- Created: Wednesday, 13 March 2013
Statement by Ambassador H.E. Palitha T.B. Kohona
Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations
Fifty-seventh Session of the Commission on the Status of Women
“Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls”
Thank you Madam Chair,
Let me join other speakers to congratulate you and the Members of the Bureau on your election to the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women.
The delegation of Sri Lanka associates itself with the statement made by Fiji on behalf of the G77 and China.
While we celebrate the many accomplishmentsof women, we are also constantly reminded of the pervasive reality of gender based violence. Its prevalence is universal.The theme of the fifty-seventh session of the CSW - “Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls” –is therefore timely.
Sri Lanka’s women have been politically empowered since 1931 - enjoying universal adult suffrage. It was therefore not so surprising for Sri Lanka to have produced the first democratically elected woman Prime Minister in the world in 1960.
Sri Lanka has, historically, recognized that civil and political rights are interlinked with social, cultural and economic rights.Therefore, our macro policies haveensured transformational change in the lives of its women. With Constitutional guarantees for gender equality, Sri Lanka exploited synergistic interactions of health care with basic education, improved water and sanitation, malaria control, and integrated rural development - including building rural roads.The adult literacy rate in Sri Lanka for females is 97%. Among youth (15-24 years) the literacy rate is 99%. According to the latest statistics, women enjoy a longer life expectancy (80 years) than men (76 years).The contribution of women, especially rural women, in facilitating Sri Lanka’s successful achievement of most of the Millennium Development Goals is significant. Traditional knowledge of mothers on maternal health coupled with their high levels of education has contributed significantly to reducing the child mortality rate (8.9 per thousand) and the maternal mortality rate (39 per 100,000 live births).