Friday, 11 September 2020 04:21

Improving Ethnic Relations With Cultural Understanding

Matara, Galle, Monaragala and Hambantota District Inter Religious Committees (DIRCs) held needs assessment meetings to collect ideas and suggestions for the next phase of NPC’s Consolidating Ongoing Multi-Level Partnership Actions for Conflict Transformation (COMPACT) project funded by Misereor.

Participants discussed new interventions and activities to be implemented such as organizing trips and visits to improve coexistence and solidarity among different communities, improving ethnic relations by having sports activities and organizing cultural and religious festivals and youth camps that allowed different communities to come together in order to understand different cultures.

They agreed that it was important to create awareness among the public about democratic rights and how to be a responsible citizen and that bonds between women local government officials and women community leaders should be strengthened in order to resolve conflicts within communities. While focussing on the core purpose of building peace and reconciliation, the DIRCs also agreed to implement activities to resolve the economic hardships facing the community.

In the second session, the DIRC members were divided into groups where they discussed the gaps existing to promote peace and reconciliation as well as economic development. Activities that were proposed included a common market place for all communities, cultivating local produce and exchanging products between the South and the North.

DIRC members discussed the current political situation and the Civil Society Platform meeting held to counter hate speech and fake news during the election.

A DIRC member from Hambantota said, “The 19th Amendment is necessary for a democratic country but many people are not aware of the benefits they receive from it and what they will lose by its abolition. The handout distributed by NPC on the 19th Amendment was extremely informative and I have distributed it among my friends, families and neighbours.”