NPC’s Collective Engagement for Religious Freedom (CERF) project was initiated in 2017 to promote and strengthen religious freedom in the country within the framework of pluralism and rule of law. To achieve this objective, NPC established 12 inter religious platforms with the participation of the government officers, religious leaders, civil society members and community leaders representing 12 divisional secretariats. These committees share the values of religious freedom while acting as community leaders within their localities to establish religious coexistence.
Under its project Prevention of Violent Extremism (PVE), NPC held training programmes in Mannar, Vavuniya, Kandy and Kurunegala for 160 Divisional level youth including National Youth Council members, university students, youth parliamentarians and youth club members.
Fourteen workshops on hate speech, prevention of violent extremism and non-violent communication were conducted for 543 youths representing several organizations in Nuwara Eliya, Galle, Matara, Hambantota, Monaragala, Jaffna, Vavuniya, Batticaloa, Badulla, Puttalam, Kurunegala, Kandy, Kegalle, Anuradhapura, and Kandy districts under NPC’s Plural Action for Conflict Transformation (PACT) project.
NPC is assisting resettled communities in the Jaffna district to obtain legal documents through its project Sustaining Peace Through Inclusive Service Delivery funded by Freedom House in collaboration with its partner, Organisation for Elangai Refugees Rehabilitation Ceylon (OfERR).
NPC held four training programmes for 152 state officers in Batticaloa, Vavuniya, Kandy and Kurunegala including Grama Niladaris, development officers and social services officers directly involved with the community on Prevention of Violent Extremism (PVE) concepts and skills for PVE implementation.
Language was a key dividing factor in the early years of Sri Lanka’s independence and it continues to be a source of tension between communities, especially now when there is an economic downturn where resources are scarce and there is competition between people and communities for survival. Differences in linguistic, ethnic and religious identity can become focal points for mobilising conflict.
A three day exposure visit to Negombo was conducted under NPC’s project Collective Engagement for Religious Freedom (CERF) for 110 Local Inter Religious Committee (LIRC) members from Negombo, Batticaloa, Trincomalee and Weligama, beginning with an inter religious dialogue to share participants’ experiences as LIRC members and their expectations of the visit.