Tuesday, 01 May 2018 03:03

DIRCs and Other Local Groups Formulate Draft Pluralism Charter

Eighty members of DIRCs, sub groups and local partner organizations have formulated a draft Charter on Pluralism based on their understanding of pluralism and building a Sri Lankan identity.

Sub groups consist of women, youth, media, People With a Disability (PWDs), local politicians and community leaders. The group included 28 female participants and seven PWDs as well as six Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Islamic religious leaders.

The charter is being formulated under NPC’s Religions to Reconcile project that is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented with a Jordan-based partner organization, Generations For Peace (GFP). The 26-month project, which began in October 2016, is supported by the U.S. Government’s development agency and targets the districts of Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu, Mannar, Puttalam, NuwaraEliya, Galle, Matara, and Ampara.

The project focuses on strengthening community networks mentored by religious leaders and engaging them in building consensus for a Transitional Justice (TJ) process and helping communities evolve a pluralistic national identity. It is based on strengthening inter religious people-to-people community engagement for reconciliation and social cohesion.

DIRC members and sub group members were part of a series of district training programmes on building people’s understanding of a pluralistic identity. After the training programmes, the groups have been working in their areas to build inter and intra community understanding through community cohesion activities.

Each district revisited their district findings on pluralism formulated during the training programmes. Mr. J. Benedict, a specialist on pluralism, assisted group work sessions where each district first worked as a district group and then as mixed groups, formulating what citizens expect in a pluralistic society. Each of the groups presented their different views and then the whole group discussed the main points and their merits.

The draft Pluralism Charter will be circulated within the group and a finalised Charter will be made public during aNational Symposium scheduled for September.

Ms. Danielle Reiff, Director, Governance and Vulnerable Populations Office of USAID/Sri Lanka and the Maldives and NPC Executive Director Dr. JehanPerera addressed the meeting.