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I was privileged, at the end of November, to attend a workshop arranged by a group of women’s organizations looking into Gender Based Violence and related issues. It is chaired by the head of the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, which I found had been assisting with police training. This is extremely helpful because, given the revitalized role of the police in community support, and in particular the enhanced role of their Women and Children’s Desks,  assisting their officers in a better understanding of the assistance they can provide is invaluable.

In this regard I noted that I wished the section of the UN that is supposed to look after Human Rights was also similarly active. It seems rather to see its role as the lead agency in persecuting us about war crimes. Though the very helpful young lady who attended noted that it had assisted with police training, this was with regard to a programme I had initiated four years ago when I was Secretary to the Ministry of Human Rights. That had indeed been successful, largely I think because of the energies of the British Consultant in training through role play, who had also provided the initial draft of a manual which was finally published a couple of years later.

But there had been no follow up, and I was appalled to find that the office had not even contacted the head of the Police Women and Children’s Bureau. All incumbents of the post I have had to work with, since I was appointed to convene the Task Force to expedite action on the National Human Rights Action Plan, have been extremely positive and helpful. It was disappointing to find that the UN agency that should be working with them had ignored them, whereas a much smaller UN agency had been so helpful. Read the rest of this entry »

Rajiva Wijesinha

May 2013
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