Let’s come together to support our sisters who have raised their voice for women’s rights and against discrimination


The constitutional reform process has initiated important discussions about legal reform. Among them is the need to better protect women’s rights and reform laws that discriminate against women. As women leaders who have worked for more than 25 years on women’s rights, we welcome this focus.

We call for changing laws that discriminate against us, including the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act, the Thesavalamai, Land Development Ordinance, the Vagrants Ordinance and sections 365 and 365A of the penal code.

In August this year, our sisters from the Women Action Network (WAN) made recommendations on reforming discriminatory laws to the Fundamental Rights Parliamentary Sub-Committee of the Constitutional Assembly of Sri Lanka. However, since then they have been vilified and attacked in several public meetings by some Muslim community leaders. These speeches have also been widely circulated through social media.

We are saddened and shocked that such dedicated women leaders committed to advance the well-being of women and their communities have been attacked in this way.

Article 16 (1) of the current constitution should be repealed and the constitution should ensure that all citizens are should be treated equally.

“Article 12 of the current constitution guarantees equal rights to men and women and non-discrimination.  However, article 16 (1) protects many laws that discriminate against women and the marginalised citizen”.

Reform personal laws that discriminate against women.

·       Protect all Sri Lankans by enforcing a minimum age of marriage of 18 years for all citizens regardless of religion or ethnicity.

·       Remove the practice of dowry/kaikuli, which has led to coercion and harassment of married women and their families as well as domestic violence.

·       Appoint women Quazis to ensure women’s access to equal justice in Quazi courts. Ensuring women can become Quazis, adjudicators, marriage registrars, and members of the Board of Quazis is to recognise Muslim women as equal Sri Lankan citizens. Exlcuding women from these positions, which are publicly funded also amounts to state-sanctioned discrimination against Sri Lankan Muslim women.


We reiterate some of the demands made by our sisters –


We strongly support our sisters from WAN in their struggle and demand respect for the dignity and safety of all those working for women’s rights and well-being.

Women and girls face much violence because of discriminatory laws. To prevent such violence against women and girls, and to ensure accountability for such violence, these laws must be reformed.

We call on everyone to come together to ensure that such public attacks do not recur, and that the dignity of women leaders who are at the forefront of these struggles are upheld.

Women’s Coalition for Disaster Management

(Batticaloa women’s network)

We, the undersigned, endorse this statement and support the call to reform the laws discriminatory towards women.


  1. Abha Bhaiya – India
  2. Afkar Fazil – Student
  3. Afrah Niwas – Univ. of Peradeniya
  4. Ashila Niroshi – Standup Movement
  5. Ashwiny .B
  6. Asma Azhar – Student, University of Peradeniya
  7. Ayesha Kidwai – Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
  8. Azra Wazeer – Temporary Lecturer, University of Peradeniya
  9. Bhavani Fonseka
  10. Binda Pandey
  11. Bisliya Bhutto – Kilinochchi
  12. Gowthaman
  13. Cayathri D
  14. Damairia Pakpahan – Yogyakarta, Indonesia
  15. Deanne uyangoda
  16. Dinushika Dissanayake
  17. Minna Thaheer – Policy Advisor/Activist & Researcher
  18. Camena Guneratne
  19. V. Rukmini Rao – India
  20. Dyuti
  21. Elankovan S.C.C
  22. Elangeswary Arunasalam
  23. Farhana Raheem – Legal Assistant
  24. V.Yogeswaran
  25. Hana Nayeem – Student
  26. Harini Amarasuriya
  27. Hashtag Generation
  28. Hana Ibrahim
  29. Hisham Muhammed – Management Accountant
  30. Huriyyah Fahim Hameed, Assistant Researcher
  31. Iman Fahim Hameed – Research and Lab Management
  32. Indrani Rajendran- Independent Consultant Colombo
  33. Kamani Jinadasa
  34. Kamla Bhasin – India
  35. Karththiha Thananjan
  36. Kamayani  Bali Mahabal feminist and human rights activist, India
  37. Kalyani Suntharalingam
  38. Kapoor, Women’s rights activist, Kolkata, India
  39. Kumudini Samuel – Women and Media Collective
  40. Koalisi Perempuan Indonesia
  41. Kuhanithy Kuhanesan
  42. Kayathry Yasothanan
  43. Kandeepan
  44. Letchumanan Kamaleswary
  45. Mangaleswary Shanker – Attorney-at-Law
  46. Malathi de Alwis
  47. Mariam Siddeeque
  48. Marisa de Silva
  49. Mariam Muhammed – Housewife
  50. Mariam Wadood – Attorney-at-Law
  51. Mumthaz Ansar – Temporarily Instructor ELTU
  52. Muhammed Naufer – Accountant
  53. A. Nuhman  formerly Professor of Tamil, Univ. of Peradeniya
  54. Paba Deshapriya
  55. Navaranjini Nadarajah Sureka
  56. Prematha Namasivayam
  57. Rafia Gulani Women’s Rights Activist
  58. Rahini . B
  59. Rajany Rajeswary – Feminist, Jaffna
  60. Ranitha Gnanarajah – Attorney-at-Law
  61. Ramzi Shahabdeen – Accountant and Business Analyst
  62. Rajaluxmi Kandaiyah
  63. Rita Manchanda South Asia Forum for Human Rights
  64. Ruki Fernando
  65. R Vasuky
  66. Sarala Emmanuel
  67. Sara Wazeer – Student, Sherwood Girls’ College, Ambatenna
  68. Sankhitha Gunaratne
  69. Saba Ismail from Aware Girls
  70. Saadia Haq – Human rights journalist and feminist, Pakistan
  71. Saswati ghosh- HOD and ASSOCIATE PROF, Economics. City College. Kolkata
  72. Seethey Swari.S
  73. Shanthi Sivanesan
  74. Shahul Hameed Hasbullah – Formerly Prof. in Geography,University of Peradeniya
  75. Shamra Wazeer – Student, Loyal Ladies’ College, Polgolla
  76. Shamil Mansoor – Chartered Management Accountant
  77. Shanaz Mansoor – Accountant
  78. Shafani Riyas – Preschool Teacher
  79. Shyamani Hettiarachchi
  80. Sitralega Maunaguru
  81. Sivamohan Sumathy University of Peradeniya
  82. Sritharuni Sritharan
  83. Sriranjini Thiyagarajah
  84. Nichola Emmanuel
  85. Sumika Perera -Coordinator, Women’s Resource Centre
  86. Sumika Perera -Coordinator, Women’s Resource Centre
  87. Suhanthini Thiventhiram- Kilinochchi
  88. Suthaharan Kanagaretnam
  89. Renuka
  90. Rahini
  91. Ithayarani
  92. Loganayaki
  93. Tasneem Hamead
  94. Devarany
  95. Thavachchelvi Rasan
  96. Thavachchelvi
  97. Udeni Thewarapperuma –Attorney At Law
  98. Uma Chakravarti
  99. Vanie Saimon
  100. Vasanthakala Pratheepan
  101. Vasuki Jeyashankar – Women’s Rights Activist
  102. Venushri Puvaneswaran
  103. Vijitha Ehamparanathan – Trincomalee
  104. Vijayaluxmi Seharuban
  105. Zaheer Mohamed- Hotel Manager, Grange Hotel, London
  106. Zulhama Fazil – Student



  1. Affected Women Forum – Akkaraipattu
  2. Beyond Beijing Committee Nepal
  3. Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA)
  4. Centre for Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, Trincomalee
  5. Gramya Resource Centre for Women – India
  6. Joint Women’s Programme – India
  7. Mannar Women’s Development Federation
  8. Northern Women Action Advocacy Network(NWAAN) – Vavuniya
  9. Programme on Women’s Economic Social and Cultural Rights (PWESCR) – India
  10. Peshraft Foundation for Human Rights, Pakistan.
  11. SAFA for ESCR , South Asian Feminist Alliance
  12. Suriya Women’s Development Centre, Batticaloa
  13. The Grassrooted Trust
  14. Women In Need
  15. Women’s Coalition for Disaster Management
  16. Youth Advocacy Network Sri Lanka