|CBEU welcomes cessation of hostilities
The Ceylon Bank Employees Union (CBEU) welcomes the cessation of hostilities between the government forces and the LTTE and notes that it has afforded some measure of relief to the working people and the common masses who have been suffering unimaginable hardships for nearly two decades due to the war which has been ravaging the country since 1983, says a press release.
Our union has consistently and earnestly campaigned for the ending of the war. We have passed unanimous resolutions at our delegates conferences consecutively for the past several years on the basis of which we have made fervent appeals to the parties to the conflict to stop the war and arrive at a negotiated political settlement. We have been doing so because we are all too aware that it is mainly the working people and the common masses, be they Sinhala, Tamil or Muslim, who have to pay the price of the war.
It is not our intention to comment on the technicalities or the contents of the MOU. We only call upon the parties concerned to honestly and genuinely commit themselves to the agreement and call a halt to the war once and for all.
Another fact which we wish to stress here is that the Sir Lankan electorate has, time and again emphatically demonstrated that it is not driven by rabid communalism and yearns to live in communal harmony. There is sufficient evidence of this fact in our recent political history. After the pogrom of July 1983 and the mayhem that followed for a decade, the people took the first opportunity which presented itself in 1994 to vote the Peoples Alliance into power which gave a solemn undertaking to end the ethnic war. Again in 1995, President Chandrika Kumarat-unga was elected to office with a resounding majority on a firm pledge to stop the war. There was tremendous jubilation among the people in the south as well as the north and east in the belief that the war would at long last be brought to an end. However, despite many rounds of abortive discussions and more destruction, the carnage continued. So in December 2001, the people once again elected the present government headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickrem-esinghe, relying on the pre-election undertaking that a political settlement to the conflict would be found. These events clearly prove that the overwhelming majority of the ordinary people of this country are sick of communal politics and wish to live in harmony with each other irrespective of the ethnic group to which they belong. We sincerely hope that all parties concerned will pay heed to this fact and genuinely commit themselves to honour the peoples mandate.
In this connection, it is pertinent to mention that causes of conflicts, whether ethnic or otherwise, emanate from social disparities, discriminations, denial of equal opportunities and the exploitation of the less privileged by a privileged few. It is therefore the duty of the authorities concerned to make use of the respite provided by the cessation of hostilities to immediately address those issues in the north, east as well as the south in order to eliminate the causes which lead to such holocausts.
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