.- At the end of his general audience today, Pope Benedict XVI noted that, six months after the end of a civil war, Sri Lanka is on the road to recovery. However, he continued, there is still much work to be done.
Sri Lanka has been torn by an armed conflict between the government and a rebel group, the Tamil Tigers, for the last 27 years. The conflict finally ended in May and authorities are taking steps to ensure that the displaced refugees, many of whom are Tamils from the north, are returned to their homes.
The Pope strongly encouraged “an acceleration in this process” and requested “all citizens to work towards rapid pacification in full respect for human rights, and towards a just political solution to the challenges still facing the country.”
Earlier in the year, the Archbishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka, Oswald Gomis commented on the situation in his country, saying “We have to realize the fact that we are a multi-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural community. As such we are now left with the great task of nation-building, forgetting our ethnic, political and religious differences.”
Pope Benedict concluded, saying, “I trust, moreover, that the international community will strive to meet the humanitarian and economic needs of Sri Lanka, and I raise my prayers to Our Lady of Madhu, that she may continue to watch over that beloved land.”