The Ministry of Women’s and Child Affairs is scheduled to unveil the national action plan for the implementation of the Prevention of Domestic Violence Act next year.

The ministry unveiled the national action plan for the prevention of sexual and gender based violence last week.  There is also the national policy on female headed households and the chapters on women and children in the national human rights action plan.

The Ministries involved in bringing the proposed legal reforms include the Ministry of Women’s and Child Affairs, the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Law and Order, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labour.

“Marital rape too is to be recognized as a crime,” Director (Planning) of the Ministry of Women and Child Affairs, J.P.S. Jayasinghe said.

“At present, in the Land Development Ordinance, in a family, the right of ownership of the land following the death of the father goes to the eldest male and this will be changed to be free from bias on the basis of sex,” he explained.

With regard to the Children and Young Persons Ordinance, he said there were issues involving young girls not being treated equally.  “This will be changed to suit the present needs and to avert any adverse impacts on females,” Jayasinghe further explained.
“The Muslim community has recognized the grave consequences resulting from girls marrying at the ages of 12 or 13”, he said while adding that they were hoping and planning on changing the age of eligibility of marriage in the said Act to 18 years. RLJ