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Escalation of violence in Sri Lanka (January 2006)

20 January 2006

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 cease-fire 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