The US Department of State, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor (DRL) today announced an open competition for organizations interested in submitting applications for projects that promote religious freedom in Sri Lanka.
DRL seeks to ensure that authorities at all levels of Government in Sri Lanka effectively implement national laws and policies protecting religious freedom.
While the country’s constitution states “every person is entitled to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion, including the freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice,” it gives Buddhism the “foremost place” among the country’s religious faiths and commits the Government to protecting it.
The US Department of State says non-Buddhist religious groups have reported discriminatory restrictions imposed by local Government officials on religious minorities.
Ideas for successful program activities could focus on one or more of the following, but are not limited to:
- trainings for local civil society groups to ensure awareness of non-discriminatory national polices and ensure policies are being implemented ;
- supporting efforts of local civil society groups to educate local and regional government as well as the public on to implementing national policies to promote positive reform;
- promote positive reform;
- develop accountability mechanisms to better monitor, document and advocate against abuses by civil society or government actors;
- support activities which foster greater coordination among civil society organizations leading to stronger networks able to effectively promote religious freedom for all.
Organizations submitting an application for this category are strongly encouraged to do so in partnership with at least one other organization. However, one organization must be designated as the lead applicant. While organizations are limited to submitting only one application under this category, this limitation does not extend to being included as a partner in another organization’s application.
Projects should aim to have impact that leads to democratic reforms, and should have the potential for sustainability beyond DRL resources. DRL’s preference is to avoid duplicating past efforts by supporting new and creative approaches. This does not exclude from consideration projects that improve upon or expand existing successful projects in a new and complementary way.
DRL welcomes applications from U.S.-based and foreign-based non-profit organizations/non-government organizations (NGO) and public international organizations; private, public, or state institutions of higher education; and for-profit organizations or businesses. DRL’s preference is to work with non-profit entities; however, there may be some occasions when a for-profit entity is best suited. (Colombo Gazette)