Tuesday, 18 April 2023 13:16

Protecting the Freedom to Protest

NPC conducted a training of trainers workshop under its Legal Action Worldwide (LAW) project for 73 master trainers and 12 district coordinators in Colombo on protecting civic space focusing on
freedom of association for participants from Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kurunegala, Kandy, Kalutara, Badulla, Batticaloa, Monaragala, Matara, Ratnapura, Jaffna and Kegalle.

Participants at a panel discussion were of the opinion that although the protesters who were involved in the aragalaya of last year were no longer active, they would rise up again when necessary. Prof. Jayadeva Uyangoda, Prof. T. Jayasingam, Dr. Jehan Perera, Dr. Pradeep Peiris, Sumadhu Weerawarne, Swasthika Arulingam and Nawaz Mohammed were the panelists at the discussion.

The programme began with a speech by NPC Executive Director Dr. Jehan Perera who shared some thoughts on freedom of association, community citizenship and the present social context. Senior Researcher Shashik Danushka Silva then explained the research findings on understanding civic space in Sri Lanka.

Two sessions were facilitated by Dr. Pavithra Jayawardane of the University of Colombo on the status of civic space and two sessions were facilitated by lawyer Nuwan Bopage on the legal framework of the freedom of association.

An analytical tool for understanding intervention in community dynamics was introduced by Mr. Silva and participants developed an intervention plan. They were trained on how to analyse a common problem in their community in terms of freedom of association.