Combating Religious Discrimination Sri Lanka (CRDSL) is an initiative funded by the European Commission. IMADR AC implements the CRDSL along with 4 partner organizations, i.e. Centre for Women and Development (CWD), South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR), Rights Now Collective for Democracy, and Right to Life Human Rights Centre. Activities of this project takes place in Southern, Northern, Eastern, North Western, Central and Western Provinces.
CRDSL’s overall objective is to promote and strengthen civil society action promoting pluralistic ethos, enhancing democratic values and upholding fundamental freedoms. Further it also strives to directly address the ethnic, religious and gender divisions in the community and support building a society respecting pluralism and human rights.
Activities of the CRDSL includes village and district level community dialogue forums to national level capacity building of organizations and religious leaders to engage in activities to promote inter religious dialogue and harmony. We carry out fact finding missions of places of religious tensions and work with religious groups to revisit their religious educational materials and text to promote religious tolerance among their children. We encourage community groups to design and celebrate religious events and festivals during Vesak, Poson, Christmas, Thaipongal, Hadj, and Sinhala and Hindu New Year season with everybody in the community irrespective of religious differences. We also work with youth through Provincial Youth Clubs and organise sporting events to encourage inter religious interaction and entertainment. We have undertaken to develop guidelines on public policy on social integration with benchmarks for anti-discriminatory policies and review educational curriculums on religious discrimination. National and international advocacy happens through engagements with policy makers, regional jurists, and international forums targeted at building pressure, visibility, and wider consensus for effective interventions to achieve project goals. The CRDSL is therefore a multi-layered and multi-sectoral approach that employ multiple but focused strategies to promote religious tolerance in Sri Lanka.
CRDSL project is to come to an end in early 2018 and we are building capacity of local and national groups enabling them to continue to deliver activities for religious tolerance beyond the project period.
The International Movement Against All Forms of Discrimination and Racism (IMADR), Asia Committee has received a grant from the United Nations emocracy Fund to provide technical training, and facilitate political rights campaigns, action-oriented research, policy dialogue and learning from other South Asian countries under the project titled “Right to Women’s Political Representation in Sri Lanka” and to strengthen work related to the possible establishment of the Political Academy at the end of the UNDEF funded project. The project aims to increase women’s political leadership and participation in promoting democracy, good governance, gender equality, and peace-building in Sri Lanka. The expected outcomes are (i) Strengthening women’s capacities for effective participation (ii) influencing policy makers to introduce affirmative actions to increase women’s political participation and (iii) Improving access to election nomination and processes for prospective women politicians to engage in politics in a democratic manner. This project will use an approach which focuses on building public awareness, community mobilization, public outreach, campaigns, capacity and coalition building, and public support to strengthen cross-sector relationships to increase the presence of women in governance. On 2nd January IMADR-Asia Committee together with women political representatives and feminist activists launched the Women’s Political Manifesto 2015 focusing on the Presidential Election scheduled for 8th January as it’s first action under this project. (pictures) More details of the project and specific activities will be uploaded in the coming months. IMADR Asia Committee has been involved with grass-roots communities in Sri Lanka since 1996. It has an extensive outreach and has working partners in all 25 districts in Sri Lanka. It is also linked to civil society and women’s networks in the country. The work of WPASL during 2009 -2012 was carried out with the help of these members who form the operational arm of IMADR mission and vision in Sri Lanka.
This oral update is presented pursuant to Human Rights Council Resolution 30/1 on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka, which was adopted by consensus with the co-sponsorship of Sri Lanka.