29 September, 2020

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JVP/NIO: First Major Sri Lankan Political Platform To Openly Recognise LGBT+ Rights 

At a meeting of the National Intellectual Organisation [NIO] held in November 2018, JVP leader Anura Dissanayake affirmed in public that his party, [the primary contender to present itself as a third alternative in Sri Lankan politics], recognises and respects LGBT+ rights [සමරිසි ප්‍රජාව]. The NIO National Policy Document, launched at the national convention of the NIO held in Colombo on 19th February 2019, contains a section on LGBT+ rights. Pages 104-105 read as follows: 

LGBT+ community leaders were invited to both above-mentioned events, and in drafting the manifesto, NIO was keen to gain first-hand insights from LGBT+ rights advocates of the left. 

Indeed, these are highly significant developments. This is the first time that representatives of LGBTIQ+ communities in Sri Lanka have been invited by a political party to join a high level public political dialogue. This is also the first time when an organisation affiliated to a national-level political party has included a comprehensive section on LGBT+ rights in their primary policy document. 

Speaking to Colombo Telegraph, political analyst, educator and author Dr Chamindra Weerawardhana, who delivered Sri Lanka’s inaugural annual Pride Speech last May in Colombo, noted: 

“These are very commendable developments. The JVP and the NIO have been receptive to the LGBT+ community, and their willingness to interact with non-heteronormative Sri Lankans is a very important move. I also appreciate the fact that they focus on the issue of sexual orientation, as in “සමරිසි”. This is very important, because it is non-heteronormative citizens whose rights are being criminalised. They face very high levels of stigma. A senior MP who is supportive of SOGIESC rights once said to me that efforts develop a parliamentary dialogue on the rights related to gender identity/expression and sex characteristics were somewhat easier than a similar effort on sexual orientation-related matters. So the NIO and JVP definitely should be appreciated for focusing on the සමරිසි ප්‍රජාව”. 

Dr Weerawardhana further noted that despite this development and many other positive elements in the NIO policy document, 

“The NIO is yet to make progress on a very important matter, gender equality and parity. Very few women have so far been given key positions and responsibilities. At the National Convention, we saw only a few women taking the floor. If you are a serious political advocacy body of the left that intends to impact a polity in 2019, it is very important to focus on 50:50 parity. In the Sri Lankan context, this would set a tremendous precedent. Some people seem to assume, even within the left, that we do not need to focus on gender parity in this way, or that Sri Lanka is ‘not ready’ for such a development. All I have to say to them is to look at the power of Sri Lankan women from all backgrounds, levels of education and identities, and take stock of the importance of ensuring full parity. The equality and justice-related elements in the NIO programme of action would not be fruitful in the absence of a proper parity policy. To me, as a queer woman, full gender parity, robust gender equality/justice policies and the rights of the සමරිසි ප්‍රජාව go hand-in-hand”. 

Speaking to Colombo Telegraph, Thiagaraja Warathas, a political activist, Senior Lecturer at the University of Colombo and Commonwealth doctoral scholar at the University of Bath, noted 

“I think this is a very significant moment for the LGBT+ community in Sri Lanka, where a multi-front body like the NIO, that is known to be aligned with a political party that represents parliament and has a rural and semi-urban voting bank, has agreed to accept LGBTQI+ rights as something that should be enhanced and protected. No other political party representing parliament has ever initiated such an endeavour in Sri Lankan history.” 

 “And this change did not come overnight. There have been a number of discussions and fostering processes, which have culminated in such a positive policy transformation. And this should be enhanced and further strengthened based on mutually beneficial political dialogue between the political parties and the LGBT+ community. Instead of demanding the full pie all at once, certain elements of the Sri Lankan LGBT+ community must also realise that the consolidation of political recognition is a gradual and incremental process”, Warathas further said.

Uvindu Kurukulasuriya, the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Colombo Telegraph, noted: “This is indeed very good news. Since its inception, the Colombo Telegraph has resolutely stood for the rights of all minorities in Sri Lanka, including the LGBT+ community and for SOGIESC rights. I commend the NIO for this step, and fervently hope that they would keep strengthening their policies on equality and justice as they develop as an organisation. 

“The NIO-JVP supporting LGBT+ rights in an election year shows us where the NIO and JVP leaderships are showing us the way forward for a progressive Sri Lanka”, Kurukulasuriya further commented. (By Shamila Rathnayake)

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Latest comments

  • 15
    5

    This is a good move. I also wish if JVP could respect smaller minorities like burgher community and chinese communities in the country. We talk about muslims and tamils only. I think burgher people have been discriminated in the country for ages. Not even their representatives get elected to parliament yet today.
    :
    This country’s racial conflicts are much more than appeared to be.

    • 7
      1

      JVP/NIO,

      Thanks you are recognizing them as Homo Sapiens with 46 chromosomes.

      Do those who oppose them, the monks, Priests, Ulama, politicians, crooks etc. are Homo Sapiens with 46 chromosomes, or primates with 48chromosomes?

      • 2
        0

        Amarasiri

        Are you napping?

        The NIO’s National Manifesto (http://www.nio.lk/) looks and sound like JVP’s
        “Jathika Prasnaya Visadeemata Pravesayak” or எமது நோக்கு or Our Vision Policy Framework.

        What’s going on?

        • 0
          0

          Native Vedda,

          No, not napping. There should be some uprising , Revolution to disrupt the current rut, fully enjoyed by the politicians from the President downwards.

          However, the main obstacle seems to be mean IQ of 79 of the Paras, and many do not know what the hell is going on, listen to The saffron robed monks, ptirdts and the Ulama, who promise them undemonstrated pleasures of afterlife for eternity.

    • 0
      0

      So Burgher community is too small to send a representative,( if they really want it or not is a different matter….)………..=> so there must be a bigger racial problem in SL…..kya logic hai

  • 6
    3

    CT

    I see a few monks occupying a few rows, some of them are dozing off, understandable. Most important intellectual monks are missing from this inaugural conference, for example Gnanasara, Ampitiye Suman, Akmeemana Dayarathana, ……………………

    Most men are sporting beard.
    Is beard a basic requirement that satisfies admission criteria?

    • 1
      0

      Native: Akmeemana Dayaratne ? Please consult the Magistrates court at Galle.

    • 1
      1

      Native,
      How about learning to give credit when it is due. This looks like a step in the right direction, however small.
      Cheers!

      • 2
        0

        Ben Hurling

        The NIO’s National Manifesto (http://www.nio.lk/) looks and sound like JVP’s
        “Jathika Prasnaya Visadeemata Pravesayak” or எமது நோக்கு or Our Vision Policy Framework.

        Is NIO a JVP front organisation.

  • 5
    0

    Leave personal life one side .put politics right.

  • 4
    1

    One can say that better late than never. Clearly JVP has to be sensitive to the aspirations of the young, for it to survive and be current. There is a considerable body of the young who would like to have some gay experience prior to “settling down” in terms of the beaten track. The JVP cannot therefore ignore the “Samarisi” aspirations of the young. In this context I see that this is a move done considering its own survival as opposed to a so called “principled stand”. I observe that the term “Samarisi” is more dignified than “Samanala”, uttered by the exalted, high and mighty.

  • 1
    1

    Another party to the so many bankrupt Leftist parties. I think wimal Weerawansha knows the core activities of JVP. Now, I understand why Progressive JVP was required. So, AKD will move to Ireland.

  • 1
    0

    How ever JVP says yes it is published but we know nothing about it. My question is why UNP-butter flies are not there.

  • 1
    0

    LGBT rites are in MCC list of requirements. Go to the website and see.

    • 1
      1

      Does the JVP want to become Buddhist Monks? Sodomy is the passion of the B.Monks.

  • 2
    5

    Mixing silly issues to politics?

    • 3
      3

      What, Sri Lankan politics is serious, and not silly ?
      Where have you been?

  • 2
    5

    What is news worth in this? After all the temple is the centre of butterflies through generations. Then were the days the victims were selected for their looks and were called ABITHTHAYAS.Thanks to the politicians the abiththayas have disappeared now they come in safron.
    The Buddha must be turning in his grave, no no grave that too had been pillaged for body parts.

  • 6
    0

    Other than what this article presents, I, in my opinion have been able to LOCATE” a suitable candidate to be the President of this country at this “Convention” of the NIO. He is none other than Prof. S.J. Yogarajah of the Kelaniya University. Please listen to his speech delivered at this Convention, that is now available in YTUBE. He speaks, both in Tamil and Sinhala and I believe equally competent in English. Prof. Yogarajah, did not go to explain what was written in the “Book” distributed; but explicitly confined to the “Road Map” that would be necessary to “REGAIN” this country. Please watch and listen to the speech and be FREE (devoid of politics, religion, “Tribalism” etc.) to make an assessment. I am certain you will be awakened.

  • 6
    2

    Wish them all the best.

  • 2
    1

    Some thing positive coming out of Lankan politicians, after years . Hope they walk the talk. It has been always an issue with politicians including JVP, where they make false promises for election byte. Who ever is Homo phobic, go home and take a close look at your kith and kin before writing your stupid ignorant comments.

  • 0
    0

    Recognising LGBT+ does not involve follow-ups. It is unlikely that support for LGBT+ will be mentioned in JVP meetings, press conferences and the like.
    Is this a coincidence? CT of 16 February 2019 “JVP Defending Sexual Predator: Union Action Demanding Reinstatement Of Employee Dismissed For Abusing Co-Worker”
    Sexual assault is a crime is a crime is a crime.
    .
    However on the question of changes to constitution JVP support is conditional bordering on no change.
    JVP has yet to take a firm stand on policies of up-start SLPP.

  • 4
    1

    Well done JVP. At least there is a political party in SL with 21st century thinking. However, you will have my vote if you also have the guts to take responsibility for your violent past & apologise to the innocent families who lost loved ones.

  • 1
    0

    Amarasiri

    Are you napping?

    The NIO’s National Manifesto (http://www.nio.lk/) looks and sound like JVP’s
    “Jathika Prasnaya Visadeemata Pravesayak” or எமது நோக்கு or Our Vision Policy Framework.

    What’s going on?

  • 1
    1

    Accepting Deviance as normal in Homo sapience is the way to go.
    Intolerance of minorities in our country should be condemned.
    Our country needs to change for good. Those Fascists/ Fundamentalists on all sides need to be ISOLATED and condemned.

  • 1
    0

    UN human rights, declared marriage and family as a basic human right.
    ,
    Freedom of thought, expression and democracy are some of the rights you need to consider, before making a decision.
    ,
    It’s also clear that we are equal in the eyes of law and we can’t discriminate as per UN human rights.
    ,
    UN was created to maintain peace and order in the world so that humanity will sustain.
    ,
    Sexual orientation rights, gender equality, racism and religious rights deviates from the norms.
    ,
    The above 4 rights only fight for their own. I believe some of their views are extreme and affects the peace and serenity of the Majority.
    ,
    We should only find solutions, for the above 4 extreme groups, If they are discriminated only, We should not support their greed.

  • 0
    1

    Does the JVP want to become Buddhist Monks? Sodomy is the passion of the B.Monks.

  • 0
    1

    I have seen a cartoon alleging/depicting Anura Kumara D. is in an incestuous relationship with his mother’s younger sister (Aunt), if true, no surprise!

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