Jul 29, 2018

New resolution on inter-religious reconciliation


The National Inter-Religious Committee for Building Reconciliation, under the guidance of the National Peace Council (NPC), has presented a resolution with recommendations to address issues faced by the communities of the 16 Districts represented by the District Inter-Religious Committees.
The resolution was presented at a symposium conducted at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) last 24th 
The event was attended by Former President and Chairperson of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation, Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumarathunge, Minister of National Integration and Reconciliation and Official Languages, Mano Ganesan, German Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Jorn Rohde, Founder of Savrodaya, A.T. Ariyarathne, national reconciliation officers, Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Muslim religious leaders, representatives of the NPC, the National Inter-Religious Committee for Building Reconciliation and the District Inter-Religious Committees.
The resolution hopes to promote non-discrimination based on ethnicity, language or religion, respect for human and democratic rights, and the creation of a brotherhood inclusive all majority and minority ethnic and religious communities.
Addressing the gathering, Ven. Prof. Pallekande Rathanasara Thera said that no Buddhist monk should condone harming another person of a different faith or ethnicity. Rather they should learn to treat people with compassion, he noted.
“Religion is like air. It has no master and is not restrained by geography. Only people who pursue personal interests create disharmony amongst the public and hinder the bringing of peace.”
In his address, Rohde said that, Germany has learned the importance of reconciliation since the two world wars. He further said that intolerance was what resulted in the rioting in Kandy, in March. Hence it is necessary to stop using words like ‘us’ and ‘them’ and use the word ‘we’ instead, he added.
Kumaratunge also stressed that disputes among ethnic groups are prompted as a result of favouritism and a one sided discourse.
Ganesan said that the Government would not allow terrorists and racists to raise their heads in this country. He further admitted that no Government is perfect. “I have made room for a constructive discourse and allowed the Police and the judiciary to act independently. The Government is taking action to train public officials as Information Technology proficient language specialists and translators to be appointed to Government offices. And those who are bilingual would be given preference when officers are appointed.”
Ariyarathne said that due to the political party culture, no Government has been able to go in the right direction.

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