The Action Group for Social Development was established during the latter part of 1994. At the meeting held on 27th November 1994 at Talawa SAMASEVAYA Centre a constitution for the group was adopted. The main aim of this exercise was to give strength to Central Council of Social Services that was the apex body of NGOs in Sri Lanka and to introduce a Social Development Policy to the NGO field. Both these aims were fulfilled successfully at that time. But as time passed the Central Council of Social Services became defunct and the NGO sector went behind funds leaving behind the Social Development Policy. On 10th of June, 2006, under the sponsorship of the International Council on Social Welfare a Conference was held at Marga Institute, Colombo. A report was submitted on this to the International.
A large amount of work has been accomplished by the ASGOD in order to reach its aims, objectives and policies. At times they were limited to the respective provinces and at times they were conducted at national level. Opportunities were also made available to express its views at International forums.
II. PEOPLES ASSEMBLY OF SRI LANKA ( PASL )
With the dawn of a new millennium the People's Assembly of Sri Lanka was called on 29th November 2000 at the historical Konwewa Kuda Katharagama Devalaya and the Mahapothane Declaration was made. Thereafter the AGSOD conducted workshops in North Central, North - Western, Uva, Western and Eastern provinces and spread the message of the PASL throughout the country. In parallel with the Konwewa Kuda Katharagama Devalaya Esala Perehara that was held for 15 days from 20th July, 2000 to 3rd August 2000, rounds of discussions were held by the PASL and steps were taken to prepare the constitution of the PASL.
A preparatory workshop of the PASL was held on14th July, 2000 at the Marga Institute, Colombo. The constitution of the PASL was adopted at the National Conference of the PASL held on 29th December 2001 at Municipal Council Hall, Panadura. Thereafter, the inauguration of the PASL was held on 27th April, 2002 at the Centre for Society and Religion in Colombo.
The first meeting of the PASL was held on 1st June, 2002 at the historical Konwewa Kuda Katharagama Devalaya where the following four policies were decided.
Building Peace in Sri Lanka
Work against Bribery, Corruption, Waste and Inefficiency
Promote Human Rights and Moral Values
Promote Truth Binding Oath and Voluntary Pledge committing activists to work against Bribery, Corruption, War and Violence and to promote Good Governance.
At this meeting a work plan for the PASL was adopted.
After a series of discussions that were held for 15 days from 9th August, 2002 to 23rd August, 2002 at the historical Konwewa Kuda Katharagama Devalaya, twenty three (23) proposals were adopted. The purpose of this was to improve Good Governance in the country through specific actions.
The People's Assembly of Sri Lanka (PASL) that was started in the year 2000 at the historical Konwewa Kuda Katharagama Devalaya in the District of Anuradhapura has progressed slowly, step by step during the last 14 years in getting rooted into the social structures as a civil society organizational forum committed to work towards promotion of peace, social justice, democracy, and good governance. Sri Lanka is facing challenges both nationally as well as internationally. We have still failed to reach a sustainable solution to the ethnic conflict of the country. As a result, politically as well as economically we are witnessing international pressure.
02. SOME OF THE ACHIEVEMENTS MADE SO FAR
The People's Assembly of Sri Lanka (PASL) was able to contribute towards two major programmes this year that focused on the importance of peace, social justice, democracy and good governance and the participation of the people in the field. In addition to this, the PASL has contributed in a number of ways in different programmes.
i. An open letter was released on the occasion of the Presidential Election that was held on 26th January, 2010. Steps were taken to hand over this open letter to the respected clergy and other candidates who contested in this election.
ii. An open letter was also released on the occasion of the Parliamentary elections that were held on April 2010. We were able to hand over the said open letter to the top officials of all the political parties that were involved in the election.
iii. We were able to upload the song and details of PASL over the web. This could be seen at www.samadeepa.lk/pasl and it is frequently updated. The names of all our member organization have been included in this website.
iv. Dr. Nirmalan Dass of The Foundation for Civilizational Transformation and Conscious Evolution has initiated a dialogue on Global Warming.
v. Dr. Al haj Muzzammil Cader of SAMADANA/M Centre in Kandy was able to conduct a social research on Nonviolence and Good Governance. Around 100 organisations were involved in this exercise.
vi. An open letter was released by the PASL addressed to all religious institutions, civil society organisations and political leaders. It was inviting them to adhere to the principles of good governance and moral values. The author of this letter is our founder, Dr. Chandrarathne Bandara.
vii. A booklet under the title "NGO Rogues" was released for the betterment of legitimate and good NGOs and Community based organisations. This booklet was also authored by Dr. Chandrarathne Bandara.
viii. During the 14 years of functioning of the PASL, it has reached with its aims to almost 15,000 people in Sri Lanka. This count includes a cross section of the Society in Sri Lanka. Researches, seminars and workshops have been used to achieve this progress.
ix. A two day workshop to explore the teaching of Nonviolence in all religions with the participation of all religious clergies and leaders from Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam and civil society activists organized in association with SAMADANA/M Centre in Kandy, was held at Samadeepa Social Centre, Anuradhapura. Thirty Five (35) religious leaders and civil society activists participated in this two days residential workshop.
x. DECLARATION OF NONVIOLENCE was issued at the end of the above two days workshop. This was signed by all religious leaders and civil society activists who participated in this workshop. A copy of it is included in this report. We as PASL appeal to all to adhere to this declaration by bringing it into practice in each one's life.
xi. On the occasion of the Uva Provincial Council Election held in September 2014, steps were taken to release a booklet denouncing all forms of corruption and violence. The booklet focused the attention of the voters on casting preference to those who adhere, practice and protect the principles of good governance.
" The year 2015 was a year of productivity. Many people showed interest in the work of the People's Assembly of Sri Lanka. Many felt that the PASL could play a very vital role in promoting Democracy, Good Governance, Nonviolence, Human Rights and Rule of Law in this country. Keeping this as the focal point the following activities were conducted during the year 2015.
i) An Open Letter was released on the eve on the Presidential Election that was held on January 8th 2015 calling all candidates and supporting parties and members to ensure law and justice. The letter focused attention on maintaining utmost respect to uphold the principles of NON-VIOLENCE.
ii) An Open Letter was released to contesting candidates for the Parliament Election held on 17th Aug., 2015 to ensure that Law and Justice will be maintained and that none of them or their supporters or their political parties will be engaged in any form of violence.
iii) Awareness and Training programme relating to Free and Fair Election Advocacy was organised by SAMADANA/M in Kandy along with National Peace Council of Sri Lanka.
iv) PASL members participated in the Election Monitoring exercise for the Presidential Election and the Parliamentary election with the Movement for Free and Fair Election.
he total membership at present is 108. All these organisations have paid their membership fee of Rs. 1000/=. This has given them a feeling of ownership and gives a big conceptual message. This gives us the feeling that these member organisations of the PASL are mindful of our activities. However, we have to report that during the recent past the responses have been poor. We should also not forget that around 500 community based organizations have joined Action Group for Social Development
04. 14th SESSION
The 14th Session of the PASL was held very successfully on 04th October, 2014 at Anuradhapura CTC reception hall. Around 400 people participated. It is a significant event that all 9 provinces participated at this event. On this day, as done during the previous year, Samadeepa Samaja Kendaraya awarded the honorary title of Ambassador of Justice to distinguished people of the society. The South Asian Academy for Good Governance awarded Honorary titles and diplomas to qualified and suitable persons. The Global University for Lifelong Learning awarded the Professional Degrees to those who had qualified under their degree programme.
05. FUTURE RESPONSIBILITIES
A change in the Executive and Legislator has been witnessed after the results of the Presidential and Parliamentary elections. A new President and a new Prime Minister are in the leadership of the country. An accelerated 100 days programme was executed that reduced the power of the Executive Presidency and transferring some of them to the elected parliament. Investigations are being held on those who had been involved in corruption and steps are being taken to punish those who are found guilty. A lot of efforts are being made to ensure that democracy, social justice, good governance and non-violence are put into practice. We see all these as prospects for a healthy Sri Lanka.
A section of the society is not happy over these development, some due to fear that they will be punished. On the other hand there are some who are not happy because they do not see what had been promised are not happening. They criticize the government for not speeding up actions against the culprits of corruption. Also there are accusations that those who are responsible for corruption are within this government too, with ministerial portfolios. There are doubts that the promised good governance will become a reality.
People in general feel there is some comfort with steps taken by the government to reduce the cost of living. On the other hand they continue agitations and protests by a section of the society on certain social issues, specially relating to education. A lot of criticisms are leveled on charges of inefficiency. Several Independent Commissions have been set up. The much expected "Truth and Reconciliation Committee" to ensure Transitional Justice is taking shape. People are being consulted on how to conduct consultation to ensure justice to those who have been victims by different parties. A separate office for the missing persons is also to be set up.
With all these developments taking place the PEOPLE' S ASSEMBLE OF SRI LANKA will have a vital role to play. We will have to make different representations at different places on different issues. In order to play our role well there is a need for the People's Assemble of Sri Lanka to meet for frequently. There is also a need to get organized and established at the very grass-root level to ensure that people's representation is properly made. All these are challenges that have to be met with courage. This courage would come only if we adhere to the principles of NON-VIOLENCE and lead a life of NON-VIOLENCE.
Let all of us who are part and partial of the PASL get strong with Unity shedding away hatred, racism, anti-religious action in order to promote NON-VIOLENCE and build a strong Sri Lankan united Society.
"The only way to defeat those who spread hatred is to start loving them."
Al Haj Dr. Muhammed Muzzammil Cader Dr.Charles Jayasinghe
Hon. Secretary General Hon. Chairman
PEOPLE'S ASSEMBLY OF SRI LANKA PEOPLE'S ASSEMBLY OF SRI LANKA
BANDARANAYAKE MEMORIAL INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE HALL - Colombo
28th November, 2015
Action Group for Social Development
Policies and objectives ( As mentioned in the constitution )
Peace, social justice and equality
Alleviation of poverty, waste and corruption, supporting national and international efforts.
Promoting human rights and ethics
Strengthening NGOs and democratic practices
Protecting rights and privileges of NGO activists.
Creating awareness among NGOs.
Maintaining a Code of Ethics for NGOs and NGO personnel
Execution of model projects relating to the above objectives
Peoples Assembly of Sri Lanka
Objectives ( As mentioned in the constitution )
Creating awareness among the people
Training, education and skills development
Implementation of model projects
Co-operation with local and foreign organizations
Setting an example for peace, unity, harmony and good governance.
Implementing a savings and credit programme for poverty reduction, enterprise promotion and economic development.
Strengthening welfare and social security benefits
Acting as a consulting agency for the above activities.
Now Action Group for Social Development ( AGSOD ) and