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Hope Still, as Intimidation and Violence Worsens
A Statement by the Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo
CEYLON 071206-1
December 6, 2007

[The Church of Ceylon (E-P) - Ceylon] It is with deep sorrow and anguish that most Sri Lankans observe the worsening trends of intimidation and violence in the country.

The recent arrest and detention of Tamils in very large numbers is both arbitrary and discriminatory. That it will further divide us does not seem to matter to those who carry a mandate from the people for good governance. While most endorse the need for efficient security measures in today's context, the dignity of all Sri Lankans and the least amount of inconvenience and harassment to all Sri Lankans must be ensured. Some steps taken by the Minister of Human Rights and Disaster Management in this direction must be commended, but the co-operation of several authorities is necessary if we are to rise above discriminatory attitudes and actions.

The bus bomb that killed fifteen innocent civilians at Abimanapura yesterday is a sad expression of hatred and intolerance. This is seemingly the work of the LTTE and must be condemned by all peace-loving Sri Lankans. The killing of civilians in the struggles of power politics is a despicable act and must stop.

I offer the condolences and prayers of the clergy and congregations of our Church to the grieving relatives and loved ones of the deceased. May God ease your sorrow and absorb your tears.

Such human suffering and humiliation are the consequences of the war policies and strategies of the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE. Today our national life is so grim that as never before all peace-loving persons of all ethnic communities and civil society and religious leaders must engage in ceaseless and concerted initiatives towards peace and an end to this senseless violence, intimidation and social fragmentation.

I call upon the Government and the LTTE even at this late stage to stop fighting and work for a negotiated settlement that will free us from further suffering and inevitable self-destruction. May we even now come to our senses and serve the people.

With Peace and Blessings to all.

The Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera
Bishop of Colombo
6th December 2007