The issue of language was a key dividing factor in the early years of Sri Lanka’s independence and one of the root causes of the ethnic conflict that escalated into a 30 year internal war, and continues to be a great divider.

A series of training programmes were held under NPC’s Plural Action for Conflict Transformation (PACT) project for 259 administrative officers, planning unit officers, development officers and field officers from different government institutions to increase knowledge on right to information, pluralism, mediation, fundamental rights, conflict resolution and the duties and responsibilities of government officials.

Two training programmes on pluralism for 50 Local Inter Religious Committee (LIRCs) members and 70 youth wing members in Mawanella were held under NPC’s project Action for Religious Coexistence (ARC), which is aimed at promoting the attitudes of respect and acceptance for a multi religious society.

NPC held six training programmes for 286 youth from the Mannar, Batticaloa, Kandy, Kurunegala, Vavuniya and Ampara Districts under its Prevention of Violent Extremism (PVE) project. Participants included National Youth Council members, university students, youth parliamentarians and youth club members.

Ten representatives from Sri Lanka visited Bangladesh under the project Prevention of Violent Extremism Capacity Building in Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, co-funded by the European Union and implemented in Sri Lanka by Helvetas Sri Lanka and NPC and in Bangladesh by Helvetas Bangladesh and Rupantar, to learn about Prevention of Violent Extremism (PVE) strategies, approaches and best practices of PVE intervention.

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.