Right to Life Human Rights Centre (R2L), is a civil society organization aiming to promote and strengthen fundamental human rights, through providing legal and financial assistance to seek social justice. The organization started as “We in the Zone” in 1992 working on labour issues of employee of the Katunayake Free-trade Zone. Awareness was provided to employees on labour laws and regulations, and how to acquire justice through the legal framework.
Having re-registered organization as “Right to Life” in November 2002, the scope was expanded within human rights based on the trajectory of the country to include police torture, disappearances, health negligence and other Fundamental Rights violations on behalf of the victims and their families.
Human rights violations occur primarily due to the lack of legal awareness. Accordingly, the organization focuses on human rights training programs, seminars and workshops for vulnerable communities in the country to safeguard them from future victimization. Thereafter Human Rights Defenders are built up at grass-root level.
A network of the civil society organization called “Platform for Freedom” and “Veediye Virodaya” were formed in 2009 and 2014 respectively to address the grave politic context within Sri Lanka. “Platform for Freedom” mainly focused on the themes of Right to Speech and Right to Life. “Veediye Virodaya” focuses on the educating the public on reforms. After the elections in 2015 Right to Life with the civil society who stood for the democratic rights and made up a coalition called “62 lakhs in alert” and also the moment which pushes for the new constitution is also known as “National Movement for New Constitution” (NMNC).
In 2011 & 2016 R2L led the initiative to prepare an alternative Joint UNCAT report consisting of several civil society organizations on torture, extra judiciary killings and disappearance. This report is a collective output of the Sri Lankan NGO’s Collective against Torture and which is initiated and maintained by Right to Life with 20 national civil society organizations.
Apart from this Right to Life closely works with Independent Commissions and National Institutions such as Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, National Police Commission, Right to Information Commission, Ministry of Law and Order, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Foreign affairs.
Right to Life works in fifteen districts, Gampaha, Hambanthota, Matara, Puttalam, Kurunegala, Galle, Anuradhapura, Mannar, Vavuniya, Jaffna, Badulla, Monaragala, Nuwara Eliya, Colombo and Trincomalee collaborating with Human Rights Defender Groups (HRDG), civil society and other Non-Governmental Organizations with similar interests.