STATEMENT by Dr. Amrith Rohan Perera, Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the UN
We have been devastated by the tragic events on Easter morning – the holiest of Christian holidays, when eight bombs ripped through three churches and three large hotels among other locations, in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa, killing nearly three hundred souls and wounding over five hundred people. It is even more odious and abhorrent that such cowardly and despicable acts were perpetrated on Christians and civilians as they worshipped in church and celebrated Easter breakfast. This has been one of the deadliest and most widespread and coordinated suicide bomb attacks our motherland has suffered. Our hearts are broken as we weep with the families of the victims of this vile attack on Christians and civilians.
On behalf of my Mission I also take this opportunity to extend my sincere condolences and support to all the victims and their families and my brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka and abroad including foreign nationals, and to our mission staff many of whom are Christian and have family and friends back home.
We express our gratitude to the Secretary General of the United Nations, to the heads of UN Agencies, to Member States and to all our friends at the United Nations who have unreservedly and unequivocally condemned these heinous acts and pledged their support to the government of Sri Lanka. At this difficult time we lean on our friends in the international community.
Sri Lankans are a resilient people. We have gone through decades of violent conflict and political strife and each time we have emerged stronger and more determined. This too we will ride out bravely.
Indeed, it is a time for unity, and we must remain vigilant of some extremist elements and opportunists who may try to use these tragic events for political gain. We ask expatriate Sri Lankans to use social media responsibly and with circumspect in order to prevent inadvertently spreading panic and mistrust, and to rather, use these tools to rally and support each other.
Be assured that the government of Sri Lanka has taken swift action to tighten security and that tri-force commanders and the inspector general of police have taken immediate action to ensure law and order in the country in order to protect all civilians.
Investigations are underway and the government has taken steps to temporarily block social media avenues to prevent speculative and mischievous attempts to spread rumors until investigations are concluded.
The government has declared a national day of mourning on 23 April 2019 and taken steps to declare 22 and 23 April as holidays for all government and private schools.
A condolence book is being maintained at the Mission open from 10:00am to 4:00pm for three days commencing 23rd April 2019. Additionally, a special memorial meeting for the UN based diplomatic community is scheduled for 24 April at 6:00 pm at the mission premises. (ENDS)