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Bishop Expresses Condolences on Assassination of Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister
by the Right Rev. Duleep de Chickera
 
CEYLON 050814-1
August 14, 2005

A Condolence Message on the death of the Hon Lakshman Kadirgamar

[The Church of Ceylon (E-P) - Ceylon] Sri Lanka has lost another of her noble sons to the assassinís bullet. The Hon Lakshman Kadirgamar was an outstanding intellectual and political statesman of our country and a person of integrity and honour. His contributions to the political, legal, religious and social debates in Sri Lanka and abroad were characterised by their clarity, dignity and conviction. His assassination at this juncture is not only an irreparable loss to the nation but also a serious set back to those who were yearning for a negotiated political settlement on the ethnic question with peace, dignity and justice for all.

An analysis of the Hon Kadirgamarís immense contribution to the life of our nation must await a later date. But it is sufficient to mention now that he will go down in history as perhaps the ablest of the Foreign Ministers we have had since independence. He served our national interests with distinction and promoted professionalism in diplomacy and international relations. On the domestic scene, I am aware that his wisdom and judgement were greatly valued in the Cabinet, in Parliament and outside. He took an unequivocal stand for justice and fairness on all issues. Before he entered the political scene, he was an outstanding lawyer whose interventions in civil cases earned the respect of the Bar and the Bench.

The Hon Kadirgamar had a brilliant career as a scholar, sportsman and student leader at Trinity College Kandy and later at Oxford University. Sri Lanka was fortunate that he brought these qualities of discipline, values and leadership into his life as a politician. As an ethnic Tamil, he had the courage to take a principled stand on justice for the minorities in our country whilst speaking out openly against acts of terror. The Hon Kadirgamar is only the latest in a long line of ethnic Tamils who have been assassinated because they took a position different from that of their assassins. It is never too late for all Sri Lankans to take a courageous and principled stand on this and to commit the destinies of our communities and of our country to pluralism, dialogue and a willingness to accommodate dissent. There is no other way we can move forward.

We mourn with his family, with the President and with our people the loss of a man of peace, ideals and sincerity. May his soul rest in Peace and our country experience the peace that we all long for.

The Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera
Bishop of Colombo