NPC was awarded a certificate of appreciation for training senior government officials on pluralism and fundamental rights in the Galle District. The concept and importance of pluralism was discussed at workshops attended by senior governmnt officials. Another workshop was also conducted for staff of the District Secretariat under the Plural Action for Conflict Transformation (PACT) project.
Mannar and Vavuniya Local Inter Religious Committee (LIRC) members intervened to settle a dispute between two villages in their districts and prevented religious differences from turning into violent conflict while minimising the possibility of conflicts recurring over religious issues. The initiatives were taken under NPC’s project Action for Religious Coexistence (ARC).
NPC crossed a milestone in its peace building efforts with the Eastern University of Sri Lanka (EUSL) when it launched an advanced certificate course, Sustainable Peace through Pluralism and Inclusive Service Delivery, funded by Freedom House. The inauguration ceremony was held at the Centre for External Degree and Extension Courses (CEDEC) in Batticaloa. The Eastern University has accepted 35 applications from the district and divisional level public service officers and will bring in another seven from the university administrative staff who are front line officers serving a multi-ethnic student body.
The dialogue between the government and CSOs on the issue of a new law for NGOs is taking place regularly. NPC is part of the core group of the CSO-NGO Collective that is engaging in negotiations with the government, which is seeking the development of a new and all-encompassing NGO law to replace the present one.
NPC will launch a new 15 month project to empower women in the districts of Gampaha, Kandy, Kegalle, Matara, Monaragala, Nuwara Eliya and Ratnapura, funded by the National Endowment for Democracy.
An orientation programme for NPC’s Legal Action Worldwide (LAW) supported project was held for 84 district partners and master trainers from 12 districts. Discussions included sharing experiences on the current political situation, the role of civil activists and research about protecting civic space.
Two activities were organized by Puttalam District Inter Religious Committee (DIRC) to raise awareness on the effects of drug use and the importance of inter-ethnic harmony. A training session on making palmyra leaf handicrafts was also held under NPC’s Plural Action for Conflict Transformation (PACT).
Recent religious violent extremism in the country arose as a result of mistrust among different ethnoreligious groups. The lack of mechanisms to identify and address conflict stressors that can lead to violence is a long standing issue. Civil society groups and community leaders have a greater responsibility to dispel mistrust and misconceptions and to rebuild relations among religious groups.