Children, women suffer most in war – envoy

The harsh reality in a conflict is that children and women suffer the most, Canadian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Shelly Whiting said.

She said although the physical impact of the war on property is less, the social impact and certain social issues are severe.

Whiting said the number of war widows is comparably large when compared to experiences of other countries.

She said addressing their issues was a challenge.

Whiting said a political solution to the issue and willingness to embrace each other would build trust and understanding that would bring strong reconciliations.

photo_1329324598506-1-0She made these observations delivering the keynote speech at the programme ‘Voices of Strong Women’ held at the BMICH.

The event was organised under the theme ‘The Untold Stories of War Affected Women in Sri Lanka’ by the Ranaviru Seva Authority and National Christian Evangelical Alliance (NCEASL) to mark World Widow’s Day.

Whiting said sharing the experiences of war affected women at a forum such as this would help build understanding between communities.

Meanwhile, veteran film director Dharmasiri Bandaranayake said leaders who admire victories should be removed from politics at the next general election.

He said former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has returned to contest the general election.

Bandaranayake added that Rajapaksa complained that the same people who cheered him by waving national flags following the war victory, cast their votes to defeat him.

He said he was always against the war and maintained that the war had to be stopped.

Bandaranayake added that many criticised his opinion.

He added what the country had to train the people to make an attitudinal change to change society.

Bandaranayake said the war had eroded almost all humanistic qualities of the people.

NCEASL Gender Department Head Sharma Arumugam and two war affected women Sudarma Hettiarachchi and Selva Malar also spoke.

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