Report of the Living Letters team visit to Sri Lanka

3-13 August 2007

Download the full report of the visit to Sri Lanka (pdf, 331 Kb)


The programme of the ten-day visit:

The team traveled all across the country. After a briefing in Colombo from the General Secretary of the NCCSL and the Commission for Justice and Peace as well as the Centre for Policy Alternatives they traveled by road to Mannar and from there to Vaharai and Batticloa and back again to Colombo and Jaffna. In these visits they met with people at the grassroots, fisher folk, widows, human rights groups, NGOs, government agents, as well as interfaith and citizens committees. In each place their visits were organised by the local bishops and clergy working with the people. The remainder of the time they spent in Colombo to debriefing with church leaders and the NCC and meeting with government ministers, the Chief Buddhist Priest of the Belanwila Temple, members of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU which is the Buddhist monks led political party that has a strong influence on the government) and a UN official.

The Living Letters Team to Sri Lanka makes the following recommendations to the churches all over the world:

  • Bring Sri Lanka back to the forefront of the international efforts for peace making.
  • Empower the churches and affirm their role in building relations with other faith groups and in working for peace and reconciliation.
  • Help strengthen the efforts for inter-religious dialogue on peace. A specific proposal made was that the WCC help facilitate a dialogue between the Sri Lankan Buddhist priests and Buddhist priests from other Asian countries.
  • Identify for the people safe ways for the victims to voice out their experiences of violence - for example by facilitating their voices in the Human Rights Commission and other international fora.
  • Call on the international NGOs to continue to support the humanitarian situation, but to ensure that they work with the churches in the country, with the NCCSL, and their related organizations and with local NGOs in seeking long term solutions.
  • Bring pressure on the Sri Lankan government to restore the still relevant elements of the 2002 peace agreement and ensure their implementation; as well as put pressure on the government to re-invest and restart the peace talks.
  • Learn from the Sri Lankan context so as to strengthen the themes of the DOV and in the content of the Declaration on Just Peace.
  • Pray for the churches and people of Sri Lanka.

Read the full report for more details (see link on top).