World Council of Churches - News Release
Contact: +41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363 firstname.lastname@example.org For immediate release - 05/09/2006 05:48:56 PM
WORLD CHURCHES' PLEA FOR SRI LANKA: "RESUME PEACE NEGOTIATIONS"
The central committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC) today called on the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam to respect the terms and conditions of the 2002 cease-fire agreement, put an immediate end to all hostilities and resume peace negotiations without future delay.
Central committee noted that the cease-fire agreement signed in February 2002, monitored by the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, comprised of representatives from the Nordic countries, has been collapsing since April 2006.
Meeting in Geneva, 30 August to 6 September, the central committee expressed its "deep concern at the widening rift between the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities and the lethal escalation of armed violence between the security forces of the government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam and the activities of the paramilitary groups."
Conflict in Sri Lanka has over the past 25 years claimed thousands of lives on both sides of the ethnic divide. Thousands of refugees have sought asylum abroad while many thousands are internally displaced. Around one thousand people, mostly innocent civilians, have been killed and many others injured.
The civilian population has been put through tremendous hardships due to summary executions, torture, illegal detentions, embargo on essential items and the forced recruitment of children.
Central committee condemned the intensification and escalation of military violence by the parties to the conflict and said it was "appalled by the breakdown of the peace process and the cease fire agreement achieved through years of hard negotiations".
Churches in Sri Lanka have provided cautious and critical support to the peace process, among other things through interreligious cooperative endeavours to mobilize people for peace and national reconciliation.
Central committee urged the ecumenical community "to remain in constant prayer for the people and churches of Sri Lanka and to accompany the sister churches in Sri Lanka, together with people of other faiths, to strengthen their efforts towards the restoration of peace and community integration in their war-torn country."
Full text of the "Statement on the conflict in Sri Lanka" ( http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/central-committee/geneva-2006/reports-and-documents/first-report-of-the-public-issues-committee.html#c10113 ) is available on the WCC website: http://www.oikoumene.org/en/resources/documents/central-committee/geneva-2006/reports-and-documents.html
More information on the WCC Central Committee meeting is available on the WCC website: http://www.oikoumene.org/en/events-sections/cc2006.html
Additional information: Juan Michel, +41 22 791 6153 +41 79 507 6363 email@example.com
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The World Council of Churches promotes Christian unity in faith, witness and service for a just and peaceful world. An ecumenical fellowship of churches founded in 1948, today the WCC brings together 348 Protestant, Orthodox, Anglican and other churches representing more than 560 million Christians in over 110 countries, and works cooperatively with the Roman Catholic Church. The WCC general secretary is Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, from the Methodist Church in Kenya. Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.