Over 230 Youth Activists Gather In Vavuniya To Form Fresh Initiative Aiming To Strengthen Democracy

December 27, 2018

Over 230 multi-ethnic youth activists from across the country gathered for a 2-day event in Vavuniya from 22nd to 23rd of December, 2018 to discuss collective actions towards promoting democratic values in the country.

Over the past 5 years, AFRIEL has worked with grassroots youth towards building their capacities, through targeted theoretical and practical learning, with the aim of empowering youth to work together with their communities towards finding solutions to community priority issues.

The conference participants established Youth for Democracy—a new collective with youth from multi-ethnic and multi-religious backgrounds who have a demonstrable mobilization capacity of 1,000 villages collectively for democracy, human rights and reconciliation.

During the conference, youth activists together planned multi-ethnic initiatives towards strengthening democratic values for the next 5 years, which they deem important at the moment when democracy is at stake in the country, through eliminating corruption, human rights protection, promoting justice, ethnic unity and countering authoritarianism.

A number of civil society activists came forward to share knowledge and experience and support this young group to strengthen their future efforts on increasing public engagement towards protecting and reviving democracy. 

Initiatives such as flag and sticker campaigns against authoritarianism will reach more than thousands of people across Sri Lanka. Youth will invite the public to put up 10,000 yellow flags and paste 10,000 vehicle stickers with a slogan that reads “Lankans Reject Dictators” at houses, shops, and vehicles.

Another initiative—all island voter education campaign, launched jointly with People's Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL), Centre for Monitoring Elections Violence (CMEV), and AFRIEL Youth Network in Thirunavatkulam at the end of the event to secure an environment to hold a meaningful election process. A board with criteria for election candidates and contact details of election monitoring organizations will be placed in at least 1,000 villages to increase citizen engagement in election law violation reporting during the upcoming elections.