The 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 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.
Earlier in the day, the High Commissioner of Canada to Sri Lanka, David McKinnon, and Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Sri Lanka, Ms. Ritsu Nacken, signed a letter of agreement in reference to the grant arrangement of CDN$900,000.
The grant is provided by the Government of Canada to UNFPA Sri Lanka for the delivery of the project, ‘Addressing Sexual Gender-based Violence through Public Institutions’, by 31 March 2020.
The purpose of this project is to increase the capacity of the Government of Sri Lanka to advance Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and to effectively respond to sexual and gender-based violence in Sri Lanka.
Addressing the event, High Commissioner McKinnon said the 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, said the agency 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.