Media release - Canada Announces Support to UNFPA for Promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in Sri Lanka

Colombo, Sri Lanka, January 9, 2018 – High Commissioner of Canada to Sri Lanka, David McKinnon, announced a Government of Canada contribution of CAD$900,000 to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA-Sri Lanka) to help address sexual and gender-based violence in Sri Lanka.

The announcement was made to an audience of more than 200 at this afternoon’s screening of Canadian film ‘Anatomy of violence’ and panel discussion with Oscar-nominated Canadian Director Deepa Mehta. High Commissioner McKinnon stated that “violence against women and girls is among the most prevalent human rights violations in the world. Such violence can have devastating impacts on the sexual and reproductive health of women and girls, as well as detrimental social impacts on the lives of families, communities and society as a whole. The Government of Canada and UNFPA share a commitment to take action to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence.”

Canada’s CAD$900,000 contribution to UNFPA through 2020, will strengthen the capacity of the Sri Lankan Ministry of Women and Child Affairs (MWCA) and other relevant government departments to address sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV).  It will improve data collection on SGBV prevalence, while supporting strengthened implementation and monitoring of national SGBV policy frameworks and action plans.

Speaking about the project, UNFPA Representative, Ms. Ritsu Nacken, stated that “We will work closely with the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs, other public institutions, and Civil Society Organizations, to ensure the rights of women and girls are upheld in Sri Lanka. This will include the use of data in decision-making and advocacy for a rights-based approach, as UNFPA is the UN’s lead agency towards promoting sexual reproductive health and reproductive rights, and in addressing sexual gender based violence." The film screening of Anatomy of Violence and panel discussion where the announcement was made was an event jointly organized by the High Commission of Canada, UNFPA-Sri Lanka and Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies (BCIS).

Introducing the film at the Cinema Hall of BMICH, co-host Dr. Harinda Vidanage, Director-Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies stated that “while we are struggling to reconcile with horror and trauma of conflict, structural inequalities remain an existential challenge, giving social evils to metastasize corrupt our humanity. Anatomy of violence is a bold effort to explore the dark dimensions of Gender Based Violence.”

Following the screening and announcement, a panel discussion on ending GBV was moderated by Ms. Jayanthi Kuru-Uthumpala with Deepa Mehta, Dr. Neelam Chowdhry, and Creative Director of Anatomy of Violence, Mr. Senel Wanniarachchi, Founder and Head of NGO Hashtag Generation, and Ms. Ambika Satkunanathan, Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Indirani Jayawardena
Political Officer
High Commission of Canada
33A, 5th Lane, Colombo 3
@CanHCSriLanka
Tel: 522 6232  Ext: 3352,
E-mail: indirani.jayawardena@international.gc.ca