” A big role is thrust into the hands of the Church in this post war period. The time is indeed opportune for the Church to position or brand itself in the important and urgent task of healing a wounded nation. It is time to strengthen our own belief that the Church can play a meaningful role in this process”. This was said by Rev Fr George Sigamoney, National Director of Caritas Sri Lanka SEDEC at the launch of a new Caritas publication titled ‘ Guidebook on human rights from the religious perspective’. The book was released at the inauguration ceremony of a 10-day Peace Building Training Workshop organised by Caritas Sri Lanka for around 40 participants from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

” The Church has the distinguishing feature of having Tamils and Sinhalese as its members” Fr Sigamoney pointed out. ” There are hardly any Tamil Buddhists or Sinhala Hindus, and this alone places the Church in a unique position to constantly move forward towards reconciliation and healing. Though we have known this fact for a long time, now is the moment to translate our knowledge into action and chart a new course through serious re-thinking. We have to re-invent ourselves. We have to re-imagine new possibilities in our approach to the important issues at hand. Otherwise, we will fail the nation at this most crucial hour when it is struggling to its feet after many decades of hurting itself and its people”.

The Caritas National Director expressed his gratitude to the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) which funded the new publication on human rights and to Equitas – International Centre for Human Rights Education, Canada which had provided the initial training that not only led to a similar Training of Trainers (TOT) program for religious leaders in Colombo but also resulted in this book.