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Campaign to create awareness on sexual and gender-based violence

by  M. P. Muttiah of The Sunday Observer (Sri Lanka)

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has launched a nationwide media campaign to create awareness in the country on sexual and gender-based violence.

UNHCR Representative in Colombo Wallaya Pura, releasing a study on the sexual and gender-based violence by Kamalini Wijayatilake, on Thursday said that sexual violence could undermine an individual human being's role in the household and similarly in the broader community.

Wallaya Pura urged the media to play a crucial role in ensuring that the message that sexual and gender-based violence was unacceptable and should not be tolerated. She said that exposing the prevalence and nature of sexual and gender-based violence publicly was the only way it would be defeated.

She said that her organisation had acknowledged that sexual and gender-based violence was a nationwide concern and decided to initiate a media campaign on SGBV needs to target the entire country. She pointed out that violence against women, children and men was a global concern, and took place in all societies and cultures, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or social origin.

Sumedha Jayasena, Minister of Women's Empowerment and Social Welfare, stressed the need for raising awareness in a continuous and systematic manner. Veteran actress Swarna Mallawarachchi, who has appointed as the spokesperson for SGBV said that gender-based violence was a problem throughout the country, it was aggravated among displaced communities.

Former Vice Chancellor of Colombo University Savithri Gunasekera, Dr. Mario Gomez and several others also spoke.


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