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Sri Lanka

CEDAW – Inclusion (LK0014)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Sri Lanka National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Women and Child Affairs

Support Institution(s): National Committee on Women, Ministry of Land, Ministry of Justice; Interest group related CSOs

Policy Areas

Gender, Labor, Legislation & Regulation, Legislature, Marginalized Communities, Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: Sri Lanka End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, Sri Lanka Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Sri Lanka ratified CEDAW in 1981. Upon ratification, Sri Lanka has an obligation to report to CEDAW every 4 years. At the last periodic state review in 2011, where Sri Lanka was reviewed, CEDAW issued numerous concluding observations to Sri Lankan government. As a state party, Sri Lankan government is obliged to follow up on the concluding observations.

In the framework of this commitment, the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs will follow upon specific concluding observations on selected areas; Personal Law reforms, gender equality in state land distribution, non-discrimination in formal and informal employment sector. Consultations with community will increase accountability of the ministry of Women and Child Affairs to the public and will allow women’s networks to directly participate in improving public services and increasing public integrity.

As an end result the government is to take concrete actions with the accountability to implement concluding observations with the inclusion of a transparent process and civilian participation. The progress made by such an implementation could be reported as our government’s progress at the next state review.

Responsible Agency: Ministry of Women and Child Affairs and Civil Society Organizations
Timeline: July 2016- August 2018
Annual Work Plan of the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs to include a transparent and accountable process to implement selected CEDAW Concluding Observations.
Lead Agency Ministry of Women and Child Affairs
Other Actors

Government National Committee on Women, Ministry of Land, Ministry of Justice
Civil Society, Private Sector Interest group related CSOs
Issues to be Addressed There has been little follow up on the CEDAW 2011 Concluding Observations after the state review. Incorporating the implementation of selected concluding observations into the annual work plan of the Ministry will ensure a transparent and a systematic process of follow up which involves interested civil society organizations. This will also ensure better coordination between different Ministries to implement the concluding observations. The different Ministries will be held accountable to ensure the operationalization of the concluding observation.
Main Objective Increase the level of accountability of Ministry of Women and Child Affairs in Personal Law reforms, gender equality in state land distribution, non-discrimination in formal and informal employment sector
OGP Challenge Improving Public Services, Increasing Public Integrity
OGP Principles Transparency Accountability Public Participation
Milestones to Fulfill the Commitment New or ongoing: Start Date: End Date:Non-discrimination in formal and informal employment sector
1. Prioritize thematic areas from CEDAW concluding observations on employment New Oct 2016 Nov 2016
2. Publishing information on gender discrimination in selected thematic areas in formal and informal sector employment for greater transparency and reporting data in open data format New Dec 2016 May 2017
3. Public consultation with civil society to Propose guidelines on protection of women in the formal and informal employment sector New June 2017 Aug 2018
4. Quarterly meetings of the Committee comprising of Ministry reps and CSOs to monitor progress on #3 New Dec 2016 Aug 2018
5. Sharing progress of the OGP commitment on Concluding Observations with CSOs and other relevant stakeholders. New June 2018 June 2018

IRM End of Term Status Summary

14. Non-Discrimination in Employment

Commitment Text:

Annual Work Plan of the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs to include a transparent and accountable process to implement selected Convention on Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Concluding Observations (C) – Non-discrimination in formal and informal employment sector

Sri Lanka ratified CEDAW in 1981. Upon ratification, Sri Lanka has an obligation to report to CEDAW every 4 years. At the last periodic state review in 2011, where Sri Lanka was reviewed, CEDAW issued numerous concluding observations to Sri Lankan government. As a state party, Sri Lankan government is obliged to follow up on the concluding observations.

In the framework of this commitment, the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs will follow upon specific concluding observations on selected areas; Personal Law reforms, gender equality in state land distribution, non-discrimination in formal and informal employment sector. Consultations with community will increase accountability of the ministry of Women and Child Affairs to the public and will allow women’s networks to directly participate in improving public services and increasing public integrity.

As an end result the government is to take concrete actions with the accountability to implement concluding observations with the inclusion of a transparent process and civilian participation. The progress made by such an implementation could be reported as our government’s progress at the next state review.

Main Objective:

Implement CEDAW Concluding Observations on non-discrimination in formal and informal employment.

Milestones:

  • 1 Prioritize thematic areas from CEDAW concluding observations on employment
  • 2 Publishing information on gender discrimination in selected thematic areas in formal and informal sector employment for greater transparency and reporting data in open data format.
  • 3 Public consultation with civil society to propose guidelines on protection of women in the formal and informal employment sector.
  • 4 Quarterly meetings of the Committee comprising of Ministry reps and CSOs to monitor progress on #3 (14.3).
  • 5 Sharing progress of the OGP commitment on Concluding Observations with CSOs and other relevant stakeholders.

Responsible institution: Ministry of Women and Child Affairs (MWCA)

Supporting institutions: National Committee on Women (NCW); Centre for Equality and Justice (formerly FOKUS Women)

Start date: October 2016...... End date: June 2018

Editorial Note: The text of the commitment was abridged for formatting reasons. For full text of the commitments, see the Sri Lanka National Action Plan 2016–2018 at http://bit.ly/2wv3jXR. [177]

Commitment Aim:

This commitment broadly aimed to support the implementation of the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), through activities that enhance transparency and accountability. This commitment specifically supported observations about discrimination against women in the sphere of formal and informal employment.

Status

Midterm: Limited

The commitment achieved limited completion by the midterm. The IRM researcher found no evidence that the National Committee on Women (NCW), under the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs (MWCA), had conducted any exercise to prioritise thematic areas from CEDAW observations on employment (Milestone 14.1). Instead, the NCW had undertaken a series of ad hoc measures, including efforts to amend labour-related laws, and the dissemination of posters to raise awareness on the prevalence of sexual harassment. [178]

The NCW/MWCA had also not published any information on gender discrimination in employment, nor collected data for this purpose (Milestone 14.2). [179] Similarly, the chairperson of the NCW noted that the ministry had not conducted a public consultation to deliberate or propose guidelines toward the protection of women in employment (Milestone 14.3). [180] The ministry did not, therefore, establish and convene a multistakeholder committee to monitor the development of such guidelines (Milestone 14.4). The NCW did, however, confirm convening one multistakeholder consultation to share progress on the implementation of CEDAW observations generally (Milestone 14.5). [181] A civil society representative from the Centre for Equality and Justice (CEJ, formerly FOKUS women) confirmed this consultation. [182]

End of term: Limited

Implementation of this commitment remained limited by the end of term.

Milestone 14.1: The NCW/MWCA confirmed that the ministry had not explicitly prioritised CEDAW observations on formal and informal employment. [183] The NCW did, however, note the completion of a number of activities to help improve the experiences of women in employment. These include conducting a survey of pay in the informal sector; setting up creches; developing a day-care policy; and introducing flexible hours in the private sector. [184] The CEJ confirmed these developments. [185]

However, the NCW clarified that the action plans that guide the work of the NCW/MWCA were based largely on the CEDAW observations and the National Human Rights action plan—both of which include provisions on discrimination faced by women in employment. [186] The plans of the NCW/MWCA were prepared in consultation with CSOs, and stakeholders involved in implementation regularly shared key developments and progress updates. [187]

Milestone 14.2: The NCW also noted that it had taken steps, including surveys, to collect data on women’s participation and discrimination in vocational activities. This information was published in the ministry’s quarterly magazine and distributed among women development officers at divisional secretariats across Sri Lanka. [188] Civil society verified that an internal magazine did exist, but could not confirm that such information was included in it. [189] The purpose of disseminating the information was to ensure that officers were sensitised about the discrimination women face in formal and informal employment. The NCW did not make this information available online or in open data format.

Milestones 14.3–14.5: The NCW and CEJ noted no further progress in relation to these milestones since the midterm. [190] The ministry did not conduct a public consultation to propose guidelines on the protection of women in employment, or establish a multistakeholder committee to monitor such a process. [191] The NCW also did not provide evidence of convening any further multistakeholder consultations to share progress on the implementation of CEDAW observations.

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Did Not Change

Civic Participation: Marginal

At the outset of the action plan, women in both formal and informal employment in Sri Lanka faced a range of issues. The CEDAW observations highlighted these issues and identified areas that required special attention. These included the high rate of female unemployment; the low rate of women in skilled jobs; the lack of legislation on sexual harassment; and unequal remuneration between men and women. [192]

If implemented as written, the commitment would have improved access to information by publishing information on gender discrimination in employment. However, this activity was not completed and thus, access to information did not change. Conversely, while the public consultations and quarterly multistakeholder meeting (Milestones 14.3 and 14.4) did not occur as proposed, the multistakeholder forum to share progress on CEDAW observations did constitute a very marginal improvement in civic participation.

Carried Forward?

Sri Lanka’s second action plan was not released by the time of this report. In the 2016–2017 IRM midterm progress report, the IRM researcher noted that the commitment comprised a broad list of activities that intended to eliminate discrimination of women in formal and informal employment but, given limited specificity and minor potential impact, the IRM researcher recommended that this commitment not be carried forward to the next action plan.

[177] In the action plan, milestones pertaining to personal law reform (Commitment 12), gender equality in state land distribution (Commitment 13), and nondiscrimination in formal and informal employment (Commitment 14) are listed under a single commitment. For clarity, these milestones were separated into three different commitments in this report.

[178] Swarna Sumanasekera (Ministry of Women and Child Affairs), interview by IRM researcher, 13 October 2017.

[179] Id.

[180] Id.

[181] Id.

[182] Shyamala Gomez (Centre for Equality and Justice), interview by IRM researcher, 27 October 2017.

[183] Swarna Sumanasekera (Ministry of Women and Child Affairs), interview by IRM researcher, 20 September 2018.

[184] Id.

[185] Shyamala Gomez (Centre for Equality and Justice), interview by IRM researcher, 29 September 2018.

[186] Sumanasekera, interview.

[187] Id.

[188] Id.

[189] Gomez, interview.

[190] Sumanasekera, interview; Gomez, interview.

[191] Sumanasekera, interview; Gomez, interview.

[192] “CEDAW/C/LKA/CO/7” (Human Rights Bodies, United Nations Human Rights, 8 April 2011) http://bit.ly/2EUSlvS.


Sri Lanka's Commitments

  1. Integrity Officers to Decrease Bribery and Corruption

    LK0024, 2019, Capacity Building

  2. Asset Declaration System

    LK0025, 2019, Asset Disclosure

  3. Increase Use of RTI

    LK0026, 2019, E-Government

  4. Citizen Participation in Health

    LK0027, 2019, E-Government

  5. Campaign Against Youth Drug Use

    LK0028, 2019, Education

  6. Open Data

    LK0029, 2019, E-Government

  7. Agriculture Support Policy

    LK0030, 2019, Capacity Building

  8. Participation for Persons with Disabilities

    LK0031, 2019, Land & Spatial Planning

  9. Disability Rights Bill

    LK0032, 2019, Legislation & Regulation

  10. Disaster Management Planning

    LK0033, 2019, Capacity Building

  11. Nationak Environmental Policy

    LK0034, 2019, Environment and Climate

  12. CEDAW Implementation

    LK0035, 2019, Capacity Building

  13. Local Service Delivery

    LK0036, 2019, E-Government

  14. Feedback on Public Bus

    LK0037, 2019, E-Government

  15. Implementing UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in a Participatory Manner

    LK0038, 2019, Legislation & Regulation

  16. Improving Public Access to Preventive and Curative Strategies to Combat Chronic Kidney Disease

    LK0001, 2016, Health

  17. Transparent Policy to Provide Safe and Affordable Medicines for All

    LK0002, 2016, Capacity Building

  18. National Health Performance

    LK0003, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Ensuring Transparency and Impartiality in Teacher Recruitment Policy and Process in Sri Lanka

    LK0004, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. Enhance the Services of Government Information Center (GIC- 1919) for Inclusive, Transparent, Accountable and Efficient Governance, Using ICT As Enabler

    LK0005, 2016, Capacity Building

  21. Promote the Open Data Concept and Delivering the Benefits to Citizens Through ICT

    LK0006, 2016, Capacity Building

  22. National Environmental Act (NEA) Amendments

    LK0007, 2016, Capacity Building

  23. Coast Conservation

    LK0008, 2016, Capacity Building

  24. Flora and Fauna Protection

    LK0009, 2016, Capacity Building

  25. Transparent and Accountable Procurement System for Local Authorities in Sri Lanka

    LK0010, 2016, Capacity Building

  26. Local Authority Procurement System Implementation

    LK0011, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  27. Annual Work Plan of the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs to Include a Transparent and Accountable Process to Implement Selected Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Concluding Observations.

    LK0012, 2016, Gender

  28. CEDAW Implementation – Accountability

    LK0013, 2016, Gender

  29. CEDAW – Inclusion

    LK0014, 2016, Gender

  30. Strengthening Women Participation in the Political Decision Making Process at the Local Level

    LK0015, 2016, Capacity Building

  31. Strengthen the Anti-Corruption Framework to Increase Constructive Public Participation

    LK0016, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  32. Implement UNCAC

    LK0017, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  33. Coordination Among Anti-Corruption Agencies

    LK0018, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  34. Corruption and Money Laundering

    LK0019, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  35. Campaign Finance

    LK0020, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  36. Disseminate Asset Declaration

    LK0021, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  37. Starred commitment The Enactment and Implementation of the RTI Act

    LK0022, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  38. Proactive Disclosure

    LK0023, 2016, Legislation & Regulation