Sri Lanka adopted its first NAP for the period 2023-2027. It was launched by the Ministry of Women, Child Affairs and Social Empowerment of the Government of Sri Lanka. The NAP development process began in 2019 and was initiated with the help of the Government of Japan and the technical support of UN Women, Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka experienced a three-decade civil war between the government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who aimed to create an independent Tamil state. UN reports estimate that during the armed conflict, which ended in 2009, 80,000 to 100,000 people were killed. This civil war is listed as part of the context in the NAP. The NAP recognizes that the war resulted in “large-scale loss of lives, conflict-related disappearances, civilian casualties, conflict-related disabilities, and pervasive destruction of property and environment” and states that “The Ministry of Women, Child Affairs and Social Empowerment intends to contribute to redressing past harms and creating a conducive environment for gender equality, lasting peace, and the security of women.”
National Action Plan (2023-2027)
Global Gender Gap Index 2023
115 of 146
Arms Trade Treaty
Military expenditure (2021)
$1.56 billion USD
Explore Sri Lanka's National Action Plan
From the outset, it was determined that the ownership of the NAP on WPS should extend beyond the Ministry of Women, Child Affairs and Social Empowerment to other ministries, government entities, non-government entities, and the general populace of Sri Lanka. It was also determined that the NAP should reflect ground realities of Sri Lankan women, with particular attention to those impacted by conflict. To this end, provincial consultative dialogues were conducted in all nine provinces of Sri Lanka. These provincial consultations convened stakeholders from all twenty-five administrative districts of Sri Lanka.14 These stakeholders included:
- State officials working at the village, divisional, district, and provincial levels
- Representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs), Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs), and Community Based Organizations (CBOs)
- Victim survivors of conflict, military widows, FHHs, women with disabilities, survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, ex- combatants of the LTTE, women working in the estate sector or fisheries, women providing care for partners and/or children with disabilities.
The methodology of the provincial consultative dialogues aimed to enable coordination between GoSL and CSOs. To ensure that the data gathered was clear and distinct, the consultations were held separately for State officials and representatives of CSOs. The issues raised by each group were then shared with the other at the consultations, to build consensus between the GoSL and CSOs towards the collaborative implementation of the NAP. Many of the issues identified in the NAP on WPS and the actions proposed to address them were drawn from the valuable sharing of ideas that was facilitated during the provincial consultations. During this process, specific CSOs which were experienced in dealing with selected aspects of WPS were further consulted on their willingness to work with the State on implementing corresponding sections of the NAP, to which the response was largely favorable.
At the consultations, it was highlighted that effective coordination between State entities and the enhancement of inter-agency cooperation would not only lead to effective collaboration between State entities to achieve common goals, but that it would also reduce the duplication of tasks by state entities. This in turn, would lead to decreased costs around implementing various activities. The consultations also revealed the existing gaps relating to the WPS agenda which need to be addressed, and these have been translated into activities.
Various agencies will be responsible for different activities in the NAP.
Monitoring and Evaluation
The Monitoring Framework for the NAP was developed within the frame of SDGs and inputs from diverse stakeholders at grassroots consultations. Two multi-agency and stakeholder coordinating bodies – Inter- Agency Coordination and Assessment Committee and National Core Steering Committee – will be established to oversee and fulfill key M&E responsibilities in parallel with the interventions. The Lead Implementing Agency for each activity will also conduct assessments. Each Coordination and Assessment Committee will be comprised of at least five persons with a limit of ten persons. The Coordination and Assessment Committee membership should include:
- The convening agent representing the Lead Implementation Agency
- One other member of the Lead Implementation Agency
- At least one representative from each additional state actor identified for the relevant activity of the NAP
- At least one representative from each non-state actor identified for the relevant activity
- At least one representative from Ministry of Women, Child Affairs and Social Empowerment in cases where the above does not comprise of a representative of the same
- At least one representative from the Department for Project Management and Monitoring
- One expert jointly identified and appointed by other Committee members
The implementation period for the Sri Lanka NAP is 2023-2027.
The NAP is expected to enable the achievement of the objectives below, through the implementation of activities detailed in the results framework:
- to increase the meaningful participation of women in all aspects of national life, including the maintenance of peace and security
- to protect women’s safety and wellbeing by addressing their needs, priorities and rights during and after conflict, as well as other emergency situations such as disasters and pandemics
- to build and strengthen the capacities of communities and government institutions to promote social cohesion and prevent violence, terrorism, and crimes
- to facilitate the relief and recovery of women and girl children affected by conflict contexts
- to contribute towards achieving gender equality and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by ensuring inclusive, responsive, participatory, and representative decision making at all levels
The activities include, but are not limited to:
Focus area 01: Legal and policy reforms to ensure protection of women against gender-based violence and discrimination
- Amend discriminatory provisions contained in personal and territorial laws in line with Art. 2 of CEDAW and Article 12 of the 1978 Constitution of Sri Lanka.
- Amend Provincial Council Election Act No. 2 of 1988 to provide for a minimum of 25% of representation to be guaranteed for women.
- Introduce provisions within the Parliamentary Elections Act No. 1 of 1981 to provide for a minimum representation of 25% guarantees for women at parliamentary level.
- Conduct a study on the reported cases on sexual violence of the past decade [i.e. 2012 – 2022], with a focus on ascertaining the time period taken for each case to be resolved. (Time period to be calculated from the first instance of the police complaint and/or the medical/legal examination).
- Digitalize the data pertaining to sexual violence with a special tracking system that records the timeline from first complaint to resolution of matter through dismissal, withdrawal, acquittal, or conviction.
- Develop Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to expedite court processes in a gender-sensitive and responsive manner using a survivorcentered approach.
- Reform Section 363 of the penal code to ensure fullest protection against all forms and perpetrators of rape, to ensure adequate protection of children, as well as the inclusion of marital rape, and the removal of gender restrictions on the perpetrator and victim of rape.
- Conduct a Review of the gender sensitivity of national frameworks relating to disaster management and risk reduction.
Focus area 02: Institutional reforms towards gender-inclusivity, with gender-responsive budgets, and personnel with increased capacity to accelerate the Women, Peace and Security agenda in Sri Lanka
- Implement mechanisms to ensure that systems (including digital systems) and the infrastructure of State institutions are accessible to women in a gender-sensitive manner.
- Recruit and/ or assign an adequate number of capable and gender-sensitive WDOs to fill cadre gaps.
- Recruit sufficient Tamil speaking officers. (Vernacular proficiency to be ensured at the hotline desks and across the Divisional and District Secretariats).
- Introduce and implement regulations on facilitating trilingual fluency within schools.
- Ensure that all administrative departments and offices offer trilingual services (Sinhala, Tamil, English), as per constitutional and other legal guarantees.
- Conduct training programmes for public officials on the implementation of Sri Lanka’s NAP on WPS.
- Recruit university students and recent graduates on three-month internships from national universities and provide them with a week of intensive training on Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka’s work, and use their skills to raise awareness on the same.
- Ensure capacity for bilingual service provision at all police stations.
- Recruit police officers conversant in sign language/ providing sign language trainings to selected officers.
- Ensure that there is gender parity in recruitments and promotions of the Tri Forces and the Police.
- Strengthen the complaint mechanism through the Ombudsman, and raise awareness amongst women on how to access the services provided by the Ombudsman.
- Ensure that women police officers are sufficiently recruited and are stationed in all police stations, and ensure that such women police officers are retained in service and are provided with equal opportunities in promotions and decision-making capacities of the police.
- Implement existing separation of mandates between the Civil Security Department and/ or administration of education - including preschool education.
- Introduce a Code of Conduct for Journalists with instructions to ensure ethical reporting with particular focus on women and ethno-religious minorities being respected, in line with international standards such as UN’s Rabat Plan of Action and national standards such as Clause 10 of Part I Section (I) of Gazette Extraordinary No: 162/5A of 1981 October 14.
- Include a module on gender in the induction programme of all public officials, and develop internal advocacy campaigns around the pillars of the WPS Agenda.
Focus area 03: Service delivery to women affected by conflict and disaster related displacement agenda in Sri Lanka
- Implement the National Policy on Durable Solutions for Conflict Affected Displacement, in a gender inclusive manner.
- Conduct yearly evaluations of women affected by conflict-related displacement to assess their existing and continuing psychosocial needs.
- Assess livelihood capabilities and needs of women affected by conflict-related displacement, and provide support in accessing livelihoods
- Standardize the assessment of educational and vocational qualifications which refugee returnees have obtained from other countries during their time there as refugees, through the development of standardized guidelines.
- Provide education facilities to women and girls affected by conflict -related displacement, with a special emphasis on the education of girl children, and second chance education for women.
- Provide safe water and sanitation facilities for women and their families living in temporary housing due to conflict and/or disaster-related displacement.
Focus area 04: Safe and accessible safe house facilities for people affected by natural disasters
- Ensure adequate service provision to women and girls affected by disaster, displacement.
- Develop and adopt SOPs for the provision of basic necessities, including cooked food in IDP camps and temporary shelters established during natural disasters, in a regularised manner.
Focus area 05: Addressing concerns of military and police widows, women ex-combatants and FHHs.
- Review existing systems to ensure that entitlements of military and police widows are administered effectively and consistently
- Draft a briefing paper evaluating the impact of existing laws and policies on military widows and widows of police officers including volunteer force widows, with recommendations to enhancing their quality of life.
- Adopt measures to empower military widows and strengthen their decision making capacities in villages dedicated for war heroes (Ranaviru Gammana)
- Ensure the gender sensitivity of surveillance measures in place, to keep them from negatively impacting the lives of women ex-combatants and affecting their privacy
- Establish effective grievance handling mechanisms and introduce psychosocial counselling for women excombatants, to aid them with reintegrating into society more effectively and with confidence.
- Conduct gender and conflict sensitivity training programmes for State officials who provide services to, or work with, women ex-combatants.
- Conducting an assessment of the status quo and the income generating capacity of women ex-combatants, and in light of the findings, making recommendations to the relevant authorities to strengthen their economic empowerment.
- Train medical professionals in gender, conflict and trauma sensitive practices, and support them to act with humanity, impartiality, and professionalism towards the continuing medical requirements of ex-combatants.
- Adopt and incorporate an inclusive definition for FHH prior to the adoption of the NAP on FHH.
- Conduct a study on the number of families that have become FHH and the causes leading to becoming a FHH, and make recommendations to ensure FHHs are adequately supported.
- Conduct a study to assess the specific requirements of wives of fishermen who have disappeared at sea, and make recommendations on providing socio-economic support.
- Develop actionable mechanisms to promote livelihood development activities and enhance FHH’s economic engagement.
- Ensure FHH’s access to livelihood support institutions and sectoral unions (e.g., farmers’/ trade unions), as well as their participation in decision making within those institutions.
- Conduct needs assessment of women living in formerly conflict-affected villages, and make recommendations to relevant authorities.
- Implement and monitor the recommendations of the Needs Assessment of women living in formerly conflict affected villages.
Focus area 06: Protection of women and girls against violence, including sexual violence.
- Conduct a study on sexual violence incidents that are connected with any conflict context (displacement, ethno-religious conflicts, conflict-related sexual violence).
- Development of a Code of Conduct/ Ethics guiding Tri-Forces and police officers on the relevant laws, policies, and mechanisms to prevent sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict contexts.
- Strengthen the existing social protection schemes available for the elderly (including elderly women), including increasing the ‘Wedihiti Awarana Kepakaru’ sponsorship payment charged to sponsors to Rs. 1,000/-.
- Promote the ‘Wedihiti Awarana Kepakaru’ Sponsorship scheme through a media campaign.
- Strengthen existing livelihood assistance schemes/ programmes, increasing the support/ benefits provided for women earning low- incomes, including elderly women.
- Provide career guidance and social integration skills development support to girls and boys of 16- 18 years as they prepare to leave Children’s Homes.
- Provide shelter and protection for the 18+ young adults who are leaving the Children’s Homes until they are capable of living a secure and independent life.
- Establishment of a special unit to investigate cybercrimes, harassment, and hate speech – particularly on the basis of gender, ethno-religious identity, political affiliations, etc.
- Carry out a needs assessment of women providing care for PWDs, with special emphasis on those providing care for former combatants with disabilities.
- Implement programmes to capacitate caretakers of PWDs on how best to provide care, ensure rights of the PWDs, and to support their psychosocial wellbeing in accordance with the above needs assessment.
- Adopt measures to provide for the wellbeing of persons caring for PWDs.
- Conduct awareness programmes for both public and private sector employers and job seekers highlighting the need to create more employment opportunities for women with disabilities.
- Conduct sensitizing programmes for State officers to recognise and respect the rights of trans persons, towards their security and broader social cohesion.
- Expedite the administrative process of obtaining the Gender Recognition Certificates, towards their full and safe participation in society
- Develop SOPs for police officers on processes to be adopted when carrying out security checks of trans persons, towards their security and full participation in society
The indicators vary according to the activity. For legal and policy reforms, they include but are not limited to: number of consultations conducted with a view to amending selected personal/ territorial/religious laws; number amendments drafted and presented to the Parliament; percentage of amendments implemented.
Each activity has its indicators and the means of verification, and there is an extensive monitoring and evaluation plan available in the NAP which details the responsibilities and modes of doing monitoring and evaluation.
The budget was not disclosed.
Disarmament was not mentioned in Sri Lanka's NAP.