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Sri Lanka

Prevalence and Risk Factors of Major Depressive Disorder Among Women at Public Antenatal Clinics from Refugee, Conflict-Affected, and Australian-Born Backgrounds

Citation:

Rees, Susan J., Jane R. Fisher, Zachary Steel, Mohammed Mohsin, Nawal Nadar, Batool Moussa, Fatima Hassoun, Mariam Yousif, Yalini Krishna, Batoul Khalil, Jok Mugo, Alvin Kuowei, Louis Klein, and Derrick Silove. 2019. "Prevalence and Risk Factors of Major Depressive Disorder Among Women at Public Antenatal Clinics from Refugee, Conflict-Affected, and Australian-Born Backgrounds." JAMA Network Open 2 (5).

Authors: Susan J. Rees, Jane R. Fisher, Zachary Steel, Mohammed Mohsin, Nawal Nadar, Batool Moussa, Fatima Hassoun, Mariam Yousif, Yalini Krishna, Batoul Khalil, Jok Mugo, Alvin Kouwei Tay, Louis Klein, Derrick Silove

Abstract:

Importance: Pregnancy may increase the risk of depression among women who self-identify as refugees and have resettled in high-income countries. To our knowledge, no large systematic studies among women with refugee backgrounds in the antenatal period have been conducted.

Objectives: To compare the prevalence of major depressive disorder (MDD), trauma exposure, and other psychosocial risk factors among women who identify as refugees, women from the same conflict-affected countries, and women from the host nation and to test whether self-identification as a refugee indicates greater likelihood of prevalence and risk.

Design, Setting and Participants: This cross-sectional study was undertaken in 3 public antenatal clinics in Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, between January 2015 and December 2016. Overall, 1335 women (685 consecutively enrolled from conflict-affected backgrounds and 650 randomly selected from the host nation) participated. Data analysis was undertaken between June and September 2018.

Exposures: One-hour interviews covering mental health, intimate partner violence, and other social measures.

Main Outcome and Measures: World Health Organization measure for intimate partner violence and the Mini-International Neuropsychiatric Interview from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Fourth Edition) for MDD. To make a diagnosis, 1 of 2 items relating to being consistently depressed for 2 weeks and 3 further symptoms that cause personal distress or psychosocial dysfunction were endorsed.

Results: Overall, 1335 women (84.8% overall response rate), comprising 685 (51.3%) from conflictaffected countries (women self-identifying as refugees: 289 [42.2%]) and 650 (48.7%) from the host nation, participated. The mean (SD) age was 29.7 (5.4) years among women from conflictaffected backgrounds and 29.0 (5.5) years among women born in the host nation. Conflict-affected countries included Iraq (260 [38.0%]), Lebanon (125 [18.2%]), Sri Lanka (71 [10.4%]), and Sudan (66 [9.6%]). Women who identified as refugees reported higher exposure to 2 to 3 (67 [23.2%]) and 4 or more (19 [6.6%]) general traumatic events compared with women from the host nation (103 [15.8%] and 21 [3.2%], respectively). Women who identified as refugees also reported higher exposure to 1 (147 [50.9%]) and 2 or more (97 [33.6%]) refugee-related traumatic events compared with women from the host nation (86 [13.2%] and 20 [3.1%], respectively). Women who identified as refugees reported higher rates of psychological intimate partner violence than women born in the host nation (124 [42.9%] vs 133 [20.5%]; P < .001). Women who identified as refugees were less likely to identify 5 or more supportive family or friends compared with women born in the host nation (36 [12.5%] vs 297 [45.7%]; P < .001). A greater proportion of women who identified as refugees reported experiencing 3 or more financial stressors compared with women born in the host nation (65 [22.5%] vs 41 [6.3%]; P < .001). Women who identified as refugees had the highest prevalence of MDD (94 [32.5%]), followed by women from other conflict-affected backgrounds (78 [19.7%]), and women born in the host nation (94 [14.5%]).

Conclusion and Relevance: Women identifying as refugees reported a higher prevalence of MDD and all the indicators of adversity related to that disorder. Even after risk factors were accounted for, refugee status was associated with risk of MDD. Assessing whether women attending an antenatal clinic self-identify as refugees may offer an important indicator of risk of MDD and a range of associated psychosocial adversities.

Topics: Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Conflict, Domestic Violence, Gender, Women, Health, Mental Health, Reproductive Health, Trauma Regions: Africa, MENA, East Africa, Asia, Middle East, South Asia, Oceania Countries: Australia, Iraq, Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Sudan

Year: 2019

Disaster Recovery from a Gender and Diversity Perspective: Cases Following Megadisasters in Japan and Asian Countries

Citation:

Tanaka, Yumiko, Mikio Ishiwatari, and Atsuko Nonoguchi. 2019. "Disaster Recovery from a Gender and Diversity Perspective: Cases Following Megadisasters in Japan and Asian Countries." Contributing Paper to GAR 2019. United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Geneva.

Authors: Yumiko Tanaka, Mikio Ishiwatari, Atsuko Nonguchi

Annotation:

Summary:
In the aftermath of disasters, local governments are primarily responsible for implementing quick recovery programs, including the relocation of affected people from areas at risk to safer places, rehabilitation of destroyed infrastructure, as well as the recovery of health, livelihood, social security and protection. The concerns of local administrations concerned, however, often face difficulties in reflecting diverse needs and perspectives into recovery programs, due to limited capacity and experiences dealing with a large number and variety of recovery programs under severe time and personnel constraints.
 
Recovery programs need consensus building among various groups, especially women, youth, the elderly and people with disabilities; and an integrated approach to multi-sectors, such as environment, ecosystem and town planning. Local communities need to express their voice in planning recovery programs, often with support from external experts and various aid organizations, including national and international CSOs. In reality, however, the inclusion of various groups in recovery planning is little concern of local governments, thus they end up to making one standard plan or one-size-fits-all plans, to avoid favoring one area/group over another. In addition, local people, especially women, youth, the elderly and people with disability, are often regarded as only victims or beneficiaries of humanitarian and emergency aid, rather than as actors and agents of change.
 
The Sendai Framework Recovery for DRR stresses enhancing disaster preparedness in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction as a priority area. The aftermath of disaster poses a great opportunity for women, youth and other local groups to be empowered and exercise their agency and leadership, therefore, the governments as well as aid organizations and international society should utilize such a chance to increase their community disaster governance and transform a society to be more equal, inclusive, resilient and sustainable. Their recovery policies and approaches should involve various stakeholders, particularly vulnerable groups, in decision-making processes. As shown in cases in the Philippines and Sri Lanka, development assistance agencies should include capacity building activities in leadership for women and other vulnerable groups. (Summary from United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction)

Topics: Age, Youth, Development, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Governance, Humanitarian Assistance Regions: Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Japan, Philippines, Sri Lanka

Year: 2019

Gender, Peace and Conflict

Citation:

Smith, Dan, and Inger Skjelsbaek, eds. 2001. Gender, Peace and Conflict. London: Sage Publications. 

Authors: Dan Smith, Inger Skjelsbaek

Annotation:

Summary:
Gender is increasingly recognized as central to the study and analysis of the traditionally male domains of war and international relations.
 
This book explores the key role of gender in peace research, conflict resolution and international politics. Rather than simply 'add gender and stir' the aim is to transcend different disciplinary boundaries and conceptual approaches to provide a more integrated basis for research and study. To this end Gender, Peace and Conflict uniquely combines theoretical chapters alongside empirical case studies to demonstrate the importance of a gender perspective to both theory and practice in conflict resolution and peace research. 
 
The theoretical chapters explore the gender relationship and engage with the many stereotypical elisions and dichotomies that dominate and distort the issue, such as the polarized pairs of femininity and peace versus masculinity and war. The case study chapters (drawing on examples from South America, South Asia and Europe, including former Yugoslavia) move beyond theoretical critique to focus on issues such as sexual violence in war, the role of women in military groups and peacekeeping operations, and the impact of a 'critical mass' of women in political decision-making. 
 
Gender, Peace and Conflict provides an invaluable survey and new insights in a central area of contemporary research. It will be essential reading for academics, students and practitioners across peace studies, conflict resolution and international politics. (Summary from PRIO)
 
Table of Contents:
1. Women, Peace and the United Nations: Beyond Beijing 
Dorota Gierycz
 
2. The Problem of Essentialism 
Dan Smith
 
3. Is Femininity Inherently Peaceful? The Construction of Femininity in the War 
Inger Skjelsbæk
 
4. Women & War, Men & Pacifism 
Michael Salla
 
5. Gender, Power and Politics: An Alternative Perspective 
Errol Miller
 
6. Women in Political Decisionmaking: From Critical Mass to Critical Acts in Scandinavia 
Drude Dahlerup
 
7. Promoting Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution: Gender Balance in Decisionmaking 
Anuradha Mitra Chenoy and Achin Vanaik
 
8. Integrating a Gender Perspective in Conflict Resolution: The Colombian Case 
Eva Irene Tuft
 
9. The Use of Women and the Role of Women in the Yugoslav War 
Svetlana Slapsak
 
10. Gender Difference in Conflict Resolution: The Case of Sri Lanka 
Kumudini Samuel

 

Topics: Armed Conflict, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Femininity/ies, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Peace and Security, Political Participation, Peacekeeping, Sexual Violence Regions: Americas, South America, Asia, South Asia, Europe, Balkans Countries: Colombia, Sri Lanka, Yugoslavia (former)

Year: 2001

Documenting the Impact of Conflict on Women Living in Internally Displaced Persons Camps in Sri Lanka: Some Ethical Considerations

Citation:

Swiss, Shana, Peggy J. Jennings, K. G. K. Weerarathne, and Lori Heise. 2019. “Documenting the Impact of Conflict on Women Living in Internally Displaced Persons Camps in Sri Lanka: Some Ethical Considerations.” Health and Human Rights Journal 21 (1): 93-101.

Authors: Shana Swiss, Peggy J. Jennings, K. G. K. Weerarathne, Lori Heise

Abstract:

Women’s Rights International works with rural women and girls who are living in countries at war or with ongoing political violence. In 2005, The Asia Foundation invited Women’s Rights International to Sri Lanka to evaluate the feasibility of a random-sample survey of women to document the impact of the decades-long conflict. The significant imbalance in the risks-to-benefits ratio compelled us to recommend that random-sample surveys that included questions about sexual violence be avoided at that time, especially in the displaced persons areas. Instead, we recommended that three strategies be given priority in situations in which the risks for women are too great to justify a random-sample survey. First, maximize the use of existing information. Second, collect survey data only in partnership with a strong community organization that will use the data for direct tangible benefits. Third, share knowledge that will help build the capacity of local organizations to design surveys that address their priorities, and collect and use their own data following ethical guidelines that maximize the protection of individuals and the wider community. We implemented these recommendations in a partnership with a local organization with a strong history of advocating for women’s rights.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Displacement & Migration, IDPs, Refugee/IDP Camps, Conflict, Gender, Women, Girls, International Organizations, Rights, Women's Rights, Sexual Violence, Violence Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2019

Rethinking Masculinity in Disaster Situations: Men's Reflections of the 2004 Tsunami in Southern Sri Lanka

Citation:

Dominelli, Lena. 2020. "Rethinking Masculinity in Disaster Situations: Men's Reflections of the 2004 Tsunami in Southern Sri Lanka." International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 48: 1-9. 

Author: Lena Dominelli

Abstract:

The role of men in disasters is rarely discussed in depth and research on this topic is scarce. Yet, masculinity is an important dimension of disasters, whether considering men's active roles in disasters, their position within family relations pre- and post-disasters, or during reconstruction. The research project, International Institutional and Professional Practices conducted in 12 southern Sri Lankan villages sought to understand men's experiences of supporting their families after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. It highlighted the importance of patriarchal relations and men's roles as providers throughout the disaster cycle. However, the picture is complicated. While most humanitarian aid is aimed at the generic person, a man, men do not have their needs as men specifically addressed during the receipt of humanitarian aid. Men who receive nothing post-disaster can become desperate, and misuse substances such as alcohol and drugs. This creates situations where men fight each other and abuse women and children within intimate relationships because the tsunami has destroyed their livelihoods and nothing has replaced these. In this article, I examine the complexities men navigate to understand their position when seeking to re-establish their connections to family and community life. I conclude that their specific needs as men require targeted interventions throughout all stages of the disaster cycle, and especially during the delivery of humanitarian aid if they are to fulfil their provider and protector roles and be steered away from behaviour that is abusive of close members of their families: wives, children, and other men.

Keywords: men, masculinity(ies), breadwinner/provider, protector, humanitarian aid, disasters, differentiated disaster experiences, family relations, domestic violence, abusive relations

Topics: Domestic Violence, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Households, Humanitarian Assistance, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2020

Socio-Cultural Barriers of Female Ex-Combatants' Social Re-Integration in Sri Lanka

Citation:

Takamatsu, Kana. 2020. "Socio-Cultural Barriers of Female Ex-Combatants' Social Re-Integration in Sri Lanka." In Recent Social, Environmental, and Cultural Issues in East Asian Societies, edited by Mika Markus Merviö, 213-23. Hershey: IGI Global. 

Author: Kana Takamatsu

Abstract:

This chapter identifies the post-conflict social barriers to the social reintegration of female ex-combatants. This study refers to the case of Sri Lanka concerning the conflict between the government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that ended in 2009. During the conflict, the LTTE actively recruited female combatants, and women consisted of a significant number of the entire LTTE combatants. However, after the end of the conflict and even today, many of them are rejected by the community. First of all, the LTTE was fighting for Tamil's independence, but Tamil's community has expressed mixed opinions toward the LTTE. Second, female ex-combatants were then and are now a divergence from the gender norms of their society. Third, from their roles in the conflict, female ex-combatants experienced an indelible change in their ideas through the conflict and observed themselves as capable of being independent women. Consequently, they felt a high level of resistance to returning to traditional gender roles.

Annotation:


 

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Gender, Gender Roles, Post-Conflict Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2020

Testimony Under Threat: Women’s Voices and the Pursuit of Justice in Post-War Sri Lanka

Citation:

Hoglund, Kristine. 2019. "Testimony Under Threat: Women’s Voices and the Pursuit of Justice in Post-War Sri Lanka." Human Rights Review 20: 361-82.

Author: Kristine Hoglund

Abstract:

This paper foregrounds how women’s public testimony as part of a formal transitional justice initiative is shaped by the particular context in which a commission operate, including the political and security environment. While the literature has engaged with the gendered predicaments of truth commissions after peace agreements and during transitions away from non-democratic rule, the function of such initiatives in more authoritarian and in immediate post-war contexts is generally overlooked. I examine women’s testimonies from Sri Lanka’s Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), and contend that pervasive militarization and insecurity, and the conduct of the Commission, influenced the stories that came forth. Women’s testimonies in the war-torn areas primarily represent pleas for information about missing family members and reflect important silences about the women’s own experiences of abuse, including ongoing post-war insecurities. The analysis raises questions about what may be expected from transitional justice efforts in difficult post-war contexts.

Keywords: gender, Sri Lanka, public testimony, LLRC, human rights, transitional justice

Topics: Gender, Women, Justice, Transitional Justice, TRCs, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Post-Conflict, Security Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2019

Gender, Conflict and Security: Perspectives from South Asia

Citation:

Singh, Shweta. 2017. "Gender, Conflict and Security: Perspectives from South Asia." Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs 4 (2): 149-57.

Author: Shweta Singh

Abstract:

This article provides an overview to this special issue of JASIA, entitled ‘Gender, Conflict and Security: Perspectives from South Asia’. Gender intersects with conflict and security and yet remains at the margins of academic theorizing, policy priority and practitioner perspectives in South Asia. This special issue puts forth fresh insights into how and why the lived experiences of women in South Asia (particularly from areas of protracted conflict such as Nepal, India and Sri Lanka) are different? And how and why these impinge on the global discourse on security? It argues that this analysis is pertinent not just from the standpoint of academic theorizing on security but also from the perspective of international security policy like the United Nations led Women, Peace and Security Agenda. This is the 17th year of the United Nations Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1325, and only Nepal and Afghanistan in South Asia have a National Action Plan. This special issue also critically examines the key gaps in the international policy on Women, Peace and Security Agenda and how it ‘speaks’ or ‘not speaks’ to the contextual reality of South Asia.

Keywords: gender, conflict, security, South Asia, women peace and security, UNSCR 1325

Topics: Conflict, Gender, Women, International Organizations, Peacebuilding, Peace and Security, Security, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Afghanistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka

Year: 2017

Re-thinking the ‘Normative’ in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325: Perspectives from Sri Lanka

Citation:

Singh, Shweta. 2017. "Re-thinking the ‘Normative’ in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325: Perspectives from Sri Lanka." Journal of Asian Security and International Affairs 4 (2): 219-38.

Author: Shweta Singh

Abstract:

This article asserts the need to re-think the ‘normative’ in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR 1325) from the standpoint of the ‘local’, in this case Sri Lanka. It argues that UNSCR 1325 needs to be situated within the larger discourse on international norms, and challenges to the implementation of UNSCR 1325 in varied ‘local’ contexts can be evaluated through the theoretical frameworks provided by existing literature on norms diffusion. I put forward three main arguments: First, the need to go beyond the neat classification of contexts as ‘conflict’ and ‘post-conflict’; second, the need to problematize gender as homogenous and women as coherent stable category of analysis; and third, to look beyond women as victims or agents. I argue that women in post-war Sri Lanka can more aptly be classified as controlled actors as women’s agency is structurally and culturally controlled, which inhibits their capacity to act or perform. In conclusion, I posit that Sri Lanka not only presents a strong case for the localization of the ‘normative’ in UNSCR 1325 but also provides justification for a three-level bottom-up analysis (local, regional and international) to comprehensively understand why UNSCR 1325 fails or succeeds to influence state behaviour.

Keywords: United Nations Security Council 1325, gender norms, norm diffusion, post-war Sri Lanka, controlled actors

Topics: Conflict, Gender, Women, Gendered Power Relations, International Organizations, Peace and Security, Post-Conflict, UN Security Council Resolutions on WPS, UNSCR 1325 Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2017

Remnants of a Checkered Past: Female LTTE and Social Reintegration in Post-War Sri Lanka

Citation:

Friedman, Rebekka. 2018. "Remnants of a Checkered Past: Female LTTE and Social Reintegration in Post-War Sri Lanka." International Studies Quarterly 62 (3): 632-42.

Author: Rebekka Friedman

Abstract:

I examine the ways in which female Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) experienced social reintegration—the processes through which cadres navigate their post-war identities and social relationships. Recent feminist work looks at women's participation in armed struggle as a transgression of traditional gendered norms and a form of political action. While this literature highlights female protagonism during war and female fighters’ capacity for political agency, I argue that it insufficiently examines female cadres’ personal, community-driven, and social motivations. Drawing on in-depth research carried out with female LTTE in northern Sri Lanka, I maintain that women joined the LTTE for a range of personal, social, political, and community-based reasons. Feminist scholars should further explore the personal side of agency. Going further, I argue that transformative reintegration needs to recognize and address the multifaceted reasons that motivate women to join armed groups. Recognizing the drivers of women's participation in armed groups is paramount both for female cadres’ transitions to civilian life and to facilitate positive social relations with their communities.

Topics: Armed Conflict, Combatants, Female Combatants, Feminisms, Gender, Gender Roles, Post-Conflict Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Sri Lanka

Year: 2018

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