I join all peace loving Sri Lankans to condemn unreservedly the dastardly acts of violence that occurred since this morning in several leading Christian churches all over the country and in Hotels in Colombo.
My heartfelt sympathies go out to the families of those who lost lives, even while they were peacefully at worship, on this holiest of days for Christians -Easter Sunday, as well as to all the others. I wish a speedy recovery to the injured.
It is clear that this is a well-organised operation to create chaos in a country that is painfully returning to Peace and economic recovery. The guilty must be sought out and punished, without delay, whatever their status.
I call upon all my brothers and sisters not to be provoked by these events, however difficult and painful it may prove, and to maintain the Unity, Brotherhood and Peace we have built for each other, irrespective of all differences, during the past few years.
We must resolve to reject violence and extremism in all its forms and adopt the weapon of understanding, reconciliation and love. It is one that is not in the armoury of the extremist and hence cannot be defeated by him.
Let us demonstrate that we Sri Lankans have the strength to rise above the ugly hatred and the violence of the weak, in order that we continue on the path of rebuilding a Strong and Prosperous country.
I wish to announce as Chair of ONUR that we will immediately set up Peace Committees all over the country with the participation of representatives of all communities, to engage in maintaining peace and harmony among all.
Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga
Former President of Sri Lanka
Chair, Office for National Unity and Reconciliation.
Read more about the World Leadership Alliance - Club de Madrid's work in preventing violent extremism.