The general secretary to the World Council of Churches released a “letter of solidarity” to the Sri Lankan churches in trying to end to damaging confrontational politics, Friday, Nov. 7. Address to the member and affiliate churches of the WCC, the Rev. Dr. Konrad assured “continuing prayers and support” for the “work for peace and reconciliation” in the struggling nation.
The following is the complete letter to the churches.
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
We have received with concern news of recent developments in Sri Lanka. The temporary suspension of Parliament and the take-over of the Ministries of defence, interior and information by President Chandrika Kumaratunga has created an air of uncertainty in the country. The military has been deployed and its personnel are patrolling the city and are guarding key government institutions to prevent any untoward incident and maintain law and order. These developments and the declaration of emergency have not only plunged the country into a political crisis, but also have imperilled the fragile peace process.
The action taken by President Chandrika Kumaratunga, while Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe was on an official visit to the United States, is likely to further polarise and increase tension between the two. This does not bode well for the country. If the political crisis continues, it will set back the country’s economy that is just beginning to recover after years of stagnation because of the long drawn ethnic conflict. The headway made by the government in peace negotiations with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam will also suffer.
As you are aware, the World Council of Churches over a long period of time has followed closely and deeply the developments of Sri Lanka since the escalation of the ethnic conflict in mid-1983. The peace process provides a sign of hope and much needed respite to the people of Sri Lanka. It is therefore important that the cease-fire agreement reached between the government and the LTTE in February 2002 holds and that there is no resumption of hostilities. It is encouraging that the President has lifted the emergency and set at rest fears of the erosion of the rule of law. We remain hopeful now that the Prime Minister has returned to the country that the differences between the two will soon be resolved in an amicable manner so both can together work for peace and reconciliation and for the well-being of the people.
As people of Sri Lanka go through this crucial historical period, we wish to express our solidarity with the churches there in their concern to put an end to confrontational politics that has already done so much damage to the country.
We assure you of our continuing prayers and support as you work for peace and reconciliation in Sri Lankan society.
May our Lord’s blessings be with you all.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Dr Konrad Raiser