September 2013

Outreach Unit
“The project empowers Plantation Sector Workers by assisting them to obtain permanent addresses and national identity cards.”
In August this year the Outreach Unit has two major projects underway; Promoting Language Rights of Minorities Phase 3 (PLRM 3) and Safeguarding Civil rights of Plantation Workers Project with AUSAID PLRM 3 seeks to address the fundamental rights of minorities with a focus on language rights in Sri Lanka .It addresses Language inequality in Sri Lanka, considered by many as a significant underlying cause of the conflict spanning more than 3 decades. The project carried out by CPA initially covered 5 bilingual districts of the East; namely, Ampara, Batticaloa, Vavuniya , Mannar and Killinochci and was subsequently extended to Jaffna and Colombo in the second phase. The Project now extends in geographical scope to districts in the Estate sector in which the One Day Compact Training was also held in August for Selection of Peer Leaders and Postal Peons Covering Plantations was held at the Uva Management Training Institute – Polgahathenna. Core Objectives of the Training include assisting youth identify their roles and responsibilities in society, increasing youth capacity involved in social integration processes at community level, awareness about participatory decision making processes and inclusive citizen participation.

The Safeguarding Civil rights of Plantation Workers Project with AUSAID is aimed at estate workers who by not being given a permanent contact address miss opportunities such as important interviews and exam notification letters, undergo banking related difficulties, miss community meetings and other important notifications. Additionally lack of National Identity cards leads to a number of serious issues; limited freedom of movement, difficulty in making transactions, vulnerability in civil and criminal cases, lack of security, complications in obtaining official documentation and finding employment . Therefore the project seeks to empower Plantation Sector Workers by assisting them to obtain permanent addresses and national identity cards. The projects are set to extend to March 2014. Mandated with complementing CPA-initiated interventions by spreading awareness among citizens to facilitate an informed public dialogue the Outreach Unit strives to increase understanding of the fundamental convictions held by CPA on peace, democracy and good governance, among the public and particularly among the rural stakeholders with a particular emphasis on youth and women’s groups.

Missed opportunities due to misplacing of interview or exam notification letters is a source of frustration for young people in the Estate Sector who seek better jobs or education

2nd Edition, 2013 August-September of the Tri-lingual Saama Vimarshee (Peace Monitor) publication was released by the Outreach Unit of CPA. Both PDF and online versions are available via

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30 Years Ago
The culmination of months of dedicated research, travel, challenging production work and curation, 30 Years Ago was launched on 19th August 2013. Conceptualized and curated by Sanjana Hattotuwa, a senior researcher at CPA, the project is an attempt to remember and probe Sri Lanka's epochal anti-Tamil pogrom of '83 through perspectives rarely, if ever, featured before. The producers have used a wide range of media and methods - from a mixed media triptych to infographics, from audio podcasts to video, from photography to compelling write-ups. To complement the launch of 30 Years Ago and focus on some of the issues the project is anchored to and inspired by, four panel discussions were held in Colombo at Park Street Mews, Warehouse D. The inaugural session featured Deshamanya Bradman Weerakoon and Dr. Devanesan Nesiah, both of whom have been featured on Groundviews previously writing or speaking about Black July. This is the very first time they are appearing together to talk about their unique experiences around the violence in 1983. The other panels feature some of the Sri Lanka’s best known artists, gallerists, writers, dramatists, activists and journalists. A description of the panels can be read here 9/30-years-ago-exhibition-details24-25-august-2013/ The project website can be seen here -

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Governance and Anti-Corruption Programme
Following the completion of the ‘Reconnecting the Citizens with the Local Authorities in the North phase –I’ project the Governance and Anti-Corruption programme of CPA is currently in the midst of carrying out ‘Reconnecting the Citizens with the Local Authorities in the North phase – II’ project. The objective of the project is to enhance the civic engagement of community members by strengthening relationships between newly elected local authorities. Supplementary objectives include improving citizens’ awareness and active participation in the local budget process and service delivery, and an increase in income revenue options in order to enable the PSs to manage their functions autonomously, as was expected from in the 13th Amendment, which was introduced in 1987 to the Constitution. It also aims to establish and enhance public, private and civil society partnerships among Pradeshiya Sabhas in the North to increase confidence in PS administration and service delivery. The Phase II project currently running is comprised of two main activities; North South Exchange Visit for Local Representatives from the Northern Province and Revenue Management for the Local Government Authority Leaders in both Jaffna and Mulaitivu districts. The Northern exchange team comprised the Chairmen, Vice Chairmen, members, secretary, technical officer and local government assistants which is surprising and heartening in its willingness considering the impending election in the Northern Province. “The entire office of the council, all members and the Hon. Chairman were given an unbelievable welcome by the exchange group. The team and the Agalawatta council had a remarkable ability to understand each other and they all worked as one team” said Manjula Gajanayke of CPA’s Governance and Anti-Corruption programme. Following the two intense activity exchange visits, the

Members of Pradeshiya Sabhas reading Pradeshiya Sabha Act during workshop on Revenue Management

Vice Chairman of Nallur Pradeshiya Sabha welcomes Citizen Committee Members of Passara in Badulla

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CPA Governance team is compiling records and archiving photographs. A video documentary is also being planned. Preparations are underway for the next two Dialogue Sessions, which were requested by participants of the Exchange visits. Both Phase I and Phase II of these projects are funded by The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) with funds to be provided through Development Alternatives. Inc (DAI). The Governance & Anti-Corruption programme commenced in July 2007, the unit focuses on Governance issues with particular emphasis on Local Authorities and the Transparency & Accountability angles of their budget processes. Other important areas of concern are procurement, Right to Information and accountability. For more information on this unit visit Flickr

Chairman of Karaweddi Pradeshiya Sabha lighting the oil lamp at the welcome ceremony organized by the Agalawattha Pradeshiya Sabha

Media Coverage
On web and mainstream media
 “The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and its Executive Director filed a complaint before the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka against the Independent Television Network of Sri Lanka” “Rights activist Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, who heads the Colombo-based Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), said he travelled to the war-affected districts of Mullaittivu and Jaffna and spoke to local people who also said they were questioned after meeting Pillay” 4dBmm3003355Y402

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The following website is currently blocked in Sri Lanka rendering the articles inaccessible to users of a number of local service providers  

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Social Indicator
In August Social Indicator (SI) conducted a survey with 650 respondents from the Northern Province in order to get their perspectives on the upcoming NPC elections. Some aspects covered in the short questionnaire included the people’s choice for Chief Minister, important issues for the community, important factors when selecting candidates, changes in the Northern Province over the last four years and Uthuru Vasanthaya SI field staff conducted the survey in early August and SI will be releasing the report early September. Additionally a series of Policy and Programming briefs based on the data collected by Social Indicator in 2012 for the ‘Broadening Gender: Why Masculinities Matter” study for CARE Sri Lanka and Partners for Prevention was released by CARE Sri Lanka in August, 2013. These briefs, titled ‘Preventing Sexual and Genderbased Violence in Sri Lanka’ were produced by the five thematic working groups that were formed after the release of the report in 2012. The five thematic working groups included several local and international organisations and individuals based in Sri Lanka working on GBV, Health, Women, Youth and Gender related issues. 1. 2. 3. Child Protection – facilitated by Dr Hiranthi Wijemanne Working with Youth – facilitated by Prabu Deepan Addressing men’s health as a means of primary prevention of GBV – facilitated by Dr Dayanath Ranathunga Exploring women’s attitudes and the impact of GBV on their mental and physical health – facilitated by Dr Nalika Gunawardene Private sector engagement – facilitated by Prof. Maithree Wickremasinghe



Social Indicator is the survey research arm of CPA. Socio-economic and political issues constitute the predominant focus of its research. For more information on survey research conducted by the unit visit Access Flickr site here 32399371814/

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Legal & Constitutional Unit
Press Release on new laws seeking action against publications that ‘defame the original teachings and traditions of the major religions’ CPA responds to reports that the Ministry of Buddha Sasana and Religious Affairs is to introduce new laws seeking action against publications that ‘defame the original teachings and traditions of the major religions’ Full press release can be accessed via 2e4

Constitutionality of bill titled ‘The Twenty First Amendment to the Constitution’: A Private Member’s Bill presented by the Ven. Athuraliye Rathana Thero, M.P. of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), was placed on the Order Paper of Parliament on 18th June 2013. The proposed Bill, if passed by In August the Legal and Constitutional Unit of CPA produced several publications available online A Critique: HIV/AIDS and the Legal and Policy Framework in Sri Lanka: Official figures indicate Sri Lanka to be a low prevalence country but numerous factors could contribute towards the possibility of an outbreak of HIV / AIDS. These factors include poverty, lack of awareness, low condom use and the presence of numerous vulnerable groups. This coupled with the high levels of stigma and discrimination prevents many from coming forward to obtain assistance including necessary health care. The paper discusses and comments on the legal and policy dimension and the obstacles it poses to a sustainable and effective response to HIV/AIDS. The full paper can be found here .

Parliament would have the effect of repealing Chapter XVIIA of the Constitution, which was introduced by the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) filed a petition in the Supreme Court on 24th June 2013 challenging the constitutionality of this Bill. Access via - Letter and complaint against ITN In relation to a letter to the Independent Television Network (ITN) by CPA with reference to the Sinhala language 7 pm news broadcast on Sunday 14th July 2013, inaccurately stating that the organisation and its Excutive Director Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu organised a meeting in Ampara on Sunday to further the interests of the LTTE Full letter can be accessed here 502

Following lack of response by ITN, a complain(Complaint No: HRC/3083/13) was filed before the Human Rights Commissions of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) against the Independent Television Network of Sri Lanka (ITN) and its Chairmen. Read via The Legal and Constitutional Unit leads CPA’s programming on issues of Constitutional Reform, Law Reform, Electoral Reform and Human Rights.

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