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Bishops take up burning issues with President

2013 Aug 30

Weliweriya violence, northern land allocation, plight of migrant workers, religious harmony, prisoners’ woes etc discussed

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference has urged President Mahinda Rajapaksa to duly punish all those who perpetrated violence against the civilians at Weliweriya.

Stressing that steps should be aken to ensure that such acts will not be repeated, the bishops have requested the President to publish the relevant commission reports, without delay.

A press release from the Catholic Bishops’

Conference said.

The release said: "A meeting between the Catholic Bishops’ Conference and President Mahinda Rajapaksa took place on Wednesday (22) at Temple Trees. A lively discussion on a series of important and urgent issues ensued.

1. The Weliweriya incident was highlighted and the need to implement justice and due punishment to all those who perpetrated violence against the civilians as well as proper redress to be made and steps to ensure that such acts are never repeated. The Bishops also requested the President to publish the relevant commission reports, without delay.

2. The issue on land alienation in the Northern Peninsula and other such areas for security purposes was reviewed and concerns expressed.

3. The issue about the plight of Migrant workers and their rights and that proper legislation to ensure that the Sri Lankan Government and Authorities, in countries where these workers labour, take steps to recognize and uphold the dignity and rights of these workers, was also taken up.

4. Questions pertaining to the religious education of children were also discussed.

5. The need to either prosecute or release the prisoners kept in jail without trial for a period of time, especially those kept under the PTA and the emergency laws was also discussed.

6. The question of Inter Religious harmony and the role of the minorities in Nation Building as well as the announced visit of His Holiness Pope Francis to Sri Lanka were also discussed.

7. The Catholic Bishops’ Conference thanked the President and others present for receiving them cordially and listening to their apprehensions and suggestions.

The meeting ended on a cordial note with some indications on how to resolve some of these issues, which would be taken up for further study and discussion." 

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