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Bishop Duleep de Chickera
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The Killing of Civilians
A Statement by the Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo
CEYLON 071130-1
November 30, 2007

[The Church of Ceylon (E-P) - Ceylon] 
The recent spate of civilian massacres have demonstrated the extent to which today's perpetrators of violence are prepared to go to achieve their objectives. The deliberate killing of innocent civilians, including children, in a seemingly tit for tat sequence, is perhaps the most depraved expression of our inhumanity. No one has the right to take the life of another. Those responsible must one day be held accountable.

The present indications are that the Nugegoda parcel bomb that killed 19 and injured so many more was the work of the LTTE. The LTTE is also suspected of shelling the Roman Catholic mixed school near Mannar where a total of seven teachers and students were injured. Even though the Sri Lankan Government denies the allegation, the finger points to the work of a deep penetration group in the incident in which several (nine to thirteen) young women, mostly school girls were killed by a claymore mine attack at Ilenkerni in the LTTE controlled Vanni. Mystery continues to surround the ruthless killing of peasant farmers in Mahavilachchiya in the Anuradhapura District and Ranminitenne off Iissamaharama.

On behalf of the Clergy and Congregations of our Church I offer condolences and the assurance of our prayers to all who have suffered and to those who grieve the loss of precious loved ones. With the passage of time, may God bring a ray of light into your darkness and a glimpse of hope in your despair.

All these incidents are crimes against all humanity and must be condemned unreservedly by all Sri Lankans. Every such incident sows a few more seeds of hatred and strengthens the cycle of revenge in a terribly torn and divided Nation. To condemn the killing of those of our own ethnic group only, and remain silent when others are harmed, encourages the perpetrators of civilian violence and deepens our social wounds of grievance and distrust. I plead with one and all that the killing of even one more Sri Lankan is the killing of one too many.

It is when the worst is provoked in some that the best rises in the many. Consequently I appeal to the people of our country to remain calm and recommit themselves to build social trust. We must learn that any other response will judge us all and destroy us all. Our love for our country and our people leaves us with no other option but to overcome these seeds of revenge, violence and hatred with understanding, respect and compassion. Let us never grow tired of doing good and working for a better tomorrow for all. Let suffering and tragedy give rise to harmony and peace for our beloved Sri Lanka.

I also appeal to those on all sides who instruct and execute such senseless acts, to please respect the right to life of helpless civilians caught up in a vicious civil war and to strictly refrain from harming them.

With Peace and Blessings to all.

The Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera
Bishop of Colombo
30th November 2007