Thirty two participants from 16 districts, including lawyers, doctors, principals, teachers and young entrepreneurs, attended a workshop in Colombo on Transitional Justice Mechanisms, the New Constitution and the Referendum.
Members of Batticaloa’s District Inter Religious Committee (DIRC) decided to make it a Vesak with a difference by inviting people of all religions to participate in the celebrations. Although the Batticaloa district is home to Muslims, Tamils and Sinhalese, the different communities rarely participate at each other’s festivals.
A one-week training on conflict transformation for peace workers was held in Colombo under NPC’s Religions to Reconcile project, which is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented with a Jordan-based partner organization, Generations For Peace.
A dispute between Buddhists and Muslims because of a Buddha statue in front of a meat shop belonging to Muslims was discussed at DIRC Badulla’s monthly meeting under NPC’s project Reconciling Inter Ethnic and Inter Religious Differences (RIID).
Stories in the third anthology of the Write to Reconcile project focused on Sri Lanka’s post war situation with emphasis on border villages and the Vanni.
Participants travelled to the Vanni and the Sinhala border villages to hear stories of what the people had undergone and to get a sense of their lives and issues post war. In addition, human rights workers visited the workshop in Anuradhapura and spoke about their work and the ongoing issues for war affected people.
Under NPC’s project Promoting Inter-faith and Inter-ethnic Dialogue in Sri Lanka, 81 members of the District Inter Religious Committees (DIRCs) in Trincomalee and Batticaloa were trained on mediation, documenting issues, making referrals and engaging with the media.
Phase III of NPC’s Reconciling Inter Religious and Inter Ethnic Differences (RIID) project, which was implemented with partner organizations that collaborated with District Inter Religious Committees (DIRCs) at the district level to build support for a Transitional Justice (TJ) process within the framework of the Geneva Resolution, concluded after nine months.
Reflecting the positive changes in relations between civil society and the government in the past two years in relation to the reconciliation process, NPC Executive Director Dr Jehan Perera was invited by the Sri Lankan government to join the official delegation to Geneva to represent a civil society point of view at side events during the UN Human Rights Council sessions.
Under its project Inter-faith and Inter-ethnic Dialogue in Sri Lanka, NPC carried out orientation meetings for district level partners and District Inter Religious Committee (DIRC) members in the Trincomalee and Batticaloa districts and held training workshops on early warning and conflict sensitivity, Transitional Justice and Non-violence Communication.