23 June, 2017

Homophobic Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Should Resign: Right Activists

Right activists slammed Justice Minister Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe‘s outrageous comment on homosexuality and urged him to step down.

On Friday Wijeyadasa described homosexuality as a mental illness.

Wijeyadasa

Wijeyadasa

Speaking at the opening ceremony of new district court complex in Tissamaharama, Wijeyadasa said: “They impose conditions on us when granting the GSP+ concession. When we were exporting fish to the EU they imposed the conditions and we complied with them. Now, to grant the GSP+ they ask more. They have several conditions which we agreed and some which we have not agreed. We were also asked to legalise homosexuality in the country. The European asked us to include it in the closes of the fundamental rights of the constitution. We clearly told them although they have a culture of indecency Sri Lankans are not people of such mental illnesses.”

“This comment is proof that we have a justice minister who is so small-minded that he withholds justice to his own fellow citizens on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. I strongly think homophobic Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe should resign.” trans rights activist, blogger and international politics academic Dr Chamindra Weerawardhana told Colombo Telegraph.

Dr Chamindra Weerawardhana said:”‘Justice’ is an extremely crucial ministerial portfolio, and a mammoth responsibility falls on the shoulders of the Minister of Justice, to stand for the fundamental rights of ALL citizens. Here, we see an extremely pathetic case, where the minister of justice, himself a President’s Counsel and a PhD holder, being extremely discriminatory towards Sri Lankan citizens on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation! This is absolutely abominable, and should be summarily condemned. Sometime back, some news sites (such as a London-based one) used to praise this minister, highlighting how he had conversations with the British queen during a visit to London. In this terribly shameless comment we can clearly see that Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe’s allegiance is with the British Crown – as he seems to care more for Victorian values and laws the British forcibly imposed upon us, than the inalienable fundamental rights of our own fellow Sri Lankan citizens.”

“At yet another level, the way in which this guy talks about the European Union should be publicised internationally and summarily condemned. Despite considerable progress, there’s still a long way to go in terms of LGBTIQ rights in the EU. Some elements of EU foreign policy often encourage coercive pinkwashing tactics. Despite all that, after a time when relations between Colombo and the EU institutions were strained, the present government in Colombo, especially given its international contacts, has a key role to play in reviving Sri Lanka’s relationship with the European institutions, and working on a win-win, cooperative and constructive relationship. Making utterly ridiculous and staggeringly ignorant soundbite-oriented comments of this nature, even in the far end of provincial Sri Lanka, is simply not on, and undermines foreign policy. Most importantly, this comment is proof that we have a justice minister who is so small-minded that he withholds justice to his own fellow citizens on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. I strongly think homophobic Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe should resign.” Weerawardhana noted.

“How can a politician with no expertise in Mental Health declare that Homosexuality is a mental disorder?” another right activist Dinesh Perera questioned.

Commenting on Facebook Dinesh Perera said: “He may not have done his research but here, I did some for him. If there is a criminal in all of this, it is the politician and not the person who simply seeks to love the person he/she is naturally attracted to. In 1973, the American Psychiatric Association members voted to remove homosexuality from the list of mental disorders. APA further describes this as : “Lesbian, gay and bisexual orientations are not disorders. Research has found no inherent association between any of these sexual orientations and psychopathology. Both heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality. Both have been documented in many different cultures and historical eras. Despite the persistence of stereotypes that portray lesbian, gay and bisexual people as disturbed, several decades of research and clinical experience have led all mainstream medical and mental health organizations in the USA to conclude that these orientations represent normal forms of human experience. Lesbian, gay and bisexual relationships are normal forms of human bonding.”

“The World Health Organization (WHO) removed homosexuality from its International Classification of Diseases with the publication of ICD-10 in 1992. In a review of published studies comparing homosexual and heterosexual samples on psychological tests, Gonsiorek (1982) found that, although some differences have been observed in test results between homosexuals and heterosexuals, both groups consistently score within the normal range. Gonsiorek concluded that “Homosexuality in and of itself is unrelated to psychological disturbance or maladjustment. Homosexuals as a group are not more psychologically disturbed on account of their homosexuality” (Gonsiorek, 1982, p. 74; see also reviews by Gonsiorek, 1991; Hart, Roback, Tittler, Weitz, Walston & McKee, 1978; Riess, 1980).” Perera said.

Meanwhile a group of Rights activists have launched an online petition urging the government to Repeal Colonial Era Laws that Entrench Discrimination and Perpetuate Violence.

The petition said: As the Yahapalanaya Government that committed to protect and promote the human rights, it is imperative that it takes all measures to prevent discrimination, harassment, violence and other violations against all of its citizens, including those who identify as as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ). Recent media reports indicate that key measures to reform and remove laws impacting LGBTIQ persons, particularly Section 365 and 365A of the Penal Code which criminalises same sex activity and continues to be used to harass and persecute LBTIQ persons, were taken out of the National Human Rights Action Plan (NHRAP) 2017‐2021. We the undersigned strongly condemn and wish to express our outrage and concern that this Government is seeking to perpetuate violence and discrimination against individuals who identify as LGBTIQ, instead of taking legislative and policy actions to address systemic violence and discrimination dating from the colonial era.

The Yahapalanaya Government announced that it would commit to universal human rights standards and comply with its international human rights obligations in addition to enforcing and reforming national frameworks, including as per the current Constitution of Sri Lanka which guarantees the fundamental rights of all its citizens. The NHRAP is one mechanism through which the Government identifies legislative reforms and policy actions necessary to fulfill its constitutional obligations to “respect, secure and advance” human rights enshrined under Article 4(d) of the Constitution.

While there was some civil society participation in the drafting of the NHRAP, the process was undertaken in a rushed manner, leaving little space for public participation. Unofficial accounts attest that the final draft presented to the cabinet was over 300 plus pages and included substantive measures to address critical failings and gaps with regards to human rights, including provisions for the repeal of Section 365 and 365A of the Penal Code. Several media reports quoted Cabinet Spokesperson and Minister of Health, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne indicating that the Cabinet of Ministers had amended the NHRAP draft rejecting proposed measures to protect people from discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, and to repeal Sections 365 and 365A. Some media claimed that it was done citing the need to protect national culture. It was also reported that other provisions in the draft NHRAP pertaining to vagrancy, marital rape among others had been dropped.

We express deep concern that the Government has chosen to continue archaic and discriminatory legal provisions and practices that perpetuate harassment, abuse, injustice and discrimination against its own citizens instead of over‐turning colonial era laws based on Victorian values that are alien to this country. These laws pertaining to criminialisation of same sex activity were imposed on Sri Lanka during British rule and similar provisions in British law have since been repealed in other countries. Furthermore there is no evidence to indicate that homosexual conduct was criminalised prior to colonial rule in Sri Lanka. It is therefore shameful and untenable that the current government continues to mislead the public by citing colonial values as representative of Sri Lankan culture in order to validate violence, abuse, ill‐treatment and discrimination.

In the context in Sri Lanka the ‘silencing’ of LGBTIQ communities extends to the law wherein which a vulnerable community is deemed not‐existent and the protections and rights afforded to other segments of society have been continually denied. While the LGBTIQ community is defined by their citizenship and not by this one legal provision it does impact the day‐to‐day lives of LGBTIQ people all over the country across class, race and economics. Even while the State has argued that it has not prosecuted anyone under the provision of 365 and 365A, these laws in effect criminalise sexual acts between consenting adults and has specific and multiple impacts on the LGBTIQ community.

The LGBTIQ community have, for many years faced and reported incidents of rape, physical, verbal and emotional abuse and discrimination at the hands of private actors and state officials. The law has provided a framework for stigmatisation and discrimination against LGBTIQ individuals and perpetuates a culture of impunity wherein citizens of this country are unable to access the full protection of the law or speak out against the violence. This has led to depression, anxiety, stress, isolation, denial and even suicide, preventing people from enjoying to the full their rights to bodily integrity, sexual autonomy, equality and non discrimination as citizens of Sri Lanka. There have been negligible remedies for these injustices from law enforcement or other sources of redress due to the criminalisation of relationships between consenting adults. These discriminatory laws also serve to prevent reporting of these crimes, and thereby further perpetuate the practice of abuse.

Furthermore, Sections 365 and 365A violate a number of constitutionally guaranteed human rights: by legally entrenching arbitrary notions of “natural” and “unnatural” sexual intercourse, and criminalising private sexual acts as “grossly indecent”, the provisions violate the Freedom of Thought and Conscience guaranteed under Article 10 of the Constitution, and Freedom of Expression, guaranteed Article 14(1)(a). By prohibiting sexual acts committed by consenting adults acting in private, the State interferes with private relationships that no one has the right to interfere with, violating their Freedom of Association under Article 14(1)(c). By making large groups of people vulnerable to police abuse, employment discrimination, refusal of healthcare, etc., the provisions violate guarantees of equal protection and non‐discrimination under Article 12 of the Constitution.

In the context of post‐war recovery and conflict transformation the Government established two consultation processes ‐ the Public Representations Committee on Constitutional Reform and the Consultation Task Force on Reconciliation Mechanisms to ascertain the public’s views on required legal and policy changes. Both reports specifically reference submissions received on sexual orientation and gender identities, which speak to issues of discrimination and harassment and propose constitutional, legal and institutional safeguards and measures. Both these processes were nationally owned, and sought the opinions of Sri Lankans with regard to the changes they would like to see to overcome challenges they face on a day‐to‐day basis.

As such, we as individuals self‐identifying as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex, and Queer (LGBTIQ), as family members and friends of LGBTIQ people, and as individuals/communities coming forward in support of a community of Sri Lankans, call upon the Government of Sri Lanka, His Excellency President Maithripala Sirisena, His Excellency the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to meet national and international obligations towards the citizens of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka by:

  • Ensuring that efforts are made to address discrimination and violence against LGBTIQ persons through the National Human Rights Action Plan 2017 – 2021, and related review processes.
  • Repealing Section 365A of the Penal Code
  • Repealing the Vagrant’s Ordinance
  • Eliminating discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identities though constitutional reform

Click here to sign the petition.

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Latest comments

  • 7
    11

    I wonder if Wijedasa Rajapaksha condoned homosexuality what would the very same commentators say about him.

    All biased, perverted web donkeys have congregated on CT.

    Soma

    • 7
      18

      Who ever what ever it says, It is a mental disorder. Other than human no other animals do this.

      • 10
        1

        Leel
        Then, all animals but humans have no restrictions on sexual conduct.
        They do not have this thing called ‘marriage’ which limits the age for sex, the number of persons with one has sex, where one may have sex, and with whom one may have sex. Hence prostitution, which does not exist among animals.

        Human psychology has developed with development as society. The need for sex is not driven entirely by the reproductive instinct.
        Some people are naturally homosexual; in others there are social and emotional factors that induce it.
        Reference to homosexuality exists in ancient literature, more kind in the East than in the West & the Middle East.

      • 4
        5

        Your statement is factually wrong. Most if not all animals do this. Homosexual behavior has been well documented in 500 species of animals. Must be a whole lotta mentally disturbed animals out there.

        Educate yourself before throwing around false statements as fact.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homosexual_behavior_in_animals

      • 1
        4

        Leel, You must read, There are plenty of recordings of homosexual behavior of animals! It is natural dude, It could be your son too!
        I have two uncles! Learn to empathize as long as they are not pedophiles!

      • 0
        0

        Leel, very interesting comment “Other than human no other animals do this”.

        Where do you place the people leading monasterial life eg, Buddhist priests? have you heard of the “Pansalae Sellama”?

        • 0
          0

          Surely the Minister of Buddhist Affairs should know about “Pansala Sellamma “
          What has he to say for the ordination of young children ?
          Is it not a violation of the children’s rights ?

    • 1
      0

      the biggest problem of the current govt is there are powerful ministerial level personlities in there that behave being supportive to former highly abusive allies. All these should be stopped on the spot, else, people would not support the current men further. This called in vernacular අෙඟ් ඉදන් කණ කනවාලූ
      To Feed on the Ear Whilst sitting on the Horn-අඟේ ඉඳන් කන කනවා වගේ අය. නොදියුනු තිරිසන්නුගෙන් පිරි රටේ මොනවා වෙන්න බැරිද?

  • 15
    1

    I would like to know where Buddhism or Jainism or for that matter any of the Hindu religions has declared homosexuality as something that should be banned.

    For millennia, nearly every Asian society at its peak of civilization accommodated alternative forms of sexuality.

  • 10
    3

    I read all 68 comments so far on Dr. Weerawarden’s article. Almost all the comments are mixed with their political party loyalty above the real LGBTIQ issue.
    I googled the list of countries which legalized same sex marriage and found out that only 22 countries of the world from America,Europe and single country from Africa None from Asia.Holland became the first country to adopt in 2001 and USA joined only 01 year ago in 2015.

    Why we rush ? Do we want to become first Asian country legalize under RW and MS ?

    Biggest blunder would be lobbying group is risking the new proposed constitutional changes by forcing to add LGBTIQ rights in to it. It can lead to reject whole package by SL public at this juncture.

    • 5
      1

      Same sex marriage is another proposition (It is accepted in much of South America).
      It is not the same as legalization of homosexuality.

      Now, how many countries criminalized homosexuality? And when?
      I think that criminalization had much to do with Bibilical faiths. Israel got out of it rather early. (An Israeli colleague at my former workplace insisted that at least 10% of Israeli males were Gay. He may have included bi-sexuals. However, I found it hard to imagine initially.)
      Many Christin countries are now free of homophobia.
      Islam will need time to adopt.

      Criminalization of a practice that was at worst laughed at in our societies was imposed on Asia by the colonial rulers I suspect .

      An examination of the list of 76 (+ or – 3) countries where it is a crime will show that most are predominantly Muslim or have a strong Muslim presence. please see map: (https://76crimes.com/76-countries-where-homosexuality-is-illegal/)

      The position in the UN on Human Rights Council’s 2011 resolution on LGBT rights:
      Support:96
      Oppose:54
      No stand:44

    • 0
      0

      “Why we rush? Do we want to become first Asian country legalize under RW and MS?. In the past, although a small nation, we lead for others to follow. We had the first woman leader and we the first to ban capital punishment. It is this inferiority complex that has pushed us to the bottom.

  • 12
    4

    According to Mahawamsa the Sri Lankan race was the result of a princess having sex with a lion. If Sri Lankans believe the Mahawamsa and if the Sri Lankan race is a mixed race between an animal and a human, what is wrong in two human beings having sex?

    • 1
      0

      IF WIjayadasa is coming to media and telling something negative,. it means he needs money from interest party,. give sum hot cash and he will not talk about that subject like AvanGuard and GLL Pyramid did..

  • 13
    2

    ” …. We clearly told them although they have a culture of indecency Sri Lankans are not people of such mental illnesses.”

    I was surprised by the above statement of the Minister of Justice, who despite having a doctorate, could utter such stupid opinion in public. Whatever his personal likes & dislikes, he seems unaware that sexual orientation (apart from pedophilia) is not considered an illness by the medical world, & as for his pride in SL culture (its relevance on the subject of LGBT??), he is living in denial & needs to look at the world in the 21st century in a broader perspective. There are rapists & pedophiles in SL (so his distorted view on SL’s long & illustrious ‘culture’ is irrelevant) & homosexuality in particular, is not a new phenomenon in SL but, as with the subject of sex in general, has not been openly discussed & remained behind closed doors. So is he so naive, stupid or just playing to the gallery as politicians always do? Anyway it does question his level of education & whether his doctorate is honorary, just like Vermin Silva’s because its is not a statement a responsible Minister should say in public

    • 2
      1

      Raj, you’re right how can we call this stupid guy a minister.

  • 13
    0

    To Soma and Lekam: I am neither in favour of nor against homosexuality. I don`t care who fucks whom. I only wanted to say that our Minister of Justice has made a mistake in saying that homosexuals are mentally sick people . Well, in my comment I have given a list of names of some famous people known to have practiced homosexuality. Were they all mentally sick? In Buddhist literature ( Saddharma Ratnawalee) it is said that queen Kosala Mallika copulated with a dog! `Asaatha Manthrana Jathaka` tells how the `great Bodhisatva` persuaded his student to awaken sexual feelings of his own old mother. If I remember correctly , it was J.Wijetunge who in his `Grass for My Feet` said that Buddhist temples are homosexual breeding grounds. Sounds sick? So, legalizing homosexual marriages is not such a big issue. Whether it is legal or illegal the game will go on!

  • 14
    0

    I wonder what Wijedasa Rajapakse,as Minister in charge of the Buddha Sasana has to say about the famous homosexual activities of young Buddhist Monks?
    Or are they exempted by the foremost place granted to Buddhism?

    • 4
      0

      Only young Buddhist monks?
      What about those in other kinds of saffron robe, and other clergy and novices?

      Like other establishments, religious establishments the world over protect their clergy even after they are found out.

  • 10
    0

    Wije what you are saying is Galbody Gnanasara is mental,your good pal of the Mara clan.

  • 11
    1

    Truly unbelievable level of ignorance and small minededness. And this is the Minister of Justice.

  • 5
    1

    sekera.

    I will not contest your superior knowledge of the Homosexual Practice of the clergy; Buddhist,Christian[Inclusive of Catholics] and Hindu,covering both the young and the not so young!

  • 0
    0

    sekera.

    No hard feelings no?

    • 1
      0

      One should know when to face the ball, no balls especially. (no pun intended)

  • 2
    0

    Listening to these LGBT activists, I want to be a donkey – at least they don’t practise homosexuality.

  • 5
    1

    I appreciate Minister Wijedasa Rajapaksa to say a spade a spade. We should not stoop down to the demands of the EU in exchange for granting some concessional grant that undermine the cardinal culture of ours. The Europeans have gone out of their minds. We have our own preserved cultures which we will preserve under any circumstances. Today EU will tell us OK legalized same sex marriage, then will say to make our beaches, a nude colony, then will tell us Ok make incest legal. To hell with the GSP+ we are not so stupid to bow down to allow these inhuman unnatural decadence perverted sickness to prevail in our soil. and our cemeteries have no facilities handle AIDS deaths, even funeral parlor cannot handle AIDS.

    • 0
      0

      Ginigorisappuhamy “I appreciate Minister Wijedasa Rajapaksa to say a spade a spade”
      You are wrong, wijedasa the foul mouth says that a spade is a spoon, that fits his big mouth.

  • 0
    0

    The present government must appoint joint spokesman or spokeswomen from UNP and SLFP to answer public questions and speak on behalf of national issues that the government is responsible with.

    This is causing a lot of damage to the government and confusion to the public.

    It is time for the national government to read from a single page.

    Everyone seems to be giving out freely their own opinion end they all end up contradicting each other and making the government look stupid.

  • 0
    0

    I am curious about Wijedasa Rajapakse’s doctorate. Has it been earned through academic research or is it an honorary one? If the former, what was the subject of his PhD and where did he earn it?

    If the latter, which university bestowed it and when? I might even add “why” but maybe that would seem carping.

    I wonder when the practice of using honorary doctorates as titles began in SL.

    I also wonder when the practice of calling oneself a doctor when one didn’t even have an honorary doctorate, began. Someone who allowed himself to be thus addressed as “Dr” for years is politician Karunasena Kodituwakku. However recently he seems to have had an honorary doctorate bestowed upon himself. I wonder if this was only after his party came into power again and which university did the favour.

    What suckers we are for titles. And our universities are full of professors without doctorates too.

  • 0
    0

    I take back my questions ‘re Rajapakshe’s doctorate as I see from his Facebook description that he has a doctorate from the University of Kelaniya on a specific subject.

  • 0
    0

    Specifically in Law and Buddhist Philosophy.

    • 0
      0

      Manel Fonseka: Did Rajapkse stay at a pirivena univesity? Did he enjoy the Pansle Sellama?

  • 2
    1

    Homosexual is a state of Mind, and definitely a mental illness and is against nature. Who are these rights activists. Just because some throw bundles of currencies , it does not mean they are normal people. I agree with the Hon.Minister. Homosexuals should be treated and declared as people of unsound mind.

  • 1
    0

    Please don’t attack our party leadership, what they do in their bedrooms are irrelevant to national affairs and foreign affairs.

  • 0
    0

    Let us for a moment accept Avant Garde
    Rajapakshe says that homosexuality is
    a mental sickness.

    Is he then saying that his Prime Minister
    (Ranil Wickramasingha) and Foreign Minister
    Mangala Samarweera are mentally sick?

    He should respond. This hypocrite is the
    worst culprit. He will do anything for
    money and now he is publicly complaining
    about the PM and many of his own ministerial
    colleagues.

  • 0
    0

    Hello Minister – Now, Why don’t you resign and collect your monthly Million. You are a boaster. MPHOT – bye Nihal Gunatilake

  • 0
    0

    Wijedasa is a sick man. Why does the UNP keep this horror?

  • 0
    0

    It is Sham that responsible minister who is making dogmatic comments about once sexual preference.
    It is a internationally accepted and mealy decriminalised under the former regime. There are many marriages ruined due to forced marriages due to not having options to have same sex relationships.
    This is fundamental right and it was in the culture before adapting the Victorian culture. Anybody has any doubts can visit the Pnduwasnuwara Museum and check the ancient sculptures.

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