Minority Rights workshop held in Trincomalee

[TamilNet, Monday, 31 May 2004, 01:22 GMT]
A Two day workshop on 'Minority Rights and Good Governance' for selected representatives of government departments, non-governmental and humanitarian organizations, held in the Trincomalee office of the Consortium of the Humanitarian Agencies (CHA), concluded Saturday evening. The workshop was organized by the CHA Trincomalee district office and the Trincomalee District Community Protection Network (CPN), sources said.

Trinco Workshop on Minority Rights
Mr.K.Sivapalan speaking in the workshop
The Vice President of the Trincomalee District Women Welfare Association Ms R.Balasingham inaugurated the two-day workshop.

Human Rights activist and Attorney-at-Law Mr.K.Sivapalan speaking during the workshop said that India has set a supreme example as a secular state electing Dr. Abdul Kalam, a Tamil speaking Muslim as the President of India, a Sikh Dr.Manmohan Singh as the Prime Minister and a Roman Catholic born in Italy, Ms Sonia Gandhi, as the President of the Indian Congress party.

All this takes place when India has 82.64% of Hindus, 11.35 % Muslims, 2.43 % Christians, and only 1.96 % Sikhs, he pointed out.

"Can we, even in the wildest of our dreams, imagine such appointments or electoral results happening in Sri Lanka?" he asked.

Mr.Sivapalan further said the first Constitution of the country gave protection to minority communities through Section 29. It ensured that no law should be enacted which was advantageous to one community and disadvantageous to another.

The 1972 Constitution, abdicated Sri Lanka's polity's responsibility to minority communities by throwing away Section 29 and making Buddhism the State religion undermining other religions, he said.

Mr.T. Prabaharan, Dean of the Trincomalee campus of the East University conducted workshop on Non-Violent Communication.


Trinco Workshop on Minority Rights
A section of the participants in the workshop



Mr.C.Sasitharan of Batticaloa CHA and Mr.V.Kalaichelvan of Trincomalee CHA spoke on fact finding and documentation of human rights problems.

USAID/OTI Project Consultant Mr. Lee Brigg spoke on the role of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) during the transition period from war to peace. Dr.E.G.Gnanagunalan, Chairman of Sri Lanka Red Cross, Trincomalee district branch spoke on "Peace towards Health and Psycho Social wellbeing."

 

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