NPC along with its partner the Centre for Communication Training (CCT) visited to Mannar shortly after the Easter Sunday bombing to meet with the District Reconciliation Committee. These were set up two years ago when President Sirisena in his capacity as Minister of National Integration and Reconciliation, got the Cabinet of Ministers to grant approval to establish District Level Reconciliation Committees (DRCs) to address the incidences of inter religious and inter ethnic tensions and to promote national integration and reconciliation in all 25 districts.
We, the undersigned women and men, are members of civil society and are drawn from all religious and ethnic communities. Our common goal has been to advance the political, social and economic and cultural rights of the people by promoting peace, harmony and social justice for all. We have engaged constructively with all governments in the past and will continue do so in this instance.
Young people from 12 universities and 21 districts across the country met in Colombo for a three day Youth Peace Champions Event under NPC’s project, Youth Engagement with Transitional Justice for long lasting peace in Sri Lanka.
Members of the Weligama Local Inter Religious Committee (LIRC) visited Mannar on an exchange visit programme organized under NPC’s Collective Engagement for Religious Freedom (CERF) project. Participants included religious leaders, Grama Niladharis, police officers and government officials.
Under the Social Cohesion and Reconciliation Activity (SCORE) implemented by Global Communities in partnership with NPC, community assessments were done in the Moneragala and Jaffna districts to identify issues related to social cohesion and reconciliation as well as development issues in the villages chosen for the SCORE activity.
NPC’s project, Religions to Reconcile: Strengthening Inter-Religious People-to-People Community Engagement for Reconciliation and Social Cohesion in Post-Conflict Sri Lanka, which is supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) - the U.S. Government’s development agency - has been extended for another year.
Project orientation meetings, cohesion activities and town hall meetings were held in several districts across the country under NPC’s project, Consolidating Ongoing Multi-level Partnership Actions for Conflict Transformation (COMPACT).
Community conflict assessments were carried out in two villages in the Buttala area under NPC’s project, Social Cohesion and Reconciliation (SCORE). Community facilitators and civil society representatives trained by NPC did the assessments using Participatory Rural Appraisal tools.
A National Symposium attended by more than 250 members of District Inter Religious Committees (DIRCs), NGOs and civil society and trade union representatives was conducted in Colombo to discuss current political issues.
An important finding with regard to religious freedom and inter religious tolerance that came out of NPC’s research into the state of religious freedom in the country is that it already exists in substantial measure within the community. What is needed is to protect it from politically motivated intrusions from both within and more so from outside the community.