Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) facilitated a workshop for women in politics in Sri Lanka under the Electoral Integrity project which is funded by the European Union. The objective of the workshop was to identify priorities areas for women to be compiled as a constitution submission to be handed over to the Public Representations Committee (PRC). The preliminary workshop was held on 26th March 2016 in Colombo and was organized in partnership with the Association for War Affected Women (AWAW). AWAW is an association which has been working with various women groups in Sri Lanka, especially women affected by the protracted conflict in Sri Lanka.
The participants included representatives from the National Women’s Committee, former provincial and local authority members and active women politicians working at the grassroots which included participants from the Northern Province. These women represented a cross section of the female population in Sri Lanka that experiences governance, democracy, human rights and economic issues in their own unique ways. These experiences and expertise were expresses, discussed and debated before being drafted as recommendations for the new Constitution.
The workshop was also attended by Minister of Women and Child Affairs, Hon. Chandrani Bandara who agreed to submit the final document to the PRC.
A follow up meeting was held on 29th March 2016 to review the recommendations and finalize the written submission. Some of the key recommendations agreed upon as follows:
- Structure of constitution.
- Recommendation for rights. Including rights for everyone, specifications of rights for women, language rights, bill of rights, protection for watchdogs and upholding good governance.
- Nature of the legislature. Including the National List Members of Parliament, process of important bill and event of MPs crossovers.
- Independence of judiciary and the court structure.
- Appointment of a constitutional court.
- Recommendation for the power sharing, devolution and provincial government. Including implementation of the 13th Amendment, environment and natural resources and issues of land.
- Recommendation for a constitutional council and independent commissions.
- Electoral reforms.
- Power of the president under a parliamentary form of government.
- Environment sustainability.
The Submission was handed over to the PRC on 4th March 2016 by Hon. Chandrani Bandara to be considered during the Constitution making process. This handing over was followed by an Oral presentation which was made to the PRC.
TISL is working with diverse groups across the county in supporting their efforts to compile recommendations for the new constitution making process. This is done to strengthen and support the consultative process initiated by the government and also to ensure that issues of marginalized and disenfranchised groups are taken into account when drafting the Constitution.