Bandaranaike wants to see women in peacekeeping role


Brussels : Former Sri Lankan president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga called for women to play an active role in crisis management and peacekeeping around the globe.

Support TwoCircles

Speaking before the European Parliament's Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality in Brussels Tuesday evening, Bandaranaike proposed to the European Union to consider sending women when the European bloc undertakes peace missions, according to Inepnext news agency.

"Women have a completely different perspective on conflict resolution. Women by the very nature of historic role have special aptitude for alleviating conflict," she argued.

"Today one of the most important subjects is conflict and conflict resolution. Women have not had a role in conflict resolution, not even in the West," she asserted.

Speaking on the situation of women in Asia, Bandaranaike pointed to the strange situation where on one side they suffer a great deal of oppression and at the same time the region has produced so many women leaders.

Bandaranaike explained this contradictory situation by referring to the mother-image of women in Hindu and Buddhist societies.

"Once a woman is elevated to occupy the mother-image she is respected tremendously," said Bandaranaike who served as President from 1994 till 2005.

Answering a question posed by a member of the European Parliament on the issue of terrorism in her country, she said Sri Lanka has the biggest number of women suicide bombers in the world, 95 percent of whom are aged between 20-25.

She argued that the phenomenon of terrorism has some reasons behind it referring to the discrimination faced by the Tamil minority in her country.

She said there was a "pogrom" against Tamils by a "foolish government" in July 1983 following which many Tamils escaped to India "found funds, found arms, trained themselves and then turned to violence."

However, she noted, the reaction of the separatist Tamil Tigers is "far in excess of the discrimination they faced."

"They have become too terroristic, they will not give up their demand for a separatist state but they can be marginalized and politically destroyed," added Bandaranaike.