May 07, Colombo: In an open letter to the government, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Sri Lanka (CBCSL) has urged the government to do all that is in its power to seriously look at the recommendations made by the Lesson Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) and not let the valuable opportunity for permanent reconciliation pass by.
The open letter signed by the Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith and Bishop Norbert M. Andradi says that although no document can meet all the expectations and answer the needs of everyone, the LLRC Report, particularly its recommendations, contains much potential and hope for the future and therefore, it needs to be considered seriously.
"We believe that it still does provide the nation with a good basis and a point of departure for the challenging and arduous task of national reconciliation," the reverend bishops wrote.
Speaking to the BBC Tamil service, the Bishop of Mannar, Rayappu Joseph has said that the CBCSL made the request openly since the government seems to have no clear interest in implementing the recommendations made by its own commission.
"Until the government accepts the truth there cannot be any progress in reconciliation," Bishop Joseph has said adding that the government need to initiate reconciliation with a clear dedication.
The CBCSL has urged the government to implement the recommendations as early as possible and come up with "some symbolic gestures and acts that would lead the nation towards harmony and reconciliation."
Among the measures urged by the bishops' conference for the government to seriously address are the issues of language, disarming of illegal armed groups, addressing the "painful issue" of missing persons and present a list of those who are still in custody.
The Bishops have also urged the government to appoint a responsible body of persons who would carefully monitor the intended process of implementation.