Norwegian Advisor on Gender Issues visits Kilinochchi
[TamilNet, Friday, 24 October 2003, 15:34 GMT]
Dr. Astrid N. Heiberg, the Advisor to the Subcommittee on Gender Issues (SGI) and Ms. Kjersti of the Norwegian High Commission in Colombo, visited the women’s secretariat in Kilinochchi Thursday morning and held discussions about women’s issues throughout the day, sources in the Vanni said.
Dr. Heiberg, a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Oslo, Norway, was appointed to the SGI by the Norwegian government in February this year.
The visitors were welcomed by the head of the women’s political wing of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Ms. Thamilini.
A meeting with the women representatives from Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Mullaithivu, Vavuniya was held at the secretariat.
The following issues were discussed at the meeting:
- Sharing women’s experiences during the Sri Lankan military’s war and occupation of the Northeast.
- The changes in the society caused by war.
- Problems due to displacement
- Suffering of the people as a result of the Sri Lanka Army’s High Security Zones (HSZ)
- The economic deprivation caused by inability to cultivate land and paddy fields located under the HSZ.
Following the meeting, the participants visited the Women’s Training Center (administered by the Center for Women's Rehabilitation and Development or CWRD), a small textile production center and a factory manufacturing bricks.
Then they visited Santhapuram, a village in Kilinochchi where people have resettled, and discussed the problems faced by women in the village.
The villagers requested the visiting Norwegian officials that their basic needs should be fulfilled and conditions should be created for their peaceful life. They said that, in order to solve their problems, the Interim Administration proposals to be submitted by the LTTE should be accepted by the Government of Sri Lanka and the international community.
The team later visited ‘Vettimanai,’ a home for mentally disabled women administered by the CWRD and discussed the problems faced by the women at the home.
Ms. Heiberg and Ms. Kjersti later held an exclusive meeting with Ms. Thamilini and later with the women’s district level political leaders. The meetings concluded at 9 p.m.
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07.02.03 Dr Heiberg appointed Advisor for Women Issues