A dangerous situation: Stop rhetoric & political dramas – Bishops’ Conference stresses
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka, which has conducted an extensive investigation into the breakdowns in all areas of the country, has issued a special announcement stating that the country is in a dangerous situation and has emphasized to the government to stop its rhetoric and political dramas and provide relief to the oppressed people.
Bishop of Kurunegala Harald Anthony Perera, President of the Conference and Bishop J.D. Anthony Jayakodi, the Secretary, have signed the announcement, which was issued on August 28.
The announcement urging the Sri Lankan authorities to think beyond their political ambitions and be instruments of political and social revival by holding free and fair elections states:
“The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka, assembled in plenary session, is expected to express its deep concern about the socio-economic and political situation in Sri Lanka and its impact on the daily life of the general public. That is because the people have been severely affected by the ever-increasing, unsustainable cost of living.
For that reason, many parents find it difficult to feed their children daily. Many struggling families settle for one meal a day. Many hospitals cannot meet the people’s health needs, and there is a severe shortage of medicines. We are deeply concerned about many people, especially the poor, who are unable to meet their health needs due to the increase in the number of qualified doctors who have left the country and are leaving, and often, because government hospitals are not adequately supplied with medicines and other medical equipment.
It appears that education is also in jeopardy. Children come to school without proper nutrition, proper clothing and the books and stationery they need. Parents are unable to fulfill the educational needs of their children. The rule of law has seriously broken down. Violent acts are increasing throughout the country. Murders occur almost daily, and the number of fatal road accidents due to drunken and careless driving has also increased.
In addition, there does not seem to be a clear vision to meet the urgent basic needs of the people. There is no price control of essential goods. Many people are on the verge of starvation. The immediate need should be to promote agriculture and other local products for the people’s livelihood. It is shocking to hear that many food items such as rice, eggs and coconut oil that can be produced in this country are being imported from abroad if incentives are given to the local farmers. There is no market price control.
In the face of this dangerous situation, we at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka earnestly request the authorities to put aside their rhetoric and political dramas and seriously consider the sad situation the people are facing. Then, the poor and oppressed people will be able to maintain their lives by meeting at least their basic needs.
Sri Lanka is a blessed land whose citizens and youth are educated and eager to be part of the country’s progress. Therefore, we must create a society where the dignity of everyone is appreciated and given value, peace, unity and independence of the judiciary, securing people’s participation in political life by holding free and fair elections, where democracy is truly expressed. We call upon our political leadership to become the instruments of such political and social revival and safeguard the dignity and rights of all sections of our society.
We call upon all Catholics to pray and work actively for such social transformations in our society.”