The growing reach of the Internet, social media and the rapid spread of mobile information and communications technologies (ICTs) have presented increased potential for cyber violence against women and girls.
The UN Gender Theme Group, as part of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, organized a policy dialogue on Cyber Security at the BMICH today.
The policy dialogue, which was titled ‘Addressing Cyber Violence against Women and Girl Children’ was graced by the Chairperson of the National Child Protection Authority, Ms. Natasha Balendra.
Addressing the gathering Ms. Natasha Balendra stated, “It is critical that comprehensive cyber security strategies that encompass legislative, detection, reporting, prosecution of offenders and rehabilitation of victims are designed and implemented, together with efforts to transform the social norms and practices that make online harassment possible.”
Also speaking at the event, the Chair of the UN Gender Theme Group and Representative of UNFPA Sri Lanka, Mr. Alain Sibenaler stated, “With the increasing use and dependency on digital media, it must be ensured that women and girls are provided a safe space in the virtual world, free of fear of abuse, harassment, and violence.”
The panel discussion which followed, had the participation of Mr. Hans Billimoria of Grassrooted Trust, Dr. Harsha Wijayawardhane from the University of Colombo, Ms. Leelangani Wanasundara of CENWOR, Mr. Ramiz Behbudov of UNICEF and Ms. Rashani Meegama from the National Child Protection Authority.
Sri Lanka was the first country in South Asia to ratify the Budapest Cybercrime Convention, the only international treaty on cybercrimes that seeks to address cyber-crimes by harmonizing national laws and improving investigative techniques.
The objective of this policy dialogue was to contribute to the development of a stringent cyber security policy, legislation and regulatory framework in Sri Lanka that recognizes the special needs of women and girls.
The discussion contributed to an understanding of the current trends in cyber-crimes against women and girls in Sri Lanka, the legal and institutional measures and gaps, and the identification of special provisions to be included in the legislation to address cyber-crimes against women and girls. (Colombo Gazette)