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Expression of concern over deepening crisis in Sri Lanka

20 January 2006

Letter to Hon. Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka, 20 January, 2006



Your Excellency,

The World Council of Churches expresses its grave concern over the deepening
crisis affecting the Sri Lankan nation and people as a result of the recent escalation
of armed violence all over the country. The cease-fire agreement and the peace talks
between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam
had provided joy and hope to the people, after over two decades of conflict in which
over 64,000 people lost their lives. The international community welcomed this
development with enthusiasm and promised aid and assistance for reconstruction,
rehabilitation and development. The World Council of Churches and its members
all over the world were heartened to see the peace process unfold and people begin
to lead normal lives in a secure and stable environment.

We are, however, dismayed and concerned with the recent lethal escalation of
armed violence particularly in the North and the East. It is feared if the rapidly
deteriorating situation is not brought under immediate control, it is likely to
result in another long- drawn war in which many more people may perish and
hopes of peace and development suffer a major setback detrimental to the people
of Sri Lanka.

The World Council of Churches supports the recent call of the heads of churches
in Sri Lanka to Your Excellency and all the leaders of political parties and the
leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam "to take immediate steps to stop
this spiral of violence and in the name of our common humanity to announce
their stand and action they propose taking". The call further states: "Since this
will only bring interim relief we also urge them (the leaders) to address the location
stalemate and sit at the peace talks without delay." The World Council of
Churches supports the call of the heads of churches and the National Christian
Council of Sri Lanka and appeals to Your Excellency to urgently respond to the
desire of the majority of the people of Sri Lanka who long for an effective ceasefire
and a just and lasting peace.

The World Council of Churches remains firmly committed to prayer and action
in support of peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

Yours sincerely,

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General Secretary