10/04/2012, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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Sri Lanka: every 90 seconds a woman subjected to sexual violence

by Melani Manel Perera
At least 450 thousand women farmers earn less than 2 euros a day and almost 200 thousand migrant workers suffer abuse, violence and torture. In the north affected by the civil war, 46% of mothers suffer from malnutrition and children under 5 years are underweight. Women are 53% of the population of Sri Lanka.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - In Sri Lanka, every 90 seconds a woman is a victim of sexual violence. The data is provided by the Women's Action for Social Justice (WASJ), an organization for the care and protection of women's rights. But the abuse of women - representing 53% of the country's population - does not stop at rape in the workplace, they are often exploited and badly paid, more often than not, they find themselves forced to go abroad to seek employment and support the family. WASJ emphasizes that women's conditions have profound consequences, on the family, children, and the entire community. On October 2 last the Association held an awareness raising seminar on the theme "Eradicating all forms of violence against women, with a female perspective" The meeting was hosted by the Centre for Society and Religion (CSR) of Maradana.

WASJ member Sister Christine Noel commented that, "in today's society, the woman is the most oppressed and less valued of human beings." In fact, at least 450 thousand women estate workers earn just 295 rupees (about 1.7 euro) per day and nearly 200 thousand migrant workers - many of them children - are abused. The majority of Sri Lankans leave to find work, are employed as maids and waitresses, often suffering violence and torture.

Another alarming fact about the female population of the north (the majority Tamil area most affected by the civil war, ed): here, 46% of mothers suffer from malnutrition, and about 29% of children under five are underweight.

The situation is difficult for young people (boys and girls) who work as laborers in the Free Trade Zone or in the textile industry: according to WASJ, at least 400 thousand are underpaid.

 

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