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Street Campaign for Change with Reforms

Written By NAFSO on Wednesday, November 26, 2014 | 5:23:00 PM

  Civil organisations together with NGOs and political parties who are working for change in political arena conducted a street campaign to advocate public on 25th of November.
Used a collection of different means and methods to bring the message to  people.  Hundreds of people were participated to the program and were able to aware more than thousand of people around the fort railway station, Colombo.
Monks, Including, Ven. Bandiwawa Diyasena thero were involved with discourse by poetry. It was a very attractive, efficient and meaningful component in the program.

on the spot drawing and display

Artist Jayathilaka Bandara, Singing a song
Leaflet Destribution
Signature Campaign against Executive Presidency  

Leader of Movement for Land and Agriculture Reform, Mr. Chinthaka

leading character of platform for freedom and Right to life organization Mr. Brito Fernando.
Politician, Former minister for Agriculture in the ruling party Mr. Hemakumara Nanayakkara 

 Rev.Fr. Sathyavale

Chandraguptha Thenuwara, University Lecturer and artist addressing the public.
Convener of  National Fisheries Solidarity Movement, Mr. Herman Kumara
Opposition Party leader, Mr. Ranil Wicramashinhe  
Former Fisheries minister, who were crossed over to opposition party, resonantly  Dr. Rajitha Senarathne

Civil and political leaders address the people regarding deteriorated government and needy of change in the constitute of the country and for that government should be changed since the present rulers do not want to establish a good governance in the country. 
Proposed presidential election election in January 2015, will be a turning point in the country. Through the program, people were educated to choose the leader who will establish fair country for all the people, without taking lion's share for the family and friends, who will change the constitution and remove the executive presidency from the parliament and establish a leadership who will create a political arena with accountable party politics for the people in the country.     

World Fisheries Day Commemorated in Sri Lanka

Written By NAFSO on Saturday, November 22, 2014 | 12:14:00 AM

NAFSO Commemorated world Fisheries day for the 18th time of its’ history. The event was held in Colombo on 21st of November with participation of more than 500 people.  People from 11 coastal district and 3 inland districts were among them.

Several Civil organizations including farmer organizations, workers unions and NGOs were also get together with small scale fishers to strength their fight against oppression and establishment of fair and just society.
Several policy documents were handed to the communities including Singhala and Tamil translations of Voluntary Guidelines Governance of tenure, and simplified hand book of it as well as Singhala and Tamil translations of Voluntary Guidelines of Small Scale Fisheries. Those policy documents were originally prepared by Food and Agriculture organization of UN (FAO).

As main guest, a high ranking officer from FAO local desk  were participated.    

A Great Man was Remembered

Written By NAFSO on Friday, November 21, 2014 | 11:56:00 PM

An influential man, who work for the humanity was remembered by the Sri Lankans on 20th of November 2014. Fr.Thomas Kochery, who borne as Indian national and worked for the poor and specially small scale fishers  of the whole world was passed away on May 2014 at age 71.
On 20th of 2014, National Fisheries Solidarity Movement together with Sri Lankan small scale fishers remembered his work and him as most closely worked foreign figure with them in Sri Lanka.
He loved to visit and be in Sri Lanka, whenever possible with reasonable work for people. By His own word, Sri Lanka was his second home.  Fr. Kochchery  closely work with NAFSO, in Sri Lanka and helped to mobilize Sri Lankan Fishers to get organize as a movement as well as to fight against oppression.

In 1971 Kocherry began serving as a priest in Poothura, a poor fishing village in Kerala. Soon he was accompanying local fishermen out to sea, running traditional nets from small catamarans made of wood tied with rope. He witnessed firsthand the suffering of the villagers as their livelihood was threatened by large trawlers operated by multinational fishing corporations. (More)
In the late 1970s, Keralan fishers started to organize and assert their rights on a whole range of issues. They set up an organization called the Kerala Independent Fishworkers Federation. In 1981 Kocherry and fellow leader Joyachan Antony went on an 11-day fast in favour of a Monsoon Trawl Ban (the breeding season for many varieties of fish) in Kerala. Kocherry was arrested on trumped-up charges; in the course of defending himself he managed to fit in a law degree at Kerala University.
By 1982 the fishworkers’ struggle had gone national, with Kocherry elected president of the National Fishworkers Forum. In the mid-1990s he led a nationwide campaign to stop the Indian government from opening up the country’s fishing industry to a growing fleet of 2,600 large foreign trawlers. With 10 million Indians dependent on a sustainable fishery for their survival, the stakes were high. A militant campaign included marches, fasts and blocking of major fish ports around the country. The Indian government was forced to withdraw the legislation – one of the first and most significant victories against corporate globalization. Kocherry, who went on to help form the World Forum of Fisher People, understands the tensions of fighting for the rights of the fishing community in an era of declining global fish stocks. ‘You simply cut from the top. The biggest, most destructive, trawlers go first and you work your way down until you reach a sustainable fishery. (More)
Fr. Thomas Kochery and his work will be remembered by generations of oppressed communities throughout the world, since his thoughts and fights are still continuing with the people who grown up under his shadow.  

A hunger Protest by monks

Written By NAFSO on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 | 5:40:00 PM

A hunger protest conducted by Ven. Bandiwawa Diaysena Tero and several other monks have been stopped after 3 days.
they were conducting this hunger protest for more than 72 hours to oppose the transfer of officer In charge of Puthlam police station, who have done a excellent job, specially  to prevent illegal drugs in the area.
Nearing, presidential election, several of such officers have been transferred to different areas.
The strike was stopped by monks, after people from the village and civil organization people requested to.  

All women were seen; all women were heard

Written By NAFSO on Monday, November 17, 2014 | 12:37:00 PM


A small attempt to summarize today's discussions

BeijingPlus20Day2The Asia-Pacific Civil Society Forum on Beijing+20 held eighteen simultaneous workshops today touching upon issues that affect women's human rights and their empowerment in the region. The discussions in the workshops will forge the recommendations that civil society will give to governments in the upcoming inter-governmental meeting—UN ESCAP Asia and Pacific Conference on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment: Beijing+20 review—that will be held on November 17-20 in Bangkok.

Cross-cutting issues, such as race, class, ability, age, HIV status, and sexual orientation and gender identity were touched upon in most of the workshops. People belonging to marginalized communities also had their own space to provide recommendations.

Women with different abilities talked about the need to empower women in their own setting and involve rural women with disabilities in their advocacy work. "Women with disabilities were there (in Beijing), but there was no discussion about their rights," noted a participant from Mainland China. So that this does not happen again, participants mentioned the importance of including the rights of persons with disabilities in the governments' recommendations.

Lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (LBT) women reiterated the need for States to recognise gender diversity in order to achieve gender equality. They also called on women's movements in the region to commit and reaffirm their commitment to the rights of LBT women. Activists expressed the need to change homophobic attitudes and to overcome existing discrimination in the work place, in schools, and in health services.

Women living with HIV also noted the need to ensure access to health services, in particular for young people and for drug users. "States should ensure that every hospital accepts women living with HIV," said one of the speakers. "There are no services for young people for harm reduction or shelters," added another speaker. Similarly, issues around sexual and reproductive health and rights were discussed. The message on this issue was clear, "There is no equality for women without women's bodily autonomy." This means, among other things, access to safe and legal abortion and the removal of mandatory HIV and drug testing.

WomenWdDisabilitiesWomen couched their recommendations on all of these issues on women's human rights. This itself showed the importance of the workshop that discussed how the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) fits in with the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). "It is important to say clearly and explicitly that the BPfA should be pursued in a rights framework as part of the implementation strategy of the BPfA," reiterated one of the participants.

Large number of the discussions today revolved around women and the economy, where many women's issues intersect. These included concerns around migration, rural and indigenous women's rights to land and development, the situation of informal workers, and the impact of trade agreements on women. Women also discussed issues related to women and the environment and how they intersect with the economy.


Participants discussed women's mobility across borders and highlighted how poverty leads to women seeking better opportunities in other countries. This has caused the feminization of migration and brought about questions around how safe migration is for women. Women mentioned the paternalistic approaches used by States to protect women from forced migration. These include travel restrictions based on women's age and the need for women to seek consent from a male member of the family to obtain a passport. "Migration should be an informed choice; it should not be forced," concluded one of the participants.

In some cases, however, women do not have a choice. Such is the situation of women refugees which was also highlighted today. Only 20 countries in the Asia-Pacific have signed the 1951 Refugee Convention and there is a lack of national legislation and legal frameworks. Refugee women also face similar concerns in relation to their economic rights as migrant women. Participants were concerned about the existing government policies from both countries of origin and receiving countries that promote the export of labor. "There is a sense of pride by the governments when they announce the number of workers sent abroad," noted one activist.

On migration issues, domestic work continues to be a topic of importance in the region, due to the increasing number of women in this line of work. "Domestic work keeps elements of slavery," stated one woman. Regression in rights is not uncommon. In the past, contracts for live-in domestic workers included "private" accommodation, then "free" accommodation, now it is down to "suitable" accommodation. An activist said she once got asked, "Should I be OK with my employer asking me to share a room with two boys?" The boys were 12 and 17 years old.

Land rights, development, trade, and investment

Land grabbing is a concern for women and particularly affects indigenous and rural women. "Land grabbing is a violation. It is eroding our livelihood, it denies land for women; land grabbers are like big corporations," stated a woman from India. Similarly, state and privately lead investment and development projects affect ancestral lands and can lead to harassment and violence against indigenous and rural communities. "For us there is no development when [the governments] continue to harass our communities and our women leaders and when they do not respect our rights to self-determination and control over our land and territories," said an indigenous woman from the Philippines. "We are the indigenous women that safeguard our land for generations, and we should be the ones to decide on the use of our ancestral land," she added. Women also highlighted the importance of collective action and collective forming as a way to respond to these issues and achieve development gender justice.

In South and East Asia informal employment makes up approximately 60% of the non-agricultural work. Women in informal sectors are subject to situations of discrimination and violence. In most countries in the region sex work is not considered work and States do not consider the contribution of sex workers to the economy. Women working on work such as the entertainment industry are arrested without reason and are unable to unionize.

Women's human rights are also affected by free trade agreements. In Beijing 1995 "women's organizations were already raising the impact of liberalization, privatization, and globalization on women," remembered one participant. Yet, still today women are unable to take part in the negotiations of these agreements. Participation of women is vital since, as one woman said, "One agreement can undo years of work of the BPfA."


On this issue, participants noted the need to bridge the divide of women and the environment with other social issues. For instance, women are unable to participate in the extraction of fisheries, which impacts their access to resources. Others noted the need for the environment movement to be politicized with human rights in order to bring equality for women. "There should be pro-people environments," one woman said. Activists also mentioned the need for land reforms to cope with the environmental crisis.

Women all agreed that leadership among women and opportunities to meaningfully and effectively participate in political scenarios around economy issues is crucial.

Violence against women and women in the armed conflict were also discussed in the workshops

OurStoriesOurJourneyParticipants mentioned the need to "break the silence on the issue of violence against girls," and noted the existence of compounded violence against women with disabilities. Women also noted the existence of violence based on gender against women with different sexual orientations and gender identities. Participants noted the lack of response by the state to this violence and the backlash in their own communities. "People saw that you were beaten and people want to beat you more. I say that having experience violence myself," said a participant from the Pacific region.

Violence is also present in other situations, such as forced marriages taking place in Kyrgizstan and against women seeking access to safe abortion. Women are also subject to violence in situations of armed conflict. In these situations women agreed that there is a need to provide recognition to women survivors, accompanied by support and rehabilitation.

There is also a need to meet survivors social and economic needs, since women can become "long-term economic victims." Women identified as a priority the need to fight impunity, including by providing safe spaces for women survivors of violence to access justice. Activists also noted the need to put an end to militarization, as this increases situations of violence against women.

"Women are to be seen, but not to be heard," said one participant while discussing issues around women and power. Today, in the CSO Forum, all women were seen and all women were heard.

To women organizations and activists out there who are unable to be here, please let us know through twitter (#APCSOB20) what issues were not covered and what your recommendations are!

For further information visit:

This article reflects the views of the workshop participants and is in no way the official position of the Asia Pacific Civil Society Organizations (APCSO) Forum or of Isis International as author of this article.

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