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Senseless Killings and the Sanctity of Life
A statement by the Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo, on the recent massacre of innocent children
CEYLON 080131-1
January 31, 2008

[The Church of Ceylon (E-P) - Ceylon] The claymore bomb that allegedly killed nine children and three adults and injured many more near Pallamadu in the Mannar District is another tragic episode in our recent history of family violence. As is the practice, both sides now engage in allegations and counter-allegations. All have lost credibility, but the people and immediate circles around the perpetrators know the truth. Whoever is responsible, this dastardly act will be condemned by all peace loving Sri Lankans.

I extend the condolences and assurance of prayers of our clergy and congregations to the families of all who grieve . May Christ the light of the world transform your darkness, bring you grace and encourage you to transform the darkness in our land.

While even accidental killings of civilians cannot be condoned, this senseless culture of deliberate killing of the innocents is a judgement on all Sri Lankans, those who endorse them and those who remain silent.

What is most worrying is that these targeted massacres of innocent children and adults have now become part of this continuing and senseless war. Those responsible for planning these acts have lost all sense of the sanctity of life and the right to life of the very people whose dignity and freedom they claim they are fighting to protect. When such values determine our journey towards freedom and peace the people have a right to disagree and call for change.

It is sad that the GoSL and the LTTE have not responded positively to the repeated requests of Bishop Rayappu Joseph of Mannar to declare the area around the Madhu Church a peace zone. Had this daunting concept received the co-operation of both sides, civilian casualties in this area would have been reduced. We would also have demonstrated the ability to respect and protect life.

I understand and empathise with the trauma that incidents like these cause indefatigable peace loving leaders like Bishop Rayappu. I wish to support and identify with his appeal for a peace zone and urge the GoSL and the LTTE to reconsider this request, no matter how late in the day. Some success here will be a big step forward towards trust building and a negotiated settlement.

The Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera
Bishop of Colombo
31st January 2008