Mediation Boards Commission launches national awareness campaign

16 October, 2022
Minister of Justice Dr. Wijeydasa Rajapakshe, Ambassadors, and Mediation Board officials at the launch of the campaign.

The Mediation Boards Commission (MBC) of Sri Lanka, and the Ministry of Justice, launched a national media campaign titled ‘Gini Sisila/Neerum Neruppum’, to create awareness on the mediation program of Sri Lanka.

The launch at the British Council lawn, was graced by several people including Minister of Justice Dr Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe, Secretary, Ministry of Justice; Wasantha Perera, Secretary, Mediation Boards Commission, Priyanath Perera, Chairperson, Mediation Boards Commission, Justice Yapa, Commissioners of the Mediation Boards Commission,  the Ambassador of the European Union to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, Denis Chaibi, British High Commissioner Sarah Hulton,  South Asia Regional Director, British Council, Adrian Chadwick, Country Director, British Council Sri Lanka, Maarya Rehman, and Country Representative, The Asia Foundation, Dinesha De Silva.

‘Gini Sisala’ / ‘Neerum Neruppum’ is an ideology that refers to a traditional fire dance where a dancer ‘extinguishes’ fire with his mouth – a metaphor used to iterate the service of using dialogue to solve disputes through community mediation.

The launch signified the beginning of a campaign that is to share 24 real-life and relatable community mediation success stories through press, television, radio and digital platforms. The evening showcased a trailer of the campaign alongside a few selected stories, speeches from dignitaries and live entertainment.

Minister of Justice Dr. Wijeydasa Rajapakshe said, “Promoting mediation as an Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism is one of the top priorities of the Ministry of Justice at the moment. I appreciate the contribution of the European Union towards improving the mediation process in Sri Lanka.”

The main aim of this campaign is to promote the use of Community Mediation Boards among all communities, explaining the interest-based mediation process and approach in Sri Lanka.

It also aims to inform more people about the nature and availability of Mediation Services and encourage engagement with Mediation Boards, thereby providing better access to alternative dispute resolution services. It will also help to inform the public about mediation being a more affordable, sustainable and time saving process when compared with litigation.

EU Ambassador Denis Chaibi said, “The EU applauds the launching of the campaign that aims to raise awareness of the mediation services provided throughout Sri Lanka by the Mediation Boards. Mediation is a very efficient and effective means of solving individual conflicts, preventing their escalation, providing satisfaction to the individuals involved and preventing the justice system from becoming overwhelmed, thus contributing to enhanced access to justice.”

The campaign is run by the Supporting Effective Dispute Resolution (SEDR) project, a four-year access to justice project funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by the British Council, in partnership with The Asia Foundation. The EUR 7 million project is part of the EU’s overarching STRIDE (Strengthening Transformation, Reconciliation, and Inclusive Democratic Engagement) program in Sri Lanka.

– Sunday Observer Sri Lanka

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