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Women Action Network condemns attacks on female candidates

The Women Action Network on Wednesday condemned the physical attacks and verbal harassment of female candidates in the run up to Sri Lanka's local government elections.

"A woman candidate in Puthukkudiyiruppu area of Mullaitivu District has been physically assaulted, kept locked in a house, and threatened to withdraw the complaint she made to the Police. Women candidates in Puttalam and other districts have been verbally humiliated by religious leaders and their families and have been subjected to revolting comments. Vulgar comments on women candidates and disgusting opinions on their race and religion are increasingly being shared in social networks and circulated leaflets," WAN said in a statement. 

"Women candidates in Puttalam and other districts have been verbally humiliated by religious leaders and their families and have been subjected to revolting comments. Vulgar comments on women candidates and disgusting opinions on their race and religion are increasingly being shared in social networks and circulated leaflets."

"A woman candidate who was involved in election campaign activities in Wellawaya area of Monaragala District has been admitted to the hospital in a serious condition after she was brutally attacked. In Arayampathy Selvanagar of Eastern Province, a woman candidate’s house and the contents inside were damaged."

"In post-war Sri Lanka, especially in the North and East minority community, women are engaging in this election with great enthusiasm. However, as usual, the patriarchal political community and religious groups are trying to nullify their political contribution by subjecting them to violence. While taking other countries, especially post-war societies into account, we observe that the political role of women is problematic and unacceptable. In our country where similar conditions prevail, we should be ready to face any obstacle in our way with the help of the law and the society and should never allow gender, race, religion, caste, and party-based discriminations to limit our progress and political participation."

Read full statement here