Sri Lanka’s National Chamber Commerce and several other organizations representing the private sector of the country have issued a statement strongly condemning communal violence in Beruwala, Aluthgama, Dharga Town and several other areas in the country. National Chamber of Commerce of Sri Lanka, Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka (FCCISL), Chamber of Young Lankan Entrepreneurs (COYLE), International Chamber of Commerce Sri Lanka (ICCSL), Joint Apparel Association Forum (JAAF), National Chamber of Exporters of Sri Lanka, the Ceylon National Chamber of Industries and the Ceylon Chamber of Commerce (CCC) have jointly issued the statement condemning communal violence.
The statement strongly urges the law enforcement agencies to prosecute all those who incited and perpetrated communal violence in Aluthgama and elsewhere and to act immediately and impartially to maintain peace as well as law and order.
The full statement issued by them is as follows,
“The recent events in Aluthgama and elsewhere have caused much concern. In this connection we welcome the President’s decision to appoint a high level panel to inquire into the disturbances. We urge that the Panel comprises eminent personalities, its task be time bound and its recommendations acted upon. We are encouraged by the call of the President for a culture that “respects and tolerates each other’s views whilst joining hands like the children of one mother”. Swift action by the Government to ban public rallies and to introduce hate speech prevention legislation is laudable.
In this context we urge all Sri Lankans to reflect on the following:
- It is just five years since our Country found peace after a prolonged conflict that lasted almost 30 years. This conflict led to much bloodshed, suffering and destruction. At the origins of this conflict was a lack of trust and a failure to forge a common Sri Lankan identity. The efforts of the President and the Government in restoring peace should not be allowed to be squandered by religious or ethnic conflict.
- Since restoring peace, the Government has taken many steps to stabilize and develop the economy. All economic indicators are positive. Public investment in infrastructure such as roads, ports, airports and power generation in all parts of the country has been unprecedented. Tourism has also boomed. Violence and unrest will reverse these gains. The impact of such a reversal on incomes and cost of living of the people will be adverse.
- The recent events have received worldwide publicity damaging the image of our Country. The rule of law and decisive action to prevent civil strife and violence will enhance the credibility of our country.
Under the circumstances, we urge:
- The law enforcement agencies to prosecute all those who incited and perpetrated communal violence in Aluthgama and elsewhere and to act immediately and impartially to maintain peace as well as law and order.
- The authorities to enforce the rule of law impartially and prevent extremist elements from causing disharmony.
- Our fellow citizens to act with restraint, shun violence and respect each other’s religious and cultural beliefs and identities.
- Religious, political and civil society leaders to promote peace and harmony amongst all Sri Lankans.
- All citizens to think and act as one family, with a common vision for a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka.
We extend our fullest support and co-operation to the President and the Government as they seek to foster peace and harmony amongst our communities and call upon all Sri Lankans to strengthen the hand of the Government in this endeavor.
We re-iterate that our Country and her people suffered immensely as a result of a 30-year conflict. Let us now join hands as children of one mother and move forward towards a peaceful and prosperous Sri Lanka.”