The Harmony Act for Religious, Racial, Ethnic and Civil Harmony in Sri Lanka is a white paper developed by an independent body of civil society comprising Sri Lankan nationals from private and business sector alike, representing the four ethnic denominations of Sri Lanka.
In the wake of the Aluthgama riots (2014), the Digana Riots (2018) and lastly the horrific events which unfolded on the 21st April 2019, this collective of Sri Lankan civilians concluded that a pragmatic initiative was called for on the part of Sri Lanka civil society, in the absence of dynamic political leadership, to arrive at workable solutions to quell with immediate effect, the rising levels of hate speech and fear mongering in Sri Lanka.
The Harmony Act for Religious, Racial, Ethnic and Civil Harmony in Sri Lanka, also known as the Harmony Act (HA) is modelled upon the Maintenance of Religious Harmony Act of Singapore (Chapter 167A), enacted in 1990 and revised in 2001. The white paper has captured the spirit and regulatory guidelines of the Singaporean Act whilst ensuring the sensitivities of all Sri Lankans i.e. Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Catholic and other peoples, are met whilst doing so.
The authors of the HA have taken this initiative in the spirit of what they feel would be a step in the right direction towards long-lasting peace and harmony in Sri Lanka.
It must be said though that this white paper is not a final solution nor a final draft in terms of debate or deliberation. This is the first of many long steps to be taken. It is a process which the authors invite all to be a part of.
It is the ardent hope of the authors of the Harmony Act that legislators of Sri Lanka would take this white paper forward and use it in any manner they see fit to bring about lasting peace to our beloved country.
In their wisdom, in the will of the people and in the power of all the deities we worship, we pray and hope for a better future for our children.