Under NPC’s project Prevention of Violent Extremism Capacity Building in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, meetings were held to develop proposals for district level campaigns in the Ampara, Batticaloa, Kandy, Kurunegala, Vavuniya and Mannar districts with the participation of 155 people from civil society organizations, religious leaders, youth, state sector officials and community police.
Four orientation meetings were conducted in Beruwela, Negombo, Weligama and Trincomalee under NPC’s project Action for Religious Coexistence (ARC), which targets the engagement of religious leaders, state officials, community policing units and youth to sustain the space for religious freedom within the framework of pluralism and rule of law. The project creates the space for strengthening sub national platforms to increase constructive community engagement in working towards pluralism based coexistence.
More than 400 estate sector people from four estates received documents such as birth certificates, death certificates, certificate of non-registration and national identity cards from two mobile clinics under NPC’s project sustaining peace through pluralism and inclusive service delivery funded by Freedom House. The marriages of several couples were also legally registered.
A series of one day workshops based on pluralism and building a pluralistic society was conducted for members of local government authorities and government officials in the Colombo, Nuwara Eliya, Moneragala, Kandy, Kegalle, Kurunegala and Badulla districts under NPC’s project Plural Action for Conflict Transformation (PACT).
The worsening economic crisis in the country is compelling out migration of people. There are long lines outside of the passport office formed by people who see their salvation in working abroad. The plantation sector has been particularly affected by the economic crisis. They suffer from the general price increases and also on account of the fertilizer shortage that has adversely affected agriculture.
A reconciliation event organized by Kegalle District Inter Religious Committee (DIRC) was held in Kegalle with the participation of 73 Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim school children in order to build trust between the different ethnic groups. DIRCs are supported by Misereor.
Two new Local Inter Religious Committees (LIRCs) were established in Mawanella in the Kegalle District and Bandarawela in the Badulla Districts under NPC’s Action for Religions Coexistence (ARC) project supported by the US State Department. They become part of a LIRC network in 12 locations set up and maintained through the now concluded Community Engagement for Religious Freedom (CERF) project. The new locations were selected after consultations with ground level organizations working in peace, reconciliation and human rights, a review of incidents of violence reported in media outlets and NPC’s other work.
Under its project Prevention of Violent Extremism Capacity Building in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, NPC held workshops in Kurunegala, Ampara, Batticaloa, Vavuniya and Mannar for 173 representatives of civil society organizations, religious leaders, youth, state sector officials and community police.
Under NPC’s Freedom House Project, its Kegalle partner organization People’s Development Foundation (PDF), in collaboration with the Government Vocational Training Centers (VET), conducted a vocational training programme for marginalised youth in the plantation sector and helped them to get government support such as monthly season tickets. The project aims to uplift the socio-economic conditions of plantation and neighbouring village youth.
The economic crisis in the country has thrust large sections of the people into poverty. Official inflation rates are in the region of 40 %. But the price increases of many essentials have exceeded 100 to 200 %. As a result the effective income of the people has been halved. The impact is worst felt by those who are paid by the day and on fixed incomes. Those who work on the plantations constitute a very large group. Among the ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, the up country (or Malaiyaha) Tamils are notable for being historically discriminated. They are 4.12 % of the total population according to the Department of Census and Statistics Survey of 2012.