programmes they had access to. They aspire to be independent and to be able to support their children while improving their wellbeing.

3.5.

Participation in decision making

FHHs involvement in community participation has been advocated as a way to improve the quality of public projects and services. The study finds that community involvement is more effective than when FHHs are given specific tasks along with training to develop livelihoods. This could also suggest that participation can be enhanced if coupled with livelihood activities, which can be used to meet needs at the household level. If women have these option they would be able to prioritize their involvement in community activities to a greater extent. This study also reveals that most of them (84.4%) had participated in the community activities and few (15.4%) had not. The study also finds that the nature of community involvement is at a very basic, simplistic and mundane level. A majority of women from FHH (53.3%) were mainly involved in community meeting at the village, while 40% were involved in CBO meetings and activities and a small proportion (7%) were involved in meetings held by NGOs and other departments. The low number of participation in meetings and activities undertaken by non-community actors could point to aspects of inability of participation due to commitments, lack of a concerted effort on the part of these actors to include FHH in their discussions, inability to identify FHH along a heterogeneous set of criteria. Despite this the interest to participate in development programmes is high

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(58%) but a sizable proportion of women are not interested which could indicate the effects of a dependency culture in the immediate aftermath of the war. Women are part of the Public Assistance Monthly Allowance (PAMA) 16 (40%), Samurdhi17 (26%), war related compensation (6%), housing scheme recipients (10%), loan and credit recipients (5%) and livelihood support recipients (14%).

Access to capacity development for most FHH is limited. The decisions to provide such opportunities are made by local government officials and clearly they seem to be missing out on those who need these services the most. FHH express facing discrimination from these officials and local development societies. They also worry that they would be unable to pay back loans and have a reluctance and lack of confidence to join economic ventures. Female participation in decision making within the community and interaction was perceived to be very low with women stating reason of feeling threatened/fear, lack of family support, having to maintain households and look after children, pressure from family members to not attend, and health conditions. Interestingly however, the study finds that most FHH take decisions related to their own households themselves while for quarter of respondents these decisions are taken by extended family members. Those who take decisions do so for household expenses (60%), related to extended family (30.4%), their children (9.6%). Decisions related to children are quite low despite a majority of women feeling that they have opportunities to make decisions. It was reported that 57.8% of FHH were very interested in participating in the development activities and around 41.5% of the respondents were not interested to participate in the developmental programmes. This study also found that respondents were involved in available development programmes in their areas of residence. FHH express facing stigma within their own families. They claim they are treated differently, are not spoken to with respect, are invited to some events as opposed to others (funerals and not to weddings) and this has limited their participation in family event as well as in public events.

FHH express facing stigma within their own families. They claim they are treated differently, are not spoken to with respect, are invited to some events as opposed to others (funerals and not to weddings) and this has limited their participation in family event as well as in public events.

4. Stakeholders Meetings
Before finalizing the conclusions and recommendations, meetings with various stakeholders were held in Jaffna, Batticaloa and lastly in Habarana. Government officials and senior managers of NGOs who work on women related programmes, and members of the networks of FHH were invited to these meetings to validate the findings. While, the district level meetings were with district level stakeholders, the meeting at Habarana was with national level actors. The discussions in all three meetings were extremely lively, with the participants fully engaged with the issues at hand. In the North, the discussion was around the restrictions placed by the military in the areas where the research had been conducted
16

A social protection programme run by the state providing a monthly allowance of Rs.1,000 to people over the age of 70 years. 17 A state safety nets programme targeting poor below the poverty line.

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(Ketpali). They discussed some aspects of the Thesawalamai18 as being obstacles for the full enjoyment of property rights of women in Jaffna. The social services officers shared their field experiences of working with widows. They had to also face criticisms from amongst the FHH present in the meeting. The womens NGOs were able to share some of the good practices in supporting livelihood projects for the women. New recommendations came from the floor in every one of these meetings which were also duly recorded. The growing indebtedness amongst women of the North and East, where private Banks and finance institutions were virulently marketing their credit programmes were described by them. It was suggested that the Divisional Secretary along with the Women Development Officer and the Social service Officer should seek meetings with such institutions to discuss a viable method of implementing a credit programme in their area. This could bring opportunities for their credit programme to be supportive and supplementary to the self employment projects carried out by the government and not allow it to be independent of it and exploitative of the women.

5. Consultations with the FHHs


Meanwhile, Viluthu conducted a series of consultations with groups of FHHs in all the project districts of Viluthu, where they were able to voice their concerns problems and the solutions they proffered. Altogether consultations with 72 forums of FHH were conducted. Each area focused on problems specific to them. These were collected in the form of a Memorandum which was adopted at a conference of FHHs held in Batticaloa on the 21 st of November. The recommendations/suggestions of this memorandum were also added to the final list of recommendations of the research report.

6. Conclusions and Recommendations


Government statistics regarding FHH vary at every level due to the lack of a universally accepted definition of FHH. An official definition for FHH must be arrived at in order to account for them in national plans.

A majority of women in the study are confronted with multiple constrains. The study revealed that many of the women are psycho-socially affected by the war and by post war conditions. The creation of a facilitating environment is necessary to increase the livelihood options of the women affected by conflict in the areas under study. For this to happen, future planning process and development interventions need to consider carefully the scope in the North and East, nature and burden of different livelihood options open to women in FHHs. FHHs access to livelihood opportunities especially those related to traditional livelihoods that are being revived in war affected regions limit opportunities and add to conditions of poverty. In instances when women are involved in village activities, they are more aware of rights and responsibilities and have better 27

18

The personal law pertaining to Tamils from Jaffna peninsula

leadership skills. Initiatives need to build on such successes and provide more opportunities so that women can move out of poverty and improve their wellbeing. Fertilizer and other subsidy schemes need to be open to women who engage in highland cultivation. Since women are engaged in wage labour in the agriculture sector they should be supported to unionize. Also, Government livelihood support programmes must have no age limit and be applicable to all women headed households regardless of age. These results do offer an important insight to government policy makers that they should be targeting specific groups in pursuit of reducing poverty and vulnerability.

Civil society should take steps to promote greater representation of FHHs women in the local government elections and political parties must ensure that they mentor and give women from FHH the opportunity to contest elections.

Local organizations, such as CBOs and WRDSs and their work and role within the community should be promoted and strengthened. They should also be given opportunities to engage in and enter decision making levels in other CBOs and local institutions that are not dominated by women. Government and civil society should implement cost-effective, innovative programmes, based on indigenous approaches to healing the psychosocial effects of the war on FHHs. Womens property rights must be ensured and guaranteed including the property rights of FHHs who have no access to such rights. Bureaucratic inertia and resistance to ensuring these rights must be addressed. Demilitarisation - the scaling down of military presence in areas of the North and East must commence immediately and military involvement in civilian affairs must be stopped. A pension scheme for widows that provides for a living allowance must be implemented urgently. A special education allowance should be provided for children who live below the poverty line.

Information about the whereabouts of missing and disappeared loved ones must be supplied to FHH together with the expedition of the cases of those in detention. All those without charges must be released forthwith. Legal aid for those in detention and provision of adequate information to their families regarding the progress of their cases is essential. Most importantly, issuance by the government of a certificate for the "disappeared' which is accepted in lieu of 28

a death certificate by state and judicial processes for all official transactions, such as the issuance and renewal of land permit holdings, transfer of property, enrolling children in school, obtaining compensation. Women police officers must also be appointed to inquire into cases of the missing and the disappeared since constant visits by male police officers to women headed households creates space for possible violence/sexual harassment in addition to community gossip, all of which adversely impact women.

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Chapter 3 Female Ex-combatants in post-war Sri Lanka: Experiences from selected regions in Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Mannar, Vavuniya, Batticaloa, Ampara and Trincomalee districts

By Home for Human Rights Introduction and background19


The estimated number of female ex-combatants, in Sri Lanka post-war, is over 3000 and the reintegration of female ex-combatants into society is a complex issue at many levels. These include at community, region and national level as well as economically, socially and culturally.20 The lack of employment and education, which impacts on their ability to live a normal life, is the main concern. Employers are reluctant to hire rehabilitated ex-combatants. They are not considered normal women because they were part of the LTTE and are perceived to be trouble makers.21 Additionally, at a socio-cultural level, marriage options for female ex-combatants are problematic in conservative Tamil society.

The role of these women as combatant has challenged their traditional positioning and function in Tamil society. Hence when they attempt to reintegrate they are perceived to be transgressors and misfits and they are unable to effectively reintegrate into post war Tamil society.

The role of these women as combatant has challenged their traditional positioning and function in Tamil society. Hence when they attempt to reintegrate they are perceived to be transgressors and misfits and they are unable to effectively reintegrate into post war Tamil society. These women therefore face discrimination in both public and private spheres. Society at large rejects them on the basis that they took up arms and fought alongside with men shattering the view that women are submissive, and their role was mainly that of wives and mothers.22 However the change to their very identities is often underestimated,
19

This sections also draws from Female ex-combatants of Sri Lanka: A Literature Review, Home for Human Rights, 2013 (unpublished) 20 DushiyanthiniKanagasabapathipillai, Post-war Sri Lanka denies rights of women ex-combatants, online <http://www.ethicsinaction.asia/archive/2013-ethics-in-action/2013V7N1/2013V7N1P8>. MsDushiYanthiniKanagasabapathipillaiis a journalist since 20 years in Sri Lanka. She was the first Tamil woman journalist in Sri Lanka who is able travel on her own to the war zone. 21 Valkyrie (contributor to the ground views website), Female ex-combatants of LTTE in post-war Sri Lanka February 2012 online: <http://groundviews.org/2012/02/24/female-ex-combatants-of-ltte-in-post-war-sri-lanka/>. 22 Video Female ex-combatants of LTTE in post-war Sri Lanka, online: <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yr8ioJqIeLo>.

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unacknowledged and considered in very limited ways.23 The trauma the ex-combatants have faced cannot be discounted. Years of war have resulted in trauma such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), adjustment disorders, depression, and somatization. It is crucial that government pays attention to this and that therapy is offered as a part of the reintegration process.24 The main focus of this research study conducted by HHR is to identify the ground situation of the female ex-combatants who were reintegrated after the rehabilitation process.

After the end of war in 2009, many LTTE members surrendered, and were subsequently transferred to detention centres and Protective Accommodation and Rehabilitation Centres (PARCs) 25. They participated in various activities such as adult literacy classes and technical and vocational training, which were done to improve the ex-LTTE caders skill sets, thereby providing them with greater opportunities for reintegration. 26 According to the Minister for Prisons Reforms and Rehabilitation, only 700 ex-combatants of 11,000 remain in the rehabilitation centres. Of these, 3,000 were estimated to be women. Generally speaking, Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) processes mainly focused on male combatants who played active military roles. This approach neglects the complex roles that women played during the war. The roles, experiences and the empowerment of the female ex-combatants need to be discussed and compared within the current context. Even after the rehabilitation process, we found, the women are both afraid and unable to speak openly to their family or community members. The women were sent back to their societies in which the traditional norms and values remained the same. This puts female ex-combatants in a vulnerable position. They are faced with a variety of rights violations such as the restriction to freedom of movement, domestic violence, sexual harassments and military surveillance. This chapter draws from a study undertaken by the Home for Human Rights (HHR)27 with
23

The women were sent back to their societies in which the traditional norms and values remained the same. This puts female ex-combatants in a vulnerable position. They are faced with a variety of rights violations such as the restriction to freedom of movement, domestic violence, sexual harassments and military surveillance

The Social Architects South Asia,Haunted By Her Yesterdays, March 2013 <online: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSSv9Kk3tkI>. 24 Ruwan M. Jayatunge, Psychosocial Rehabilitation Of The War Affected Sri Lankan Combat Veterans (2013) Colombo Telegraph 25 PARCs were situated in Welikanda, Poonthoddam, Nelukkulam Technical Centre, where ex-combatants were transferred for rehabilitation. 26 The speech delivered by Brig.D.D.U.K. Hettiarrachchi RSP USP psc on Reintegration of ex-combatants and challenges 27 Home for Human Rights is an Organization committed to promote the culture of human rights in Sri Lanka; by

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the aim of improving the understanding of the diverse challenges that female excombatants face in post-war Sri Lanka. The study used a review of secondary information, a survey and focus group discussions to collect information. These methods were used to evaluate the situation of the female ex-combatants in eight districts. Due to security concerns the respondents were selected through HHRs network. The rehabilitated female ex-combatants did not want give/face to face interviews to avoid harassment from military personnel. Therefore data collectors identified the persons who were willing to face the interview. 128 rehabilitated female ex-combatants from 8 districts - Jaffna, Mannar, Killinochchi, Mullaitheivu, Vavuniya, Batticaloa, Akkaraipattu, Trincomalee were interviewed. Populations in the North and East continue to face difficulties related to employment, displacement, militarization, disappearances and the rule of law. Ex-LTTE cadres, especially women, are particularly vulnerable in these regions. Great strides, in development, have been taken in some areas, in post war Sri Lanka, and infrastructure is the most common example cited. However, such an approach is limiting. Following the rehabilitation programmes, women are sent back to their former communities, trained in a new set of skills. They are not supported to use the skills acquired through their experience as cadre in a range of areas i.e. construction, driving, administration, etc.28 Instead female ex-cadre have been forced to return to their more traditional roles within their respective communities and this has created a mismatch between acquired skills and existing experiences.29

1. Findings 2.1 Women and security


Right to equality essentially substantive equality is a necessity in order to enjoy rights without any barriers/restrictions. Therefore the reintegrated female ex-combatants require affirmative action and services to allow them the possibility of enjoying all the entitlements of citizenship without discrimination.
working towards fostering democratic principles and values and advocating for individuals who face discrimination against.HHR is a Charitable Trust and works all over Sri Lanka with a special focus with regard to conflict-affected populations. Home for Human Rights began as an informal association of three lawyers in the North in reaction to the 1977 communal riots. It is one of the first legal aid clinics to support victims and survivors of the ongoing internal conflict by providing evidence on the violations perpetrated by state actors to the governments Sansonic commission. By 1991 HHR became a Charitable Trust with a mission to preserve, protect and prevent violations of human rights in Sri Lanka based on the UN covenants on Economic, Social and Cultural rights and on Civil and Political Rights. HHR has now expanded to include the following programs: Legal Defence (LD), Investigations and Documentation (ID), Womens Desk (WD), Exploring Human Rights and Norms (EHRN) within the internal conflict. These programs are delivered through the national office based in Colombo and branch offices situated in Jaffna, Mannar, Vavuniya, Killinochchi, Mullaitheivu, Akkaraipattu, Batticaloa and Hatton.
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Female ex-combatants of LTTE in post war of Sri Lanka By Shamila in Groundviews. http://groundviews.org/2012/02/24/female-ex-combatants-of-ltte-in-post-war-sri-lanka/ (Last accessed on May 17,2013) 29 th Subramaniam Sivakamy alias Thamilini becomes a free bird By D.B.S.Jeyaraj in Daily Mirror Saturday, 6 July 2013.:http://www.dailymirror.lk/opinion/dbsjeyaraj-column/31628-subramaniam-sivakamy-aliasthamilini-becomes-afree-birdn.html(Last accessed on July 6,2013)

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The most pressing issue that threatens female ex-combatants life is military surveillance. In post war areas the high security zones and the number and presence of military personnel are generally the visible threats to community members. Ex-combatants are compelled to face frequent military visits and inquiries; they have to report to civil offices and forced to participate in government sponsored programs. Female ex-combatants have returned to communities that are still dealing with distressingly high levels of militarization. Many women are very afraid to move around; so their freedom of movement has been undermined by a fear of the military. When female ex-combatants do Female ex-combatants have move from place to place, they frequently face returned to communities inquiries from Sri Lankan military personnel. 27% of that are still dealing with women report to military civil offices in their distressingly high levels of respective villages. The monthly reporting system at the military civil office is very onerous under the provision of reporting. On certain occasions, these women have allegedly been requested to provide sexual favours in return for help with reporting or registration processes. The fact that many of these women no longer have husbands exacerbates this already difficult situation. This unwanted situation pushes the women to vulnerable positions and is a basic violation of their personal rights. 42% of respondents noted that they are under the continuous monitoring of military personnel. This hinders womens personal security. It also brings about a certain community perception of female former combatants that results in further discrimination and marginalisation since the community is suspicious of these women and seek to keep them away from general community events. 9.4% have been forced to join the Civil Security Department (CSD) to work on state run farms. The recruitment process for the CSD was carried out by military forces. This facilitates and further intensifies surveillance and limits their ability to get back to civilian life. Many female ex- combatants refuse to go by themselves to make a complaint at a police station fearing that they will be the victims of more intimidation or that they will be interrogated. This means that many are forced to remain silent and not report violent incidents.

militarization. Many women are very afraid to move around; so their freedom of movement has been undermined by a fear of the military. When female ex-combatants do move from place to place, they frequently face inquiries from Sri Lankan military personnel. 27% of women report to military civil offices in their respective villages.

2.2 Rehabilitation and reintegration


Rehabilitation and reintegration is the most important turning point in the life of female excombatants post-war. The governments process of rehabilitation was designed on the 34

whole for ex-combatants however no consultation took place with them during the designing process. 28% of women ex-combatants have not willingly been involved in rehabilitation programs while 45% of women were not satisfied with the rehabilitation training they received from the state. During the transition, female ex-combatants suffered physical and mental trauma due to mass displacement and human rights violations experienced during the course of the war. However the rehabilitation process did not recognise this reality and women ex combatants were just kept at rehabilitation centres and expected to accommodate themselves to the DDR process without any remedial measures being taken to deal with war related trauma. The female ex-combatants who have gone through the states rehabilitation program are normally asked to participate in all functions which During the transition, female are organized by governmental institutions ex-combatants suffered especially those involving military personnel. This poses clear problems. If they choose not to physical and mental trauma participate in certain organized events, they fear due to mass displacement reprisals from the military may be severe. 13% have and human rights violations taken part in government sponsored public functions experienced during the which were organized by the security forces. course of the war. However Women also face challenges when the family or community does not accept them leading to failure of reintegration. 19% of women are unable to conduct their normal life after the rehabilitation because they have been ex-combatants in the past.

In general every woman has specific experiences and skills according to their personalities. They utilize those skills and experiences to help them achieve as good a standard of living as they can in order to face challenges which they come across in their day-to-day life. 55% of the former women combatants however are unable to make use of the experiences and skills which they have acquired before they have been reintegrated with the community. Continuous intimidation and harassment have even resulted in some female ex- combatants not speaking to each other when they meet in public places. The women were reintegrated with their families and communities through various processes. When they were sent back to the community, the community was not educated about how they have to respond to rehabilitated female ex-combatants. Once the women who have completed their rehabilitation programme are sent back to their families, the welcome they receive does not enable them to reintegrate in a very conducive atmosphere. The rehabilitated female ex-combatants are facing challenges to change the role and

the rehabilitation process did not recognise this reality and women ex combatants were just kept at rehabilitation centres and expected to accommodate themselves to the DDR process without any remedial measures being taken to deal with war related trauma.

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behaviours they had during the war period. The social and cultural constraint prevents them to make use of the experiences and skills they have acquired from working within the movement. This situation compels the women to face violence from different members of society and society also tries to exploit the combatants current situation and vulnerabilities. The women are not provided with a safe and enabling space to share their sorrows and feelings freely. They are afraid to share these feelings and burdens from their past and present life. The community approaches them with a guarded, negative perspective and treat them as a marginalised group and the community is not ready to encourage/promote the betterment of a combatants life.

2.3 Social, economic and cultural issues


38% of former women combatants are unable to make use of the skills they acquired during their years of militancy. During reintegration the women are sent back to communities, which are still steeped in patriarchal norms and values that existed prior to the conflict. The women go into the family or community where they are required to stifle any sense of freedom, autonomy or agency they had previously gained. Women also have difficulties to reintegrate themselves in the present community context after rehabilitation because they are labelled as ex-combatants, have very little recognition in their communities, are dependent, are still affected by the trauma from the war, and the continuous surveillance from military. The lack of satisfaction in the rehabilitation process is largely due to capacity development opportunities being short-term, vocational skills being unsuitable, and other limited educational opportunities. A lack of employment opportunities constitutes another major challenge for female ex- combatants. 45% of the respondents are not satisfied with the rehabilitation process because they feel their needs are not being met. Many of these women have no savings and are not seen as viable for investment loans or assistance as they are unable to meet the requirements of banks or other financial institutions for collateral. Many of these women engage in housework, which is unpaid, and wage labour, which is periodic and temporary. 51% have received livelihood support from different organizations but the support has not enabled them to develop a livelihood activity that is long-term and sustainable. In relation to state provided financial assistance, 26% of respondents have obtained financial assistance from the Ministry of Prison Reforms and 36

The women are not provided with a safe and enabling space to share their sorrows and feelings freely. They are afraid to share these feelings and burdens from their past and present life. The community approaches them with a guarded, negative perspective and treat them as a marginalised group and the community is not ready to encourage/promote the betterment of a combatants life.

Rehabilitation. Usage of this support is monitored by local military personnel, which adds to continuous scrutiny and surveillance rather than offering a meaningful support to develop livelihoods. The current income earned is mainly less than LKR.5,000 or between LKR.5,000 LKR.10,000. 21% of respondents are female headed households and this makes them the sole income earner, which is even more challenging given the social, cultural and economic issues they face. Many of them are dependent on their families. When these women returned to their homes, their houses were usually not in a condition to ensure their physical security. Existing housing conditions have forced the women to move away and seek refuge with their relatives, neighbours or with religious organizations creating a situation where they are dependent upon others.

Many women wear the pottu, mainly worn by married women, as a form of protection from violence. They feel it helps ensure their physical security and protects them from stigma from the community who look down on single women living alone etc. If a man helps such a family, it is not welcomed or supported by the rest of the community as the whole family is labelled as an ex-combatant family. 43% of respondents faced challenges at the initial stage of reintegration, including being considered promiscuous if they leave the house in the evening to get provisions. At times, female ex-combatants struggle to gain acceptance from their own family members with some members fearing the implications of such labeling. 25% of reintegrated female combatants have been ostracized from marriage celebrations due to their past. On many occasions, families try to control these women who have returned from battle; as a result, some women end up feeling trapped. They may not participate in decision-making or family discussions. Additionally, unmarried young women may have trouble getting married due to their previous association with the LTTE. Also the women released were not clear as to whether they will be re-arrested or not. The women suffer much anguish due to the fear of being re-arrested. 23% of respondents have no certainty that they will not be re-arrested again. This adds to feelings of fear, uncertainty, limited movement, and being unable to move on with their lives in general. The ex-combatants situation not only affects individuals but also impacts family members , resulting in the stigma being excluded. As a consequences Job opportunities, community

Many women wear the pottu, mainly worn by married women, as a form of protection from violence. They feel it helps ensure their physical security and protects them from stigma from the community who look down on single women living alone etc. If a man helps such a family, it is not welcomed or supported by the rest of the community as the whole family is labelled as an ex-combatant family. 43% of respondents faced challenges at the initial stage of reintegration, including being considered promiscuous if they leave the house in the evening to get provisions.

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relationship and personal security of family members are also affected. Measures are not in place to ensure improvements to wellbeing of rehabilitated female ex-combatants.

2. Conclusions and recommendations


The challenges which female ex-combatants face are complicated. For the vast majority, the reintegration process has not gone smoothly with genuine assimilation remaining a distant dream. Under high levels of militarization, the freedom of movement, freedom of expression and freedom of association for female ex- The challenges which female excombatants have been greatly restricted. These women are compelled to live in fear; many are combatants face are suffering from depression. complicated. For the vast Many women who participated in interviews are Female Heads of Household. They have the ability to take care of their family members, but they are not receiving any support from their respective communities. Ex-combatants need additional support and training to improve their lives going forward. Additionally, many female ex-combatants are still missing husbands who fought alongside them; this has created profound problems. They need emotional support, but community members and government officials have not been able to address this need. Some female ex-combatants have been forced to get married in order to ensure their safety; these forced marriages have also created problems for women.

majority, the reintegration process has not gone smoothly with genuine assimilation remaining a distant dream. Under high levels of militarization, the freedom of movement, freedom of expression and freedom of association for female excombatants have been greatly restricted. These women are compelled to live in fear; many are suffering from depression.

Recommendations to Government of Sri Lanka and Civil Society Organizations:


To allow female ex-combatants to enjoy to the full their rights as citizens of Sri Lanka in the after their reintegration. To create support and counseling services to meet the psycho-social needs of female ex-combatants in the countrys conflict-affected areas. To provide additional financial resources to female ex- combatants to defray the cost of infrastructure such as housing, toilet facilities and wells.

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To create additional livelihood opportunities for female ex-combatants. To have local officials such as Grama Niladharis or Womens Development Officers monitor the reintegration of female ex-combatants and provide additional support as needed. To consult with the rehabilitated female ex-combatants with regard to future policy/project design and implementation. To allow civil society groups and community based organizations the opportunity to play a mediation role to help/assist the combatants in the process of reintegration.

Recommendations to the UN and the International Agencies working on Post War Recovery:
To provide sex disaggregated data on the rehabilitated ex-combatants. To ensure the Right to Rehabilitation to all the female ex-combatants. To advocate for female ex-combatants to enjoy their rights as citizens of Sri Lanka after their reintegration. To ensure health and psycho-social support to the female ex-combatants to reduce the health issues and increase the emotional wellbeing of the ex-combatants. To advocate for expeditious conduct of investigations on the complaints which are recorded at the law maintaining institutions and ensure that offenders are punished. To guarantee the personal security of female ex-combatants to carry on with their lives as normal citizens of the country.

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Chapter 4 Securing Land Rights for Women Affected by War: The case of three border villages in Anuradhapura district
By Rajarata Praja Kendraya 1. Introduction and background
Sri Lanka is often considered a frontrunner in South Asia and more recently as a lower middle income country with some significant positive performance in the social sector due to key welfare benefits resulting from free health and education policies. Sri Lanka has therefore been able to focus some energy on reducing poverty and Anurdhapura had a improving human capabilities. However these benefits population of 855,562 in 1 are not uniform and there are serious shortfalls in 2011 . Over the course of some of the more marginalised regions and the 30-year old conflict, communities. villages on the border of the This chapter draws from a study30 undertaken by the Rajarata Community Centre (Rajarata Praja Kendraya)31 based in the Anuradhapura district. The main objectives of this study were to assess the nature of land access by women in a region which was affected by war and understand existing perspectives related to womens access and rights to land with the community.

The research related to this study was conducted in selected regions of the North Central Province, a region that has two districts; Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura32. Both districts border the area in the North and East that was directly affected by the war. These border regions of Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura were also affected by the war over three decades and had a significant impact on the populations living in these regions. The region is also affected by climatic conditions; it is largely an arid climate being part of the dry zone that affects the largely agricultural
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war zone were attacked by Tamil militant groups, including the June 2006 attack that killed 60 civilians near Kebetigollewa. As a result of this violence and attendant fear civilians have been displaced, suffered damages to their homes and community infrastructure and have had to endure loss of income and livelihoods among other impacts.

The study adopted a mixed methods approach using both quantitative and qualitative techniques. Interviews were conducted with 60 households in Bogoda and Thalawalpotha villages in Vilachchiya DSD and 30 households in Yakawewa village in Kebithigollawa DSD in the Anuradhapura district. 31 Established in 1995 the organization attempts to raise issues relevant to the region affecting women. With the completion of five years as a vocational training center, it was registered with the Ministry of Tertiary Training as an accredited institution of Vocational Training in 2009. Presently it works on issues related to women, children and youth in seven DSDs. 32 Anuradhapura, the district of reservoirs, is also the largest administrative district of the country with 22 DSDs.

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landscape and livelihoods, especially paddy cultivation. Access to quality services and facilities in Anuradhapura district varies, with remote regions being the most affected. Anurdhapura had a population of 855,562 in 201133. Over the course of the 30-year old conflict, villages on the border of the war zone were attacked by Tamil militant groups, including the June 2006 attack that killed 60 civilians near Kebetigollewa. As a result of this violence and attendant fear civilians have been displaced, suffered damages to their homes and community infrastructure and have had to endure loss of income and livelihoods among other impacts. While the post-war context has created an environment for communities to return and rebuild their lives, homes and livelihoods, as with other war-affected communities there are challenges they faced both resulting from the conflict or exacerbated by it that need to be addressed. Land is one such issue that needs to be tackled. 34 The study was undertaken in Bogoda and Thalawalpotha villages in Vilachchiya Divisional Secretariat Division (DSD) and in Yakawewa village in the Kebetigollewa DSD. Kebetigollewa and Vilachchiya DSDs are considered two of the DSDs most affected by the war in the Anuradhapura district. Repeated attacks and counter attacks in these DSD areas made the villagers living here vulnerable to multiple displacement and they would move periodically to safer places. Issues explored in the study include; the experience of households in relations to land ownership and womens land ownership rights. It provides a basis for future civil society initiatives to reclaim the rights lost due to the war including the rights of land ownership by building awareness and providing information for evidence based action.

2. Aspects of land ownership35


State land to private individuals or institutions is provided through a variety of schemes while for private individuals, it is given primarily through permits and grants, which provide varying ownership rights. Permits are issued by the respective Divisional Secretaries to those who need state land and are only issued subject to several conditions, including fairly stringent conditions regarding the ability of a permit holder to dispose of the land. 36 Permit holders have to follow the conditions laid out in the permit. This land cannot be sold. It can be mortgaged with permission of the District Secretary. A permit can, however be converted to a grant after conditions are met37 and after a specific time period has passed.38 Permits are issued primarily through Land Development Ordinance and State Land Ordinance. Grants and
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Department of Census and Statistics, Population of Sri Lanka by District, Census Population and Housing Data 2011, pages 39, 42, 2012 34 Literature Review of land laws and issues, Mirak Raheem, unpublished 2013 35 This section draws from the Literature Review of land laws and issues, Mirak Raheem, unpublished 2013 36 Eastern Land, page 70 37 The conditions include; land is developed in a manner satisfactory to the GA House, toilet, and a fence is maintained on the land; a sum specified in the permit is paid annually to the DS; if the land is for agricultural purposes, the land is cleared and cultivated as specified in the Schedule to the permit; if the land is for agricultural purposes, the land has been lived on for at least 3 years; if the land is for housing purposes, the land has been lived in for at least one year; soil conservation methods are adopted; and the permit-holder is a citizen of Sri Lanka 38 Eastern Land, page 70

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deeds can be provided to individuals either outright or through the conversion of a permit by the State. Grants have been provided under several projects including Swarnaboomi, Jayabhoomi, Ranabhoomi and Ranbima.39 Even though grant or deed owners have greater rights over their land as compared to permit holders, there are restrictive conditions. Land cannot be further divided nor sold without permission of the District Secretary.40 The principle document to prove ownership of private land is a deed that has to be registered at the district land registry. 2.1 Womens ownership and access to land

Landlessness has been noted to affect both men and women and land related problems include lack of or loss of documentation, poverty, intra-family and other land disputes and loss of lands to development project. Women specific problems and challenges include deficiencies in land law and policies that discriminate against women despite equality being granted by the Sri Lankan constitution and the countries obligations under CEDAW. A study by CENWOR41 notes a clear gender divide in terms of perceptions of current laws relating to land rights in the settlement and inheritance of these lands being unfair to women both amongst men and women. 42 The tendency of state officers to grant sole ownership of land rights to men rather than joint ownership to both men and women, or outright to women is a key point that is highlighted by a number of reports. 43 It is drawn on the hypothesis that a woman must necessarily derive her economic support from her husband and there is no necessity for her to have an independent means of income. It should be noted that this contradicts the spirit of the laws on ownership of private property which recognizes the right of a married women to her separate property. 44 This view may be tied to the undervaluing of the role of women in society and in the home by various actors including the state. Jayaweera notes womens role in subsistence agriculture has been largely unacknowledged and that they have been perceived as farm

The tendency of state officers to grant sole ownership of land rights to men rather than joint ownership to both men and women, or outright to women is a key point that is highlighted by a number of reports.1 It is drawn on the hypothesis that a woman must necessarily derive her economic support from her husband and there is no necessity for her to have an independent means of income. It should be noted that this contradicts the spirit of the laws on ownership of private property which recognizes the right of a married women to her separate property.

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Citing the Ministry of Lands and Land Development, page 71 Eastern Land, page 70 41 CENWOR, Proposals on Reform to State Land and Housing Legislation and Policy, CENWOR, March 2008 42 CENWOR Women and Land Rights in Irrigation Settlement Schemes in Sri Lanka, page 55 43 Camena Guneratne, Women and Land Rights in Irrigation 2006, page 13; Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena and Jayantha de Almeida Guneratne, Is Land Just for Men?... September 2010, 56 44 CENWOR study Women and Land Rights in Irrigation Settlement Schemes in Sri Lanka, page 15

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wives rather than as female farmers working in partnership with men. 45 This is relevant to how women are seen in society at large. A CENWOR study notes that both women and men agreed that it was difficult for women to obtain stare land. This also relates to the concept of head of household which is perceived to be a male member pointing to the importance of understanding and dealing with views and perceptions of various stakeholders including women, on how society should function in addition to legal issues. Women should be seen to have equal rights to land, not because of a perceived sense of vulnerability or destitution. Beyond this, womens access to land depends on other factors including income, social status, ethnicity, caste and specific vulnerabilities including female headed households, disabilities and age. Land is administered by a number of government and state entities. At Central Government level there are a number of ministries; Land and Land Development, Ministries of Defence and Urban Development, Economic Development, Ports and Highways, and Irrigation and Water Resource Management.46 At the district level the central government has a structure that is overseen by the District Secretariat and the Divisional Secretary (DS) has significant powers over land, which was previously handled by the Government Agent (now District Secretary).47 A key actor involved in land issues is the Mahaweli Authority which is involved in the administration of land and irrigation in specific areas called Systems. 48 The war has impacted land access in numerous ways including loss of land documents both by the land owners and relevant government bodies responsible for administering the land; occupation of land by the military, police and other State actors; secondary occupation by other civilians; competing claims over properties; distribution of land by militant groups, including the LTTE and confusion over land boundaries.49 There are a few of reports that point to problems faced by specific groups such as women 50 minorities51 and individual communities,52 but research on these aspects are limited. 53 There is, however, very limited information on the post-war situation in Anuradhapura, including on efforts and problems resulting from displaced and other seeking to return and reclaim their land.
45 46

Re-written in CENWORs study Women and Land Rights in Irrigation Settlement Schemes in Sri Lanka, page 72 Some of the departments include : the Land Commissioner, the Department of Land Settlement, the Land Use Policy and Planning Division, the Survey Department and the Land Titling and Related Services Project. (Bhavani Fonseka, Landmines and Land Rights in Sri Lanka, Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining, August 2010) 47 See for further detail CPA Eastern Report, Annex III, page 83 48 http://www.mahaweli.gov.lk/Other%20Pages/Systems/Maps/PMU%20systems%20with%20Dis%20B.jpg 49 See Bhavani Fonseka and Mirak Raheem, Land in the Northern Province CPA, December 2011; Bhavani Fonseka and Mirak Raheem, Land in the Eastern Province CPA, May 2010. 50 International Crisis Group, Sri Lanka Womens Insecurity in the North and East, December 2011; Sophia Elek, Choosing Rice Over Risk Rights, Resettlement & Displaced Women, Centre for the Study of Human Rights, University of Colombo, 2003. 51 The Citizens Commission on Expulsion of Muslims from the Northern Province by the LTTE in October 1990, The Quest for Redemption: The Story of the Northern Muslims, November 2011. 52 Bhavani Fonseka and Mirak Raheem, High Security Zone and Special Economic Zone, CPA, September 2009; Herman Kumara, Resettlement of the Mullikulam People: Whither Reconciliation and Peace in the country? No date provided. 53 CPA has published a number of publications on land issues, including on post-war policies impacting land and displacement. CPA, Land and Property Rights of Internally Displaced Persons, February 2003; CPA, Womens Access to and Ownership of Land and Property in Batticaloa, Jaffna and the Vanni, (Conducted in CARE Lift Villages), September 2005; CPA, Basic Guide to State and Private Land, June 2011; Bhavani Fonseka and Mirak Raheem, Land in the Eastern Province Politics, Policy and Conflict, CPA, May 2010 Bhavani Fonseka and Mirak Raheem, Land in the Northern Province Post-War Politics, Policy and Practices, CPA, December 2011.

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3. Findings 3.1Land usage


This study has established that land ownership is among the most critical problems faced by warafflicted women in the study areas. Land falls into two broad categories: that which is owned by the state and that which owned by private individuals and institutions.

Interviews with women indicated that have limited benefits and access to land. Womens awareness of their right to own land was extremely poor. Access to the traditional freehold land areas has resulted in people living on and cultivating land regarded as irregularly occupied state land.

The population in the study regions have been affected by the war. This can be seen in the case of education, as many claim to have a limited level of education due to constant displacement, lack of facilities and lack of teachers or reluctance of teachers to travel to more remote and war affected villages. Unemployment amongst women is high with little improvements to their role in agriculture or in the household. Income sources to households are inadequate. Many women do not earn a living and households are dependent on single income sources, most often brought in by males who are employed in the Civil Defence Force, who earn a monthly wage. The Civil Defence Force (CDF) has a large presence in the region having control over land which they now used for cultivation and management of farmland. This accusation and usage of land obstructs civilian access to their paddy lands causing immense hardship to them. Villagers have also been cultivating permanent crops on state land demarcated as wild life reservations and face the consequences of crop loss when these lands are claimed by the wildlife department. Villagers cultivate and live on encroached lands. The government has delayed in granting permits for these lands because they are reserved lands. 4 families in the village Yakawewa live in their parents house because they do not have any other land to live on. They say this will be a big problem for them after the parents die and after their children become adults. Eight villages in Vilachchiya DSD and 6 villages in Kebithigollaewa DSD are deserted because of the war and destroyed by many years of neglect. A majority of people of Bogoda and Thalawalpotha villages in Vilachchiya live in different areas for cultivation purposes. Many male members of these households in Yakawewa village, Kebithgollawa DSD have enlisted in the CDF resulting in some women becoming destitute. Interviews with women indicated that have limited benefits and access to land. Womens awareness of their right to own land was extremely poor. Access to the traditional freehold land areas has resulted in people living on and cultivating land regarded as irregularly occupied state land. The state has not granted them permits for occupation as most of these lands are either considered forest reserves or land that is irregularly occupied. 45

Villagers lack of knowledge about land rights result in such irregular occupation and land use which continues to place them in vulnerable situations and renders them destitute.

3.2 Limited Livelihoods


Across the board these villages are affected by limited livelihood opportunities. They are largely dependent on agricultural livelihoods and there is a dearth of arable land and irrigation facilities. Climatic conditions in the region affect cultivation patterns and limited irrigation facilities prevent cultivation of land at an optimal level. The services and facilities, including health, education, transportation as well as livelihood related extension services are very limited, and the more remote the area the less availability of such services. As with regions within the North and East that have been affected by the war, these regions too are plagued with limited resource availability and opportunity. Unemployment is high, and people have limited skills. Women are mainly involved in household work and in rudimentary cultivation of paddy and highland crops. A majority of men work in the CDF with a monthly income that is insufficient to meet household needs. Respondents note that even though there is more freedom now than before, there have problems in obtaining lands for cultivation while scarcity of water is high.

3.3 Lack of Education


Education levels of both adults and youth are low and the inability to access livelihoods and alternative incomes are causing distress across the board, including for women. There is also high number of reports of households being affected by kidney disease in the villages and they have limited access to safe drinking water. While these households are highly dependent on aid, given the conditions, there are reports of early marriages and other social problems such as extramarital relations and domestic disputes. Villages in Anuradhapura district, especially those in areas bordering the north and east, have suffered directly and indirectly due to the war which continued for three decades. Kebathigollewa and Vilachchiya DSDs are such regions. Some of these villages were abandoned during the height of the war and have merged with the jungle. People moved to other areas that were safer and to cultivate land.

3.4 Vulnerabilities of Women


Men work in the CDF and women have become more vulnerable because, particularly to domestic violence because of this. Most, regardless of age have a low level of education and poor health. Women also have limited access to resources including land, which make them resort to alternative sources of income and underage marriage is high. When the situation of 90 families in the three villages are compared 80% of women do not have the right to land because of the way land is passed down within a family and conventional beliefs regarding a womans position within the household. Lack of awareness

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of land rights also impacts on womens limited access to lank. Womens low level of education is cited as a key reason. Womens access to land is low (80% do not have access) and when they do have it they do not have proof of ownership. In some cases they have no security (not even a land permit), living and cultivating land they do not have a right to. Only 10% of the women in the study have a right to land. There are resource conflicts between households and with officials who have cordoned off land as reserves which hinders chena cultivation. In terms of perception of land ownership, most respondents felt that women have the right to own land. However men in particular feel that women should not own land. Only 20% of men feel that women should have the right to land. On the other hand, 80% of women feel that dual ownership for land is suitable. This lack of awareness is raised in number of studies. In addition to a number of administrative problems and problems on the ground relating to land, the lack of awareness on land rights and documents is a serious issue and the need for awareness raising initiatives have been highlighted in these studies. 54 A number of attempts have been made to redress these concerns but the problems in relation to land ownership are so complex that these measures have not been effective on the ground. Publications in the form of leaflets or booklets to increase basic awareness have been produced by organizations such as the Centre On Housing Rights and Evictions (COHRE), the Centre for Womens Research (CENWOR), The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), while other organizations and individuals have researched specific aspects relating to land.55 Officials at the local level, especially the GN play a significant role in solving land issues while the DS was also mentioned; However most respondents felt that Land Development Officers were of very little use as they do not seem able to In terms of perception of intervene effectively in resolving land disputes.

4. Conclusions and recommendations


The study is a further reminder that the impacts of war are not limited to the North and East alone but have affected people directly in areas adjacent to the North and East. Moving forward in a post war context involves ensuring that people have access to productive resources including land. This has been a contentious issue prior to the war, during the war years and has become even more pertinent in the post-war context as the state tries to keep control over these resources for various gains. In focused discussions
54 55

land ownership, most respondents felt that women have the right to own land. However men in particular feel that women should not own land. Only 20% of men feel that women should have the right to land. On the other hand, 80% of women feel that dual ownership for land is suitable

CPA, Women, page 6; CPA, Northern Land, page 42 Literature Review of land laws and issues, Mirak Raheem, unpublished 2013

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some of those engaged in the research noted that even when they tried to use mechanisms such as the LLRC and its recommendation with regard to land to begin a processes of post war claims making, they were told that the LLRC recommendations did not apply to them. Another strongly held concern among both researchers and respondents in Anuradhapura was that post war recovery was perceived to apply only to the North and East and that areas in the Anuradhapura directly affected by the war the attendant concerns of residents in these areas were almost completely ignored by the State. The study clearly indicated that womens access to land is very limited, and this prevents them from being empowered. Furthermore, a majority of men in their communities do not feel that women have the right to land, or the right to control it despite their significant role in maintaining the land, farming it and protecting the crops grown on it. This is a huge gap in terms of addressing the issue, which moves beyond simple provision to ensuring that women have equitable rights to land access and ownership as well as making decisions related to land use and the use of the resources available on the land. There is an urgent need to educate people on their rights, which is beyond accessing land rights to include issues of human, womens and child rights. There is no system to obtain ownership of land, and the study recommends that this be done immediately. This system should also include womens access and be sensitive to their needs. 5. Recommendations

The needs of the communities living in the border areas of the Anuradhapura district that were affected by the war have to be assessed and relevant policies to address these needs must be put in place War destroyed infrastructure must be repaired and services reinstated Womens access to land must be studied and their right to equitable land rights and usage must be ensured Womens role in agriculture including subsistence agriculture must be acknowledged and valued on equal terms with men Women must be allowed to make decisions related to land resources There must be awareness raising on human rights that go beyond land rights and include the rights of women and the rights of children Relevant state authorities dealing with land should be instructed, made aware and be capacitated to provide gender sensitive information and services related to land ownership and usage, particularly to women Legislation that discriminate against women with regard to land ownership such as the Land Development Ordinance must be amended

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Chapter 5

Discrimination and Access to Justice: Muslim Women Seeking Remedies for Domestic Violence in Selected Regions of the Amparai and Batticaloa Districts
By Muslim Womens Research and Action Forum 1. Introduction and background
This chapter draws from a study done by Muslim Womens Research & Action Forums (MWRAF)56 and seeks to understand the situation and condition of women affected by domestic violence; and the consequences of such violence on their lives and the lives of their families. It also seeks to broaden insight into the services available to women affected by domestic violence and how they access such services. The study deals particularly with domestic violence perpetrated against Muslim women in selected areas of the Amparai and Baticaloa districts and their access to services.

Violence in these regions is high, and includes domestic violence meted out by husbands. Violence is caused due to a number of factors - male dominance; dependence of women on men; substance abuse by men; and multiple relationships. Women have little space to express their views within the family, household and in the community. This then affects their ability to speak about violence and intimidation. Women remain silent in the face of such abuse, unable to come out with their problems and seek help. Early marriage is also very common in these areas and it is permitted under the Muslim Marriages and Divorce Act (MMDA) which governs Muslim marriages, which does not stipulate a minimum age of

Women were subjected to violence during the period of war and widows were particularly vulnerable. In the post war context this is not very different but more women are receiving support to access legal services and other remedies to overcome gender based violence.

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MWRAF is an autonomous womens organisation working to improve the socio-legal empowerment of Muslim women and the protection of their rights as well as giving voice to womens concerns. MWRAF has worked actively in the Kalmunai area from 1998. After the Tsunami, Women Centres were started for women survivors initially as drop in centres for women who were living in camps where space was restricted for them. Subsequently these Centres evolved as a place where women can obtain counselling and legal advice on Marriages and Divorce, catering to all communities providing paralegal and psycho social counselling, legal aid through referrals to the Legal Aid Commission of Kalmunai, Mediation Board, Human Rights Commission Office in Kalmunai, Home for Human Rights Amparai District Office, Women and Childrens Desk of the Police, Probation and Child Care office. The Centres also network with the Gender Unit of the Hospital for psycho social counselling. In addition the centres also conduct rights based programmes such as awareness on the CEDAW convention and UNSCR 1325, the Domestic Violence Act of 2005, and reproductive health and rights.

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marriage. Younger women facing domestic violence find it even more difficult to discuss this problem openly. Women were subjected to violence during the period of war and widows were particularly vulnerable. In the post war context this is not very different but more women are receiving support to access legal services and other remedies to overcome gender based violence. The area where this research was carried out was also devastated by the Tsunami in 2004 and a majority of the affected were women who were also affected by violence.

2. Domestic violence in Sri Lanka57


Domestic violence tends to be a feature in male/female intimate partner relationships, where the victims are most often women. Violence takes many forms emotional, physical and verbal rooted in patriarchal power structures, social inequalities and the differing cultural roles of women and men. The effects of domestic violence on women who are disadvantaged based on their socio-economic background should be considered as it brings about different experiences and issues requiring specific and targeted responses. Further, dealing with violence in the domestic sphere requires interventions at various levels individual and structural. The prevalence and extent of violence in the districts of Batticaloa and Amparai is not available,58 but several micro studies have attempted to determine prevalence at various levels such as community, district and province. An OXFAM GB study in the East identified district level prevalence to be 27% in Batticaloa; 37% in Trincomalee; and 43% from Amparai as per reported violence.59 On a more positive note, women seem to be more open to accessing support services. A mapping by the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) identified at least 86 womens organisations around the country providing a range of support services to victim-survivors of domestic violence, including psycho-social support, legal counselling and shelters as well as services at the Police Children and Women Bureau Desks (Kodikara with Piyadasa 2012). Increasing complaints could be linked to increasing awareness, availability of services and possibly empowerment and agency of women. However the extent of women who confide in relatives or friends is unknown and possibly higher. A study by the Centre for Womens Research (CENWOR) of victim-survivors of domestic violence in nonpoor households found that 60.4% women had sought help of friends, family, and religious leaders to resolve their problem of domestic violence while the extent of women who had sought counselling and legal aid services and taken some action was
57 58

This section draws from a Literature Review on Domestic Violence in Sri Lanka by Chulani Kodikara, 2013 (unpublished) Although media reports and some studies cite a 2006 survey conducted by the Ministry of Child Development and Empowerment to the effect that 60% of women across Sri Lanka as well as 44% of pregnant women are subject to domestic violence, the source of these statistics is unclear. See for instance Domestic Violence: Facts, Legislation and reality by Sumaiya Rizvi, Daily Mirror, 25 February 2011 and Women Battered despite Domestic Violence law by Feizal Samath, 11 October 2010, which both cite these statistics. 59 Oxfam GB (2012) Survey Report on Gender Based Violence in the Oxfam Working Villages in the East of Sri Lanka, Colombo, Oxfam GB.

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low. Various other studies also point to low rates of reportage. The OXFAM GB study and other anecdotal evidence also suggest that reporting rates in the East are low. An unpublished study on domestic violence conducted by MWRAF with Muslim women from 13 districts with significant Muslim populations found that 71% of women had sought the assistance of other family members to deal with the incidence of domestic violence (MWRAF 2002). The OXFAM GB study found similar trends and found that problems were also taken to religious leaders. Womens attitudes towards violence against them and how they should deal with it also has a part to play when addressing issues of domestic violence. It is very much influenced by perceptions in society that a womans duty should be one of putting her family first, irrespective of any cost to herself. This attitude then results in women suffering domestic violence in silence to protect her family rather than herself. The Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) 2006/760 conducted by the Department of Census and Statistics finds that more than 50% of women believed that a husband is justified in beating his wife if she burns the food, argues with him, goes out without telling him, neglects the children, and refuses sexual relations with him. The ICES mapping found that social attitudes and resistance on the part of women themselves as one of the challenges to addressing the problem of domestic violence.61 The physical consequences of violence for women are many; minor and serious physical injuries, eating, sleeping and mental disorders, miscarriages etc Jayasundera (2012). 62 There may also be impacts on children and society (Oxfam GB 2013.

3. Legal remedies
It has always been possible to prosecute acts of violence and aggression within the home including spousal violence under Chapter XVI of the Penal Code of 1883 titled Offences affecting the Human Body or offences affecting Life. A number of Womens and Childrens Desks were established in police stations between 1993 and 1996, staffed by female police personnel to facilitate the handling of complaints of violence against women. However police inaction and low priority because these complaints are considered private matters is a continuous problem as is issuing warnings to perpetrators. The desks are inadequately staffed, poorly resourced and more likely to take up cases of child abuse than violence against women63 (CENWOR 1997). Officers at the Women's desk are also called for various other duties and language issues in the North and East, where many of the officers do not speak the language of the region i.e. Tamil are other challenges.

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Department of Census and Statistics (2009) Attitudes about violence against women, Demographic and Health Survey 2006/2007, Colombo. Pp 194-196. 61 Kodikara, Chulani with Piyadasa, Thiagi (2012). 62 Jayasundere Ramani (2012) Voices of Survivors: Case stories of Domestic violence Victims, Women In Need, Colombo 63 The first women and childrens bureau was in fact established in 1979 on the premise that crimes against children are best handled by women in the Police Force. While the functions of the bureau were to assist and protect both women and children, its focus appears to have been largely on child abuse and family conflict rather than on women as victims of violence (CENWOR 1997).

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The Prevention of Domestic Violence Act No. 34 was The women in the study who enacted in 2005, providing a civil remedy for persons affected by domestic violence, with some limitations reported domestic violence as identified by NGO groups. Victims can get were from households that protection from a Magistrates Court that can issue were largely dependent on an Interim Protection Order valid for 14 days. A traditional livelihoods (37%) Protection Order, valid for 12 months, which bars the such as agriculture and aggressor from committing further acts of violence fisheries as well as home and entering the victim-survivors residence, among other things, can then be sought on the basis of based livelihoods and small evidence presented before the court. In imposing trade. such conditions, the court is required to balance the needs (including that of accommodation) of the victim-survivor and children and any hardship that may be caused to the aggressor. The Act focuses on ensuring the safety of the victim-survivor by providing a civil remedy even while preserving his/her right to initiate separate civil or criminal action as permissible. The inclusion of marital rape in this context has also been raised.

4. Findings of the MWRAF Study


The MWRAF study was carried out in the Ninthavur, Sainthamaruthu and Kalmunai DS Divisions (DSD) in the Ampara District and Eravur DS division in the Batticaloa District in the Eastern Province. The DSDs have a mix of ethnic groups; Tamils and Muslims who engage in a range of livelihoods including fishing, agriculture, business and handloom weaving. Data was collected through 56 case studies using a structured question guide from Ninthavur, Sainthamaruthu, Kalmunai, Neelavanai in the Ampara District and Malikaikaadu, Sainthamaruthu, Kalmunai, Natpittimunai, Pandiruppu, Maruthamunai, Neelavanai and Eravur in Eravur DS Division in the Batticaloa district. All case studies were with Muslim women who were affected by domestic violence. Visits were made to womens houses two or three times. Existing information in the case files at the MWRAF from 2001-2012 was also included.

4.1 Women affected by violence


The women in the study who reported domestic violence were from households that were largely dependent on traditional livelihoods (37%) such as agriculture and fisheries as well as home based livelihoods and small trade. These women have low education levels; a majority (48%) of the respondents had not completed secondary education (up to Ordinary Level), and are economically dependent on a male member of the household, usually their husband although some women did earn an independent income. 41% of women who had faced violence had left their abusive relationships. However 67% of those women who had divorced did not have a source of income to manage their lives.

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Another common experience of women was that they had no independent income and no control of assets. This disempowered them making it difficult for them to talk about their abusive relationship outside the home and sometimes even within it. They couldnt do anything about the violence as they had no way to look after themselves and the children on their own, if the man threw them out of the house.

4.2 Womens experiences of violence


Women mentioned that in most cases, the violence had been continuous and regular, before they decided to approach anyone for help or take action about it. 30% of the women reported that they have been experiencing this violence in silence for about 2 to 5 years. Three women talked about the sexual violence they faced at the hands of their husbands. Even though marital rape and sexual violence within marriage is not legally recognised in Sri Lanka, it is obvious that this is an experience of women who face domestic violence. Box 1: Types of violence reported by women Attempted sexual assault Physical violence beating, kicking, beating with an instrument, throttling, slapping Physical violence beating (some while being pregnant), kicking, beating with an instrument, throttling, slapping, torture (burnt by cigarettes, stabbed and beaten) Verbal (using bad language, putting the, down, threatening bodily harm) Emotional abuse Control of assets (jewellery, property, money) Control of assets and verbal abuse and emotional abuse Attempted murder by husband including physical violence Sexual violence, emotional and verbal abuse by husband Abandonment 39.2% of the women spoke about their experiences in terms of physical violence, emotional abuse and verbal abuse. One of the women described terrible torture at the hands of her husband, including burning with cigarettes and stabbing together with the physical beating. Two women mentioned that they faced serious violence during pregnancy. One woman had been almost killed by her husband who had pushed her into a well.

4.3 Womens experiences of accessing justice


From the outcomes of legal process for women who had sought divorce to escape domestic violence it seems that only a few women have received maintenance or compensation. Out of 19 cases filed for divorce, only in 8 cases had women received maintenance for their children, one woman was receiving the repayment of her dowry in monthly instalments and one had received compensation.

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Most of the women had approached several service providers including CBO/NGOs, religious institutions, Police and courts to seek a remedy to the violence. 46.4% of the women had approached family members for support and with their support had approached other public legal services.

4.4 Perpetrators of violence

Except in one case, all the women had faced violence perpetrated by persons who were close to them i.e. intimate partners, family or in-laws. Other perpetrators include immediate family such as father, extended family such as in laws, lovers and in some instances people who women interact with on a limited basis. As has been well established, even in the case of this study, most women faced violence by persons who were close to them; intimate partners, family or in-laws. Perpetrators were below the age of 40 years in most cases or between the age of 40-50 years. However, perpetrators below 30 years and 50 years and over should be noted (17% and 13% respectively). Some men who perpetrated domestic violence were also addicted to alcohol and drugs. These men tend to give women less priority in the household, restrict their socializing outside of the family, and run their households according to conservative religious and traditional norms.

Perpetrators were below the age of 40 years in most cases or between the age of 40-50 years. However, perpetrators below 30 years and 50 years and over should be noted (17% and 13% respectively

4.5 Reporting violence


In most cases women reported violence to multiple sources. Further, most of the women had approached several service providers including CBO/NGOs, religious institutions as well as the police and local religious courts to get some assistance. 46% of the women had approached a family member and through them accessed other support. Of the 56 women who had accessed MWRAF, 6 had also reported to the police, 10 had reported to the Police and Quazi Courts and 34 had filed a case only in the quazi courts. Thus most complaints were made to the Quarzi Court. From the outcomes of using the legal system it appears that even in situations where women have got divorced, it is only in a few cases they have had maintenance or compensation (Mathah)64 awarded to them. Out of 15 cases where the Quazi Courts had awarded divorce, only in 8 cases was maintenance ordered for women and the children, and according to Muslim Law in Sri Lanka a woman is entitled to maintenance only during Iddah65 (Mourning period after the divorce). The Iddah period is 3 months for a divorcee. Compensation or Mathah was introduced recently and it is being contested in the superior courts.
64 65

Mathah (compensation or reasonable gift) Three months mourning period after divorce

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The police do not seem to be considered a suitable institution for any meaningful remedy and as such very few women go to them to make complaints. The majority of women take their complaints to the Quazi Court66 from which, women have experienced difficulty in getting redress. These Courts are male dominated and there have been many calls for the law to be changed to be more effective for women. Despite this women in these regions have little option but to approach the Court when they are trying to seek a solution. In cases that have been reported to the police and to the Court a majority have led to either separation (4/10) or divorce (4/10). Of those who had divorced and separated, only a few received maintenance (1/4 of divorced and 2/4 separated). Interestingly, a majority of cases that only went to the Court (47%) resulted in divorce while for nearly a quarter of them the cases are ongoing and for 16% it resulted in separation. Those who were divorced received some form of compensation including maintenance or repayment of dowry. However, while the Courts do provide some sort of relief for these women it appears to be a long drawn out and tedious process. The Quazi Court can be discriminatory in different ways. One of the case studies showed, that a male perpetrator had given money to the Quazi to obtain a judgement favourable to him during a divorce process. The Court had ordered the divorce, but he was not ordered to return the 500,000/- dowry money to his wife and was only The police do not seem to be asked to pay her maintenance of 4500/- per month considered a suitable with no compensation (Mathah) given to her. She had filed a case with the Quazi courts for institution for any maintenance, which the court did not even take up. meaningful remedy and as However, following the judgment, the husband had such very few women go to not paid the maintenance ordered by the Quazi. The women came to the Centre run by MWRAF looking them to make complaints. for a remedy and MRAF filed action in the civil courts. The majority of women take Through the civil courts, she received 240,000/- of their complaints to the Quazi the dowry money back. The civil courts also ordered 1 him to pay the 4500/- as maintenance, which he now Court from which, women pays. have experienced difficulty In the MMDA there is no mention of compensation (Mathah) as compulsory in the case of divorce. MWRAF had in their efforts to reform the MMDA, insisted on making Mathah compulsory as women need support after divorce. Another matter of concern is that men can obtain a divorce which is called Thalak67 divorce without having to give a reason for the divorce and the Quazi
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in getting redress. These Courts are male dominated and there have been many calls for the law to be changed to be more effective for women.

The court that has jurisdiction over all Muslim marriages, divorces and maintenance. http://cshr.cmb.ac.lk/wpcontent/uploads/quazi1.pdf 67 Thalak is divorce obtained by the husband, by making a pronouncement to the Quazis to the effect that the marriage is dissolved. He need not give any reason for doing so. Quazi cannot refuse this.

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has no powers to refuse this divorce. He can only try and reconcile the couple. However if the reconciliation fails, he has no option but to order divorce. It must be mentioned that even in Thalak divorce, the woman is not paid alimony but only maintenance for a period of three months. As one of the case studies showed, sometimes when the man demands a Thalak divorce the Quazi courts do not order compensation to the woman. Even when a woman does not want a divorce for social, economic and cultural reasons or because she is emotionally not prepared for it and wishes to remain in the marriage, she had no option but to accept the divorce. Polygamy is also allowed according to the MMDA. Very often the husband does not treat the wives equally. Men who are contracting a second marriage are not required to give an explanation that is acceptable and legitimate as to why he is contracting the second marriage. It must also be mandatory that the man proves he can maintain two wives and the MMDA should be amended accordingly.

In other situations, as noted in one of the case studies, sometimes the Quazi courts advice against the divorce, even in situations of violence. They feel there would be social stigma against the family or that the women will not be able to manage without a man; they thus advise her not to leave the husband or file for divorce and advice the husband to seek reconciliation and change for the better. Also it was noted that the amount of maintenance ordered by the Quazi courts has been very low. It therefore remains imperative that in addition to granting a reasonable maintenance allowance, Mathah (compensation) must be also ordered to cover womens livelihood options and to improve her life as she takes on the role of main caregiver and breadwinner of her family. There have also been delays in the award of maintenance. Women have also found it of no use to make complaints to the police, as they often found that the police supported the man. The police dont often respect women; they speak to her in derogatory fashion and they also refuse to record their statements. Another critical reason why wives are often reluctant to expose the violent behaviour of their husbands is that they are worried about their childrens future, especially the future of their daughters. Domestic violence appears therefore a mostly hidden problem in the Muslim communities of Batticaloa and Amparai and its causes, consequences and access to justice merits further research, analysis and effective remedy.

In other situations, as noted in one of the case studies, sometimes the Quazi courts advice against the divorce, even in situations of violence. They feel there would be social stigma against the family or that the women will not be able to manage without a man; they thus advise her not to leave the husband or file for divorce and advice the husband to seek reconciliation and change for the better.

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5. Recommendations
Most of the cases registered at the Quazi Court and police ended in divorce. Also majority of the affected women did not approach the police for legal assistance. The following suggestions will be useful to prevent and remedy domestic violence. The treatment of women when they try to access services should be gender sensitive. Just as women and perpetrators must be part of the solution so do the authorities and groups providing services through better awareness of the problem; its causes and consequences as well as ensuring that the various mechanisms for law enforcement function more effectively. Once decisions are made processes should be put in place to ensure that the decisions are being implemented. This is mainly with regard to compensation after divorce at the stipulated time and opportunities for suitable livelihoods assistance. To the Quazi courts Cases taken up in Quazi Courts should be heard in an impartial manner. Cases of Fasah divorces (i.e. when a woman applies for a divorce) should be settled speedily. Delays in ordering maintenance should be eliminated.

To the Police Police should undertake proper legal action against those who are involved in violence. Women should not be discriminated at the police station and should be given a sympathetic hearing. Women should be respected at police stations and discriminatory intimidation should be stopped.

Recommendations regarding amendments to the MMDA The compensation (Mathah) should be legalized and the amount ordered during divorce proceedings should be adequate to cover living expenses of the woman and her children. The law must be amended to include paying compensation to support women who have to deal with life after divorce. There is provision in the Quran to award compensation (or Mathah)

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The law must be amended to ensure that mobile and immobile property given at the time of marriage as dowry or otherwise should be returned to the wife before an order for a divorce is given. The law should be amended to ensure that there is a mechanism to make certain that the first wife is not discriminated when the husband contracts a second marriage. Women Quazis must be appointed as women find it embarrassing to talk to a male Quazis regarding marital issues. Police officers must be trained to be gender sensitive when dealing with family disputes.

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