Concluding Observations, CEDAW/C/LKA/CO/7, 5 April 2011: Sri Lanka
24. The Committee is concerned that, despite the adoption of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, there are significant delays before cases are processed under this Act. It appears from the constructive dialogue that most cases are dealt with through police mediation, and that family relations prevail over protection of women and suppression of violence against women. The Committee is further concerned that marital rape is recognized only if a judge has previously acknowledged the separation of the spouses. It also regrets the absence of specific data and information on domestic violence. The Committee is further concerned that the criminalization of same-sex relationship results in women being completely excluded from legal protection. It is also concerned about the information that the law enforcement officers are allowed to arbitrarily detain them.
25. In accordance with its general recommendation No. 19, the Committee urges the State party:
- To give priority attention to combating violence against women and girls and to adopt comprehensive legislation to criminalize all forms of violence against women;
- To carry out additional educational and awareness-raising trainings for the judiciary and public officials, in particular law enforcement officers, health service providers and social workers, community leaders and the general public so as to raise awareness and sensitivity to the fact that all forms of violence against women constitute a criminal offence;
- To take the necessary measures to provide support to victims of violence, including by improving women’s access to justice, and implement its decision to establish State-sponsored shelters for victims of violence;
- To extend criminalization of marital rape regardless of judicial acknowledgement of separation; and
- To take measures to prevent violence against women, investigate occurrences, prosecute and punish perpetrators;
- To provide protection, relief and remedies, including appropriate compensation, to victims and their families; and
- To decriminalize sexual relationship between consenting adults of same sex, and abide by the obligation of non-discrimination under the Convention.
Link to full text of the report: Concluding Observations-CEDAW-Sri Lanka-2011-eng