Thursday, September 21, 2006

Mahima Induwara (6) from Badulla. He is the youngest participant of the peace demonstration.

International Peace Day was celebrated in Sri Lanka on September 21st 2006. Women for peace and democracy organized an hour long demonstration at the Lipton Circus.

Women from Badulla, Batticaloa, Hambantota, Negombo,Puttalam, Pollannaruwa participated.

There were about two hundred women gathered to show the strength for peace.

Most of the participants wore either black or white clothes to show their solidarity towards peace in Sri Lanka.

"My son has been missing since 29th of October 1989. I do not know what has happened to him. I tried to find out what happened to him, but I have not got any confirmed reply from anybody so far", says N.J.Fernando (63) of Katunayake.

"Women and children are the worst affected in a community due to war", say women from Mahiyangana.

"I stand here for peace. People have the right to live, and not to die. We have to create a good environment for our children to live peacefully", says Sivagnanaselvam Sivakumaran, Programme Co-ordinator of World Solidarity Forum.

Police officers who are on duty having a discussion with the participants about war and peace.

"The recent incident in Muttur and three days before massacre in Pottuvil are part of the history of the Muslims community that has been victimized throughout the conflict, and marginalized in the peace process. I am here to stress the importance of addressing human rights abuses committed against Muslim community by the Sri Lankan Government and LTTE.

We also welcome the President's call for an independent monitoring mission to look into the recent abduction and killings. However this international monitoring mission should be separate from the peace process and Ceasefire Agreement monitoring, because human rights monitoring should continue irrespective of whether we have ceasefire or war. In fact during the ceasefire period there were so many abductions and extra judicial killings. These abuses were swept under the carpet because the parties involved in ceasefire monitoring did not want to upset the peace process", says human rights and peace activist S.Saroor.

"We are affected by the war. Because we live in border villages. Our villages were attacked, and friends and relatives were killed during war. We have suffered a lot. We do not want to witness another war in our village", say the women from Polonnaruwa.

Peace is a journey, and it should be continued according to peace activists

Civil societies say that the warring parties should start the negotiations soon.

"Lets stop the killings. People's plead for peace should be a continuation. We all should think how can we contribute to peace. We care. And there should be a political equilibrium", Shanthi Sachchithanantham, chairperson of Vizhuthu.

No to war!