'Use war report,' say religious leaders
Implementing its recommendations is 'essential for lasting peace'
Congress of Religions in Colombo yesterday
Religious leaders urged the government yesterday to implement the recommendations of a report on the civil war that finished in 2009. Buddhist, Christian, Islamic and Hindu representatives met for a press conference of the Congress of Religions and agreed that implementing the recommendations of the report is essential for a lasting peace in the country. Buddhist monk, Venerable Professor Bellanvila Wimalarathana Thero, said that according to the findings of the report there is serious erosion of the rule of law, freedom of expression and media freedom, and there is undue interference with the supposedly independent judiciary and police. “The government should establish an independent judiciary and ensure a society free from violence as recommended by the [report] commission,” said Thero. "The government must urgently implement the recommendations in order prevent another ethnic war. The findings of the commission meet the requirements of our people and provide solutions to our problems and are not to please the UN, EU or any foreign nation," he said. Thero stressed the need to immediately resettle all Tamil, Sinhala and Muslim communities who were internally displaced during the war and send them back to their original lands. Sri Lanka's military in May 2009 defeated Tamil Tiger rebels who had fought for a separate state from the northern and eastern parts of the country. Islamic priest M S M Thassim said that, as recommended by the war report, arriving at a political solution to the ethnic problem while addressing the grievances of the minority Tamil community and being fair to other communities is essential to bring a lasting peace. Catholic priest Father Mervin Fernando said that the report highlighted the need to come to a political solution to address the genuine grievances of the people. Cabinet spokesman and media minister Keheliya Rambukwella said the government will implement the report.