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Grim though the subject can sometimes be, one of the pleasures of convening the Task Force on expediting implementation of the National Human Rights Action Plan has been the excellent cooperation evinced by so many institutions. These include governmental and non-governmental institutions, though involving the latter has had to be through the consultations initiated at the Reconciliation Office at the beginning of this year at the instigation of the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies.

Last week we had two very useful discussions, on the issues of women and of children respectively. Presentations were made by a range of institutions, including the Human Rights Commission, the Probation Department, the National Child Protection Authority and the Consultant on children’s issues to the Attorney General’s Department. Equally helpful however was the analysis of Methsevana done by the Institute of Human Rights.

Much of what will appear here is copied from that, which noted that Methsevana in Gangodawila is the only state owned detention centre for women in Sri Lanka. It is maintained by the Dept. of Social Services, and serves as a prison, vocational training centre and rehabilitation centre.

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Rajiva Wijesinha

September 2012
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