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Gender equality, women’s rights laws: HRCSL writes to Prez with minor changes to proposed laws

Gender equality, women’s rights laws: HRCSL writes to Prez with minor changes to proposed laws

20 Nov 2023 | BY Sahan Tennekoon

The Human Rights Commission on Sri Lanka (HRCSL), in a letter to President and Women and Child Affairs Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, submitted its observations and recommendations on several proposed legislations including the National Women's Commission Bill, the Gender Equality Bill, and the Women's Empowerment Bill.

In the letter, the HRCSL stated that it welcomes the legislative initiative where these Bills aim to ensure the fulfilment of Sri Lanka’s obligations under international law including the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

However, in view of further strengthening the Bills, the HRCSL requested that the Presidential Secretariat and the Women and Child Affairs Ministry consider the observations and recommendations presented by the HRCSL. “The Commission observes that there are substantial similarities in the provisions and legislative intent behind the Bills. It is therefore recommended that the Gender Equality Bill and the Women's Empowerment Bill be amalgamated into a single consolidated Bill. With reference to the institution that will be established under these Bills, we recommend that the Gender Equality Council be housed in the new Department to which the Women's Bureau will be upgraded,” it is stated in the letter. The HRCSL further recommended that such an amalgamation be considered to minimise overlap and resource wastage and it has proposed naming the said department as the Department for Gender Equality.

The HRCSL also proposed that the appointment process with respect to the National Women’s Commission be further strengthened, and that the members of the said Commission be appointed on the recommendation of the Constitutional Council in a manner similar to the appointment of members to the HRCSL.


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