A discussion on the need to systematically observe and report the political activism of women during the period of elections

Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) in partnership with International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) organised a workshop on violence against women in elections (VAWIE) for election observer groups and women’s rights advocates on 27th of July at Global Towers Hotel, Colombo.

This discussion which was held based on the common issues arising  in relation to VAWIE and other relevant matters, was attended by representatives of all election observation groups as well as women’s rights  activists representing various women’s   organizations and groups.  Mr. Mahinda Deshapriya, the chairman of the Election Commission inaugurated the program and Beverly Hagerdon (Chief of Party, Sri Lanka- IFES) ,D. M. Dissanayake (IFES), Udeni Thewarapperuma(IFES), Rohana Hettiarchchi(Executive Director-Paffrel) and Manjula Gajanayake (National Co-ordinator-CMEV) subsequently conducted the remaining sessions in this event respectively.

Chairman of the Election commission of Sri Lanka outlined the inclusive election process that has  being followed by the Election Commission, in accordance with the strategic plan that was introduced recently, which was followed by  the socio-economic and political challenges towards the promotion of women participation in elections.  Keerthi Thennakoon (Caffe), Daya Herath (MDL Lanka), Sashee De Mel (TISL) , Jayantha Dolawattha (SLAPA) also expressed their views on the subject representing election observer groups while Visaka Dharmadasa (AWAWSL), Nadesan Suresh (Uva Shakthi Foundation), U.D.M.  Sheelwathie (UWFWO), Nalini Rathnarajah (Women Activist) and several others contributed to the discussion representing women and other rights based organisations.

It was a novel experience to learn about VAWIE and specially for the Women’s Organizations the information shared with regard to election monitoring tools and mechanisms was instrumental. During the final discussion, all the participants agreed that the existing election monitoring tools used by observer groups lack questions to capture VAWIE and they came up with several questions that need to be included in all election monitoring tools. The participants also acknowledged that in order to implement VAWIE monitoring tools, there are certain prerequisites that need to be looked into- such as training programmes on VAWIE for election observers, establishing a district level focal point for observers to refer victims of VAWIE and increasing public awareness on VAWIE. Based on the discussion, IFES and CMEV agreed to draft sample questions to capture VAWIE that can be adopted by interested observer groups. IFES and CMEV will also develop a brief strategy on how to implement VAWIE monitoring during elections.

Consultation Workshop on the Political Rights of Persons with Disabilities- Polonnaruwa District Discussion

CMEV has been engaging in various initiatives of empowering disability organizations to achieve their political rights, with special emphasis on voting rights of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and to create an inclusive discourse with that regard, ensuring that the popular disability related slogan ‘’’Nothing about us without us’’ is given its true meaning. To this effect, CMEV has been conducting a series of programs aimed at the realization of political / voting rights of PwDs, in parallel with both National level Elections held in 2015 as well.

As a part of the newest chapter of the said initiatives, another  consultative discussion was held on 18th July in partnership with the Election Commission of Sri Lanka and FRIDSRO. Key representatives of DPOs in North Central  Province took part in this occasion.

The Additional Commissioner of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka Mr. Saman Sri Ratnayake attended this event as the main resource person, representing the Election Commission. Assistant  Election Commissioner (Polonnaruwa district) Mr. J. Jeniton and Researcher of CMEV Hashanie Chitranganie attended as resource persons. National Coordinator of CMEV Manjula Gajanayake was the facilitator of the event and the Programme Officer Mr. R.P. Karunarathne attended representing FRIDSRO Sri Lanka.

The Regulation of Campaign Finances and the Electoral Process in Sri Lanka

There are numerous changes which must inevitably take place in the process of electoral reforms. One such significant sector that must be subject to change is the limitation of campaign finances.

A large number of programmes have been carried out by the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence on this regard. The awareness programmes pertinent to this sector are still being conducted consistently.

As a part of these initiatives, an information pamphlet  has been released in all three languages. This pamphlet was published in collaboration with Transparency International Sri Lanka.

Download the pamphlet in EnglishSinhala and Tamil.

Limitations on campaign finance and disclosure of assets and liabilities: A series of regional dialogues – Part 2

In addition to the contributions made by the Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV) in critical engagement with the election observation processes in Sri Lanka, it has simultaneously been contributing to the electoral reform process in the country. As part of these overall functions, CMEV has initiated a series of discussions with the intention of enhancing an island wide public discourse on “Limitations on Campaign Finance and the disclosure of assets and liabilities”.

Therefore, contributing to the said initiative, Centre for Monitoring Violence (CMEV) organized 2 regional workshops in both Ampara & Mannar district recently. This discussion series was organized by CMEV in partnership with Transparency International Sri Lanka with the assistance of local organizations as well as CMEV field and District Coordinators, Candidates willing to contest upcoming local government election – women candidates in particular, Activists and key members of civil society organizations attended in the said series of discussions.

Deputy Commissioner of Local Government (retired) Mr. N. A. Dharmasiri and National Coordinator of CMEV  Manjula Gajanayake ​were the speakers at these 2 discussions. ​

A guide on facilitation of voting rights for out-of-country voters

CMEV has taken a new initiative to identify and facilitate the voting rights of migrant workers in Sri Lanka that amounts to over two million persons. As one of the major contributing source to the national income through foreign revenue, the need to facilitate their inalienable right to participate in the political decision-making process has been recognized and addressed by a comprehensive document compiled with this regard. It encompasses the pertinent legal background and numerous methods utilized in other countries to avail out-of-country voters with facilities to exercise their right to vote.

Download the guide in EnglishSinhala and Tamil.

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Guide document on Political rights and Representation of Persons with disabilities and the Electoral Process

Centre for Monitoring Election Violence is the first election observing organization in Sri Lanka that spearheaded numerous initiatives beneficial to the realization of voting rights of persons with disabilities with the auspices of  the Election Commission of Sri Lanka. CMEV has produced a comprehensive document combining the disability classification, rights and entitlements of persons with disabilities in Sri Lanka and  legal provisions to facilitate their political rights in line with the electoral process of Sri Lanka.

Download the document in EnglishSinhala and Tamil.

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Policy brief on political rights and representation of persons with disabilities

The Centre for Monitoring Election Violence (CMEV), as the very first election observing organization in Sri Lanka that spearheaded numerous initiatives beneficial to the realization of voting rights of the persons with disabilities with the auspices of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, has been able to reach out to over 250 representatives of  leading Disabled Persons’ Organizations from over 20 districts around the country and obtain their input regarding the issues faced by them concerning the electoral process.

The focal point on persons with disabilities and older persons, that has been appointed by the Election Commission of Sri Lanka, also took part in these consultative discussions where the issues of the said DPOs were presented and suitable recommendations deliberated with the relevant stakeholders related to the electoral process.

Download the report in English here and Sinhala here.

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