Civilian women, female ex-combatants and the challenges of transitional justice in Sri Lanka

Event details

PSC Seminar

Date & time

Friday 18 October 2013


PSC Reading Room, Hedley Bull Centre (130), corner of Garran Road and Liversidge Street, ANU
ANU Canberra


Nirmala Paranavitana


Nirmala Paranavitana
+61 2 6125 0929

At the end of the three-decade long conflict in Sri Lanka in May 2009, the majority of victims in the north and east of Sri Lanka were women €“ both civilians and ex-combatants €“ who face a different set of challenges than men.  This seminar will examine the impact of the social and cultural context, in particular, societal norms that led to inequality among women, on challenges relating to gender-based human rights violations, ongoing violence, and psychological issues.  With mounting international pressure to investigate war crimes committed during the conflict, the challenges among people on the ground in north and east are being undermined by international human rights organisations and the United Nations, bringing negative impacts to the stakeholders of the ongoing reintegration and development process.  Localisation of transitional justice in the Sri Lankan context can bring productive solutions to the problems faced by civilian women and female ex-combatants on the ground.  By using qualitative evidence gathered during fieldwork in Jaffna and Batticaloa this seminar will outline the challenges of applying transitional justice mechanisms with regards to women in Sri Lanka. 

About the Speaker

Nirmala Paranavitana is an MPhil Candidate in the Department of Political and Social Change, School of International Political and Strategic Studies, College of Asia and the Pacific at the Australian National University. She is a Sri Lankan career diplomat by profession.

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