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» 07/03/2012
SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka, Christian activist wins National Peace Award
by Melani Manel Perera
Nimalka Fernando receives 2011 Citizen's Peace Award. The woman stood out for her commitment to create citizens awareness of rights, and combating all forms of discrimination.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - The National Peace Council (NPC) of Sri Lanka has awarded the Citizen's Peace Award 2011, to the Christian activist Nimalka Fernando, for her work for peace and human rights. The commitment to raising awareness among citizens of their rights in order to create a united society devoid of discrimination earned her this recognition. The awards ceremony - one of the largest nationwide - took place on June 26 last month in the Lakshman Kadirgamar cultural centre in Colombo, in the presence of various religious leaders, social activists and government personalities.

In her acceptance speech, Nimalka Fernando said: "In all honesty, I am just one of thousands of people and movements from the late '70s who have worked for justice and peace in Sri Lanka. This is above all the 'their' prize, more than mine, and I would like to dedicate it to all my compatriots. As the winner, this award puts me in front of a challenge. But it is also an encouragement for all of us to continue our work. Thank you for wanting to reward peace and human rights in Sri Lanka ".

Her commitment as an activist began in the 70s in the student movement. Human rights, defense of women and combating all forms of ethnic and social discrimination were just some of the battles fought in recent years by Fernando. Currently, she is president of the International Movement Against all Forms of Discrimination and Racism (Imadr), co-chairman of the South Asia for Human Rights, member of the Nepali South Asian Alliance for Poverty Eradication (Saape), treasurer of the Mothers and Daughters of Sri Lanka. In addition, she is co-chairman of the Platform for Freedom (PFF), a civil society movement that works with the political parties in the name of the right to life and freedom of expression.

The NPC created the Citizens Peace Award in 2010, to honour and encourage those in civil society who have shown courage and determination to protect and respect human rights, to seek a peaceful solution to disputes and in creating awareness among different communities. The prize consists in a sum of money, that Fernando will donate among the associations with which she collaborates.


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See also
02/17/2011 SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka human rights activist wins peace prize
by Melani Manel Perera
04/28/2006 PAKISTAN
Human rights in Pakistan, not UN Council, should worry government, say Pakistani bishops
03/30/2006 CHINA
Multinational corporation gives award to Chinese AIDS activist
01/04/2010 SRI LANKA
Presidential election: general Fonseka meets Mgr Ranjith
by Melani Manel Perera
09/01/2005 INDIA
After 13 years, the National Integration Council is back in business in India
by Nirmala Carvalho

Editor's choices
VATICAN
Pope: I am with the persecuted Christians of Mosul and the Middle East "May the God of peace inspire in all a genuine desire for dialogue and reconciliation. Violence is never defeated with violence. Violence is defeated with peace." At the Sunday Angelus Francis comments on the parable of the wheat and the weeds. God is "patient" He knows "the same weeds in the end, may become good wheat". But "at the time of the harvest, that is, of judgment, the reapers will execute the order of the master separating the weeds to be burned".
CHINA - VATICAN
Beijing, seminarians desert graduation ceremony: We will not celebrate Mass with illegitimate bishops The rector of the seminary is the illegitimate bishop Joseph Ma Yinglin: Students refuse to concelebrate with him and reject Msgr. Fang Xingyao, who has participated in several illegal episcopal ordinations. The directors close the year without awarding diplomas and send students home: rumors of some courses being "suspended" in September. The precedent of 2000, when 130 young students chose fidelity to the Pope over compromise with the government.
HONG KONG-CHINA-VATICAN
Card Zen: Religious freedom and civil liberties are united, for China and Hong Kong
by Bernardo CervelleraA wide ranging conversation with the bishop emeritus of Hong Kong: the courage of Msgr. Ma Daqin, who sent a message to Pope Francis; underground Catholics are also prepared to be arrested; suspicions about Beijing’s sincerity towards possible dialogue with the Holy See. And in Hong Kong, the march for a referendum on democracy; support for "Occupy Central"; the fear of the government and arrests. Card. Zen reaffirms that religious freedom and civil liberties go hand in hand.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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pp. 528
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pp. 240
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