People's Action for Free and Fair Elections (PAFFREL) started in 1987 to fill what they saw as a crucial gap that had arisen in Sri Lankan civil society organisations. Ensuring a free and a fair election is the basis for a democratic country. PAFFREL is based on the notion that for a political solution to ethnic conflict, the political structure of the country and its election process has to be transparent and fair. There was hardly any impartial civil society mechanism in practice to ensure the fairness of elections and therefore, PAFFREL filled this gap with its extensive volunteer network spread throughout the country.
With over 15,000 volunteers coming from its allied civil society organisations, PAFFREL monitors elections from the local government to the presidential. PAFFREL see themselves as performing an important role as impartial monitors, to the strengthening and expanding democracy in Sri Lanka.
PAFFREL also has community level citizen’s committees with whom they work, educating them with political awareness and protecting their voting rights as a way of making themselves heard. This process, of being fairly represented and transparency in the governance, is seen by PAFFREL as imperative for sustainable peace in Sri Lanka between different ethnic and religious communities as well as political groups.