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Sunday, September 26, 2021

Easter Sunday Attacks in Sri Lanka: Govt actions ad hoc; Appoint a Truth Commission  – NPC

The second year anniversary of the Easter bombings that primarily targeted Christian churches took place last month with the motivations and masterminds of the bombing still shrouded in mystery. Despite many inquiries that have been held during the terms of the previous and present governments, there continues to exist a dark cloud of unknowing which is leading to various speculations gaining ground, which add to the considerable mistrust in society.

The government, religious organisations and donors have given considerable material support to the victims that has sustained them in different ways. However, their quest for truth and justice still remains unfulfilled.

The Catholic Church in particular, its clergy and laity, in the areas where the churches were bombed, have mobilized on repeated occasions in public to demand the truth and to seek justice for the victims while in churches elsewhere there is routine remembrance and praying for the victims and their families.

The search for truth and justice for loved ones will continue as it is a perennial part of the human condition which cannot be suppressed. This is evident also in the ongoing demands for truth and justice in the North and East of the country where the three decade long war took place and thousands still remain missing and unaccounted for.

There will be no closure to the victims and the thousands left behind by them until their cries are heard and responded to in a meaningful manner.

With the passing of the second year since the Easter bombing, the government has come under pressure to show results in throwing light or in apprehending those responsible for the attack. In recent weeks there have been a flurry of arrests, including Muslim civil society and political leaders who appear to have had peripheral engagements with the suicide bombers and who have not been previously accused of being engaged in terrorist activities themselves.

In this context while the arrests demonstrate considerable activity on the part of the government, they appear ad hoc and do not address the question of motivations and direct culpability in the crime.

The National Peace Council calls on the government to take actions that win back the confidence of those who have been victims of violence and untruth in all parts of the country down the decades and thereby preserve the moral fabric that can unify the country. A truth commission could be an effective mechanism in this regard. Such additions to the country’s social capital, of which trust is a most important component, will enable countries that voted for the UN Human Rights Council resolution to engage more meaningfully with the development initiatives of the government.

( Press Release by NPC 29.04.21)

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