The Citizens Peace Award was established in 2010 and is intended to honour and encourage those individuals in civil society who have demonstrated courage and consistency in the protection of and respect for human rights, peaceful settlement of disputes and promoting increased understanding between and among communities.
We are gratified that the Ven Sobitha agreed to accept this award during his lifetime. When members of the National Peace Council met him at the Naga Vihara temple in Kotte in September 2015, and requested him to accept our award, he said there were others more qualified than he was, but eventually agreed when we said our choice was unanimous. We even set the date of the award ceremony for November 5, 2016 but by that time he had fallen seriously ill.
The prize will be donated to the Alapathgama Sobitharamaya Buddhist Temple in Alapathagama (Anuradhapura District) which the Ven. Sobitha was dedicated to developing. The presentation will take place in Alapathgama on May 29, 2016 under the patronage of the Athipuja Maduluwawe Sobitha himi Gunanusmarana Padanama at a ceremony presided over by the Speaker of Parliament, Hon Karu Jayasuriya.
In making the fifth Citizens Peace Award to the late Ven. Sobitha, we are making a statement of the values that we believe the people of our country also share. We remember the Ven. Sobitha with affection and gratitude for his courage and foresight in envisioning Sri Lanka as a pluralistic country in which respect for human rights, good governance and democracy are the foremost values.
The National Peace Council also wishes to express its gratitude to the National Movement for Social Justice to which the Ven Sobitha gave leadership. They afforded us the opportunity to make the posthumous presentation of the Citizens Peace Award to the Ven Sobitha possible at this event. We affirm our commitment to work along with the movement to make the values and concepts of good governance, inter-religious pluralism and human rights reverberate throughout the country and most of all in the hearts and minds of its citizens.
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.