The National Peace Council welcomes President Maithripala Sirisena’s admonition that anyone who violates the law would be dealt with by the law enforcement agencies. In a context in which religious tension is rising, the government is planning to conduct programmes to educate the clergy of all religions on the importance of integration and reconciliation. The Ministry of National Integration and Reconciliation A H M Fowzie is making arrangements to hold programmes to promote national reconciliation. Minister of Justice and Buddhasasana, Wijeyadasa Rajapaksheha has said that all ethnic and religious groups are welcome to participate in the dialogue. He said various groups, including the Bodu Bala Sena and Ravana Balaya, had agreed to participate in the effort to resolve issues through dialogue.
In addition to its awareness creation and dialogue-centred activities, the National Peace Council calls on the government to take action against those who engage in hate speech which creates disaffection and mistrust between communities. The suspected arson attack last Saturday on a Muslim owned warehouse in a Colombo suburb that was previously burned down in 2013 by a mob makes it clear that law enforcement is an urgent priority. In the past there has been a climate of impunity with charges not being brought against the perpetrators, and the victims being railroaded into informal settlements or face worse consequences. This has only served to embolden the aggressors. As their conduct is in clear violation of the law we demand that the laws against incitement to disaffection be enforced by the Attorney General and the Police and those engaging in violence are given exemplary punishment through the judicial process as a deterrent to racist and mob action before they grows out of hand.
National Peace Council
The National Peace Council is an independent and non partisan organization that works towards a negotiated political solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. It has a vision of a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka in which the freedom, human rights and democratic rights of all the communities are respected. The policy of the National Peace Council is determined by its Governing Council of 20 members who are drawn from diverse walks of life and belong to all the main ethnic and religious communities in the country.