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European Commission allocates Rs. 1.7 b for preventing violent extremism and peacebuilding in SL

Brussels: The European Commission, through its Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace, has allocated € 8.5 million (over Rs. 1.65 billion) to support Sri Lanka’s efforts to prevent violent extremism, build community resilience, and promote peace and tolerance.

The funds will also contribute to the ongoing peacebuilding process through internally displaced persons and refugees being able to return to their land, the European Commission said in a release.

This allocation comes after High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini’s meeting earlier this month with the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka, where she underlined the EU’s readiness to support Sri Lanka in the face of the challenges of terrorism and violent extremism.

In a bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Tilak Marapana, at the ASEAN Regional Forum in Bangkok, Thailand earlier this month, Mogherini stressed the EU’s solidarity with Sri Lanka following the Easter Sunday attacks. She underlined the EU’s readiness to support Sri Lanka in the face of this challenge to help prevent and counter violent extremism and support improvements in coordinating the country’s counterterrorism efforts.

“The Easter Sunday terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka killed 258 people and injured many more. Preventing and responding to terrorist attacks like this is an additional challenge for Sri Lanka along with numerous other challenges in transitioning to durable peace after many years of conflict, such as refugees, internally displaced persons, and land identified as potentially contaminated with mines and explosive remnants,” the Commission said.

The € 8.5 million Commission support will follow a three-pronged approach:

nIt will support Sri Lankan policy makers, competent authorities and the security and judicial branches in their mission to prevent and respond to terrorist threats and attacks in a human rights compliant manner;

nIt will focus on the prevention of violent extremism and will support relevant local stakeholders to develop and disseminate positive awareness raising campaigns, notably via partnerships with global social media actors;

nIt will contribute to the last stages of mine clearance in the three northern districts of Sri Lanka, and focus on peacebuilding to reinforce national cohesion and reconciliation.

(FT)

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