Over a hundred war affected women and several women's organisation predominantly from the North-East, listed their key demands of the new president following the election on January 8, including addressing the issue of enforced disappearances, demilitarisation of the North-East, repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and prosecution of those responsible for torture and sexual violence.
"The forthcoming election is the second Presidential election after the war. Since then, the North and East of Sri Lanka has undergone heightened militarisation. Around 89,000 women headed households in the former war areas struggle to address livelihood needs, look after their remaining family and in many cases also look for their missing loved ones."
“Despite numerous promises, no independent investigation into serious human rights violations has resulted in a successful prosecution and conviction of alleged perpetrators, a sign of the culture of impunity pervasive in post war Sri Lanka."
“We, the undersigned women both from Sri Lanka and outside take this moment to call on the candidates to publicly acknowledge the situation faced by a significant number of women across Sri Lanka. A public recognition of the situation of the thousands unaccounted for is vital if we as a country are to move forward. We also list several demands that must be addressed if peace and reconciliation are to be viable in Sri Lanka."
See full statement and list of signatories here.
The common opposition candidate, Maithripala Sirisena, has already vowed to keep the military in the North-East.