With the approach of the September session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, there has been an increase in interest on the part of the government in obtaining the views of civil society in regard to human rights issues. A delegation of civil society members, many of them drawn from NPC and functioning as a loose grouping going by the name of the Sri Lankan Collective for Consensus met with a number of government leaders, including former Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Justice Minister Ali Sabry, Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa. The group also met with former Speaker Karu Jayasuriya and Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa.
NPC’s Collective Engagement for Religious Freedom (CERF) project conducted two virtual religious dialogues to foster the roles and responsibilities of the religious leaders to build up religious coexistence with the participation of 100 Sinhala and Tamil speaking religious leaders representing 12 Local Inter Religious Committees (LIRCs).
Social media has both negative and positive impacts. The misuse of social media can lead to conflicts in society but it also plays a role in addressing difficult issues. Under its Collective Engagement for Religious Freedom (CERF) project, NPC organized a webinar to enhance the skills and knowledge of youth to adopt social media platforms to establish religious coexistence.
A seminar on child rights and prevention of child abuse was organised by NPC under its projectPlural Action for Conflict Transformation (PACT) to increase awareness among stakeholders in the estate sector and to draft a resolution demanding authorities to take action to strengthen the law, mechanisms and institutions to protect child rights.
NPC’s Creative Youth Engagement for Pluralism (C-YEP) project is working with university students to raise their awareness and influence the public discourse on pluralism and inter community relations in order to strengthen the reconciliation process. To accelerate the conversions about pluralism through short videos and short films, NPC conducted a series of training on video making for university students.
National Peace Council’s Technical Assistance to Justice Institutions in Sri Lanka project conducted a series of campaigns on countering hate speech. The Monaragala district campaign was conducted in three phases: creating a dialogue against hate speech and violence with government officials, youth, differently abled persons and religious leaders; educating people in the plantation sector on countering hate speech and a discussion on the contribution of art and literature to minimise hate speech.
The prospect of moving from a divided past to a shared future is an alluring one that needs to be realized on the ground through a more all-encompassing dialogue. With this goal in mind, a group of civil society members met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Dinesh Gunawardene, Minister of Justice Ali Sabry, State Minister of Regional Cooperation Tharaka Balasuriya and Foreign Secretary Admiral Professor Jayanath Colombage at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The group included members of NPC’s governing council and board of directors Bishop Asiri Perera, Hilmy Ahamed, Visaka Dharmadasa, Rohana Hettiarachchi, Professor T. Jayasingam, Dr. Joe William and Dr. Jehan Perera.
To assist people and institutions affected by travel restrictions and lockdowns imposed to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, NPC organized the distribution of hand washing basins, disinfectant liquid spray machines and Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits to government institutions as well as dry ration packs to low income families who were daily wage earners or traders.
NPC’s Technical Assistance to Justice Institutions in Sri Lanka project is conducting a series of campaigns on Countering Hate Speech.
The campaigns will be conducted in three phases: