Japan Supports to Ensure Free and Fair General Election




  The Government of Japan has decided to provide a grant aid worth US$ 47,019 (approximately Rs.8.5 million) for “The Project for Sustaining Democratization through the Implementation of Free and Fair Election in Sri Lanka” under its Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) with a view to supporting the activities of the People’s Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) for the upcoming general elections on August 5. The Grant Contract was signed between Mr. Kitamura Toshihiro, Charge d’ Affaires ad interim, the Embassy of Japan and Mr. Rohana Hettiarachchi, Executive Director, PAFFREL on July 22, 2020 at the Ambassador’s residence in Colombo.
  This project will contribute to encouraging the people of Sri Lanka to exercise their franchise in a free and fair manner under the global pandemic of COVID-19. Japan, as a long-standing friend, reiterates its solidarity to Sri Lanka in its combat against COVID-19 and has extended its support to PAFFREL to facilitate the consolidation of democracy in the country.
  PAFFREL, as a leading local election monitoring organization, will carry out election-related activities in a neutral manner under this project. The project includes training programmes for 460 election observers to be deployed in each polling and counting station nationalwide. Furthermore, the voter education will be conducted through multimedia platforms such as TV, new papers, and radio. Japan hopes this electoral assistance through PAFFREL would reach to the people at the grass-roots level and ensure inclusive political participation of all citizens.
  Commenting on the provision of this grant, PAFFREL stated;
“PAFFREL is the premier election observing organization in Sri Lanka and has continually observed all elections for the past 30 years. PAFFREL deploys nearly 5,000 Election observers, who represent country wide civil society groups and activists. This is in order to reduce the instances of violations and ensure that elections can take place in a free and fair environment and ensure that all voters can exercise their franchise freely.
  On the other hand PAFFREL continues to work on protecting voter rights and advocates for clean politics for upholding good governance and democracy. While this is a continuous process, it is also done through its voter education programs. Given the restricted mobility and physical distancing practices due to COVID-19 outbreak, where group discussions and meetings to be avoided, PAFFREL has restrategized its education program via social media, print media, Radio and Television.
  PAFFREL is fulfilling its role, responsibly and effectively over the past thirty years and have won the confidence of the people. This has been possible primarily due to the enormous support extended by the people of Sri Lanka, and the support from the donors. PAFFREL acknowledges with gratitude the generous support by the Government of Japan for the last two decades to carry out our task.”