Church warns of 'foreign intervention' in Sri Lanka

11 December 2013 11:51 am - 10     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Catholic Church today warned Sri Lanka's government of foreign intervention unless it worked towards reconciliation and addressed allegations of war crimes during the war against Tamil separatists.

The AFP reported the Cardinal making the statement during a media briefing held this morning.

Malcolm Ranjith, the archbishop of Colombo, said he was urging President Mahinda Rajapakse and the main ethnic Tamil party to hammer out a political settlement or risk an international probe.

"Foreigners should not tell us what to do... We are not a pack of fools," the cardinal said. "But if we do not resolve these issues, then we open ourselves to foreign intervention."

Sri Lanka has resisted international calls to investigate allegations that up to 40,000 ethnic Tamil civilians were killed by security forces in the final months of fighting in 2009.

At a Commonwealth summit hosted by Colombo last month, Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron warned that he would push for an international inquiry under the auspices of the UN unless Sri Lanka ensures accountability by March.

In a pastoral letter, the church warned that failure on the part of Colombo to ensure accountability for alleged war crimes could trigger international investigations that will be a "serious threat to the sovereignty of the country".

Christians are a small minority in the mainly Buddhist country, but the Catholic church wields considerable influence over the government and Ranjith is regarded as close to Rajapakse.

Since the 37-year separatist war ended in May 2009, there have been no attacks blamed on the defeated Tamil Tiger guerrillas who fought for independence for the island's ethnic Tamil minority.

The cardinal said the majority Sinhalese and Tamils should ensure reconciliation and politicians on both sides should be flexible and hammer out a political power sharing deal.

In its 24-page letter, the church also asked the government to ensure accountability for politically-motivated killings going back four decades.

Up to 40,000 people were said to have been killed when the then government crushed a political uprising by mainly Sinhalese Marxists rebels in 1971. A second uprising by the Marxists between 1987 and 1990 is said to have claimed up to 60,000 lives.

The UN estimates that the Tamil conflict, which is unrelated to the two Sinhalese uprisings, had cost at least 100,000 lives between 1972 and 2009. (AFP)

  Comments - 10

  • sena Thursday, 12 December 2013 05:14 AM

    Is there any accountability of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings?

    Roshan Thursday, 12 December 2013 05:38 AM

    Yes, you also interfered in St. Joseph College cricket team selection.

    Mary Thursday, 12 December 2013 01:02 AM

    Very true.

    Sena killer Friday, 13 December 2013 02:41 AM

    Does your statement admit that many civilians were killed by the SL army? Do you justify the killings by comparing it with world war II?? think before making a statement!!

    ind Wednesday, 11 December 2013 01:27 PM

    internal enemies are the people who triggering the international interference. Seem like archbishop too join the party. It's very sad !

    Kiris Baba Amaray Thursday, 12 December 2013 02:52 AM

    You are correct, but our rulers should understand the facts and try to wipe the tears of the poor masses, but they are only concerned about their family prosperity, this is wrong.

    tony Thursday, 12 December 2013 07:25 AM

    IF THERE IS ANY FOREIGN INTERVENTION THE GOVT SHOULD TAKE RESPONSIBILITY AS THEY ARE UNDER OATH TO PROTECT THE COUNTRY AND ITS PEOPLE

    True Srilankan Thursday, 12 December 2013 07:50 AM

    Yes, Why don't you tell the rulers to implement the LLRC recommendations and also respect human rights law. Allow law to work without interference by rulers. Will they listen to you

    raj Thursday, 12 December 2013 02:27 PM

    koheda yanne malle pol kathawak

    Mason Wednesday, 11 December 2013 03:07 PM

    The politicians of the ruling party are not capable of listening to sound advice. The past proves this clearly. It is when the noose tightens that they prepare to act.


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