CPA Executive Director recipient of first Citizens Peace Award
The Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu was awarded the Citizens Peace Award for 2010 by the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka. Dr. Saravanamuttu was selected from 52 nominations received following the announcement of the award in November 2010.
Dr. Saravanamuttu has consistently articulated a political solution to the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. During and after the end of war, as head of CPA and in his own personal capacity as a political commentator, Dr. Saravanamuttu has written and spoken steadfastly on behalf of a just peace, human rights and democracy.
As noted by the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka, this award recognizes in particular two aspects of Dr. Saravanamuttu’s work and life. Firstly, the courage he has shown in word and deed to mitigate the culture of fear stemming from impunity, extra judicial killings, terrorism and intolerance of free expression of political opinion. He has thereby given leadership to many others in civil society and media to express their own views and engage in debate in accordance with the freedoms and ideals of political life in a democracy. Secondly, the timely action on behalf of temporary Tamil residents of Colombo city threatened with mass expulsion by government decree during the height of the war in 2007. As head of CPA, he filed legal action in the Supreme Court and prevailed, thereby inspiring confidence that the processes of justice continued to be available to vindicate the rights of citizens.
The Citizens Peace Award was established in 2010 by the National Peace Council to honour and encourage those individuals in civil society who have demonstrated courage and consistency in the protection of and respect for human rights; peaceful settlement of disputes and promoting increased understanding between and among communities. Other criteria considered included work in hostile conditions, sacrifices made and being a Sri Lankan citizen working within Sri Lanka. The selection of the winner was by the nine member Board of Directors of NPC and ratified by its 20 member Governing Council from recommendations made by a five member nominations committee after calling for nominations in the print media in the national languages and its website. The prize is made possible by funds received from the Soroptimist International of Osaka Izumi, Sakai City’s Peace Contribution Award and the National Peace Council.
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