A network of groups promoted by the National Peace Council brings together groups and organizations from different districts to prevent ethnic and confessional clashes. Among its proposals are the teaching of the languages of all the communities in schools and the twinning of children from the north and south of the country.
Colombo () – Join forces between different religious groups and civil society to promote a peaceful and harmonious life among different communities, starting at the local level. This is the objective pursued in Sri Lanka by the Community Fraternity Organization, a network that aims to resolve religious conflicts through joint actions that avoid hatred in a country marked by the long civil war, but also by other wounds. more recent, such as the 2019 Easter massacre.
In recent days, the project was also presented in Negombo, in the Gampaha district, with an initiative attended by 45 representatives of non-governmental organizations and other popular organizations active in the area. “The idea is that religious tensions are not only addressed at the national level, but also in each of the districts,” he explained to N. Vijayakanth, who is following this program on behalf of the National Peace Council. “And we have already started to do that in 14 different locations in 13 districts. Soon we will bring all the representatives together in Colombo for joint training and to come up with proposals to present to the government together.”
Some of the activities that are already planned are “identifying priorities within the district, forming reconciliation committees in each village, educating school teachers, bringing interfaith debates and dialogues to the local level, using technology to share information”, as explained by the coordinator of the Community Fraternity Organization, Wasantha Kumara. “Among the proposals that are emerging are the inclusion of all national heroes in school textbooks, the development of a program to teach children all three languages from a very young age, the twinning of children from the north and south of Sri Lanka,” he added.
“I think our society needs to heal: clashing on religious or ethnic grounds only leads to destruction,” said Manel Fernando, who represented the Janavabodhaya Kendraya organization at the Negombo meeting. “We believe that if we start something, even if it’s small, in our area or in our town, it will have a big effect.”
“Recently, right here in Negombo, we witnessed conflicts, which continue to exist in different forms,” added Sudarshana Fonseka, a representative of the Focus Club organization, “being able to build the capacity to deal with them at the local level will be very helpful.”