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    » 04/02/2007, 00.00

    INDIA

    Women survivors of the tsunami are the greatest victims of discrimination

    Nirmala Carvalho

    A report published in New Delhi condemns the tragic situation of women in countries hit by the 2004 killer wave: domestic violence, unemployment, lack of government aid, induction to prostitution and forced to sell their organs are just some of the problems highlighted. An appeal for local authority intervention.

    New Delhi (AsiaNews) – Women are the most vulnerable survivors of the 2004 tsunami; they continue to live in conditions of total misery and exploitation, caused by the discrimination politics of many of the Indian Ocean countries.   The warning was launched by a report compiled by “the Alliance of Women Effected by Tsunami”, which has analyzed the situation in Sri Lanka, India, Maldives, Thailand and Somalia based on over 7500 interviews. The document’s authors ask that concrete actions to relieve the sufferance of this category be seriously studied during the Summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc), which opens tomorrow in New Delhi.

     

    The report finds that women from South East Asia who survived the December 26th 2004 are subjected to abuse and violence by their husbands who waste economic aid on “alcohol and gambling”, but also by the sexual tourism industry which exploits their poverty forcing them to prostitute themselves. 

     

    Sriyani Perera, Action Aid International’s women rights coordinator for Asia, explains that “The men would often beat their wives after getting drunk and would force them to have sex sometimes in front of children, in the camps,” where many tsunami homeless still live.  Sriyani recalls the tragedy of widows from Tamil Nadu, Southern India, who sell their kidneys to buy food for their children, but never receive the promised sum. 

     

    The report said that sex tourism was on the rise in coastal areas of the tsunami-affected regions of India as hotels were being built near the shoreline. Poor women, especially from devastated fishing communities, were particularly vulnerable to exploitation.

     

    Moreover it states that aid distribution is also discriminatory: Government compensation and rehabilitation programs most often recognize men as the heads of households, which results in women - particularly single, older or disabled women - being left out of such efforts.

     

    The tsunami which struck 3 years ago killed over 230 thousand people and left almost 1.5 million others without homes in the effected countries. 

     

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    See also

    05/05/2008 ASIA
    Food Crisis: emergency aid but also rethinking development in Asia
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    17/10/2007 MYANMAR
    Junta “eliminating” soldiers who fired on monks
    The generals are trying to get rid of evidence and witnesses to the late September repression should they be called to account some time in the future. Meanwhile arrests continue as do pro-government demonstrations organised by the military regime. Some ethnic Burmese are dressed up in ethnic minorities clothing to show minorities’ support for the government against the West. ASEAN only expresses support for UN initiative, refuses to implement sanctions against the junta.

    07/03/2008 MIDDLE EAST
    The Middle East and its women: between emancipation and discrimination
    The female world in Arab countries celebrates victories in education and work, but the road to equality between the sexes is still a long one. Emancipated women ask for recognition from their hardly liberal countries, which often see them as a threat to the status quo.

    21/11/2007 MYANMAR – UNITED NATIONS
    Junta releases demonstrators but only so that they can die at home
    Sources tell AsiaNews that some prisoners freed as a token of the generals’ good will survive only for a few days as a result of the inhumane treatment received whilst in prison. UN resolution condemns the generals for the September crackdown, but votes in favour are less than 50 per cent. UN Envoy Gambari is set for a new mission.

    19/05/2008 MYANMAR
    Nargis cyclone: human traffickers moving into displaced people camps
    The National League for Democracy sets off alarm bells, warning that the military regime is handing out stale rice to cyclone victims. Taking its cue from Beijing Myanmar’s junta declares three days of national mourning and accepts doctors from ASEAN member nations.



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