Asia Evangelical Alliance (AEA) welcomes the Sri Lankan Government’s decision to stop combat operations in the northern part of the island.
A statement released by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa's office on Monday announced that the combat operations in the northern parts of the island have concluded and security forces have been instructed to end the use of heavy calibre guns, combat aircraft and aerial fire.
"The Government of Sri Lanka has decided that combat operations have reached their conclusion. Our security forces have been instructed to end the use of heavy calibre guns, combat aircraft and aerial fire, which could cause civilian casualties,” said the statement.
It further read, "Our security forces will confine their attempts to rescuing civilians who are held hostage and give foremost priority to saving the civilians."
The Sri Lankan government has so far resisted all calls to halt an offensive that is now on the brink of wiping out the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, once one of the most feared guerrilla organisations in the world.
Sri Lanka's military success has come at a huge cost to civilians, rights groups say, with the UN estimating as many as 6 500 non-combatants may have been killed and another 14,000 wounded in the fighting so far this year.
AEA urges the church across the globe to continue to remember Sri Lanka in prayer:
To pray that the LTTE and the government of Sri Lanka will cease hostilities, respect international humanitarian norms, safeguard passage for the evacuation of civilians, and take every effort to minimize civilian casualties by making safety zones and Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps truly safe and widely known.
To support humanitarian efforts to ensure that there is food and medical care available to the civilian populations, as well as to support the full provision of comprehensive services wherever civilians are located.
To pray that internationally accepted standards of protection and care are carried out within IDP camps, including the freedom of movement to civilians and access of outside aid agencies to the civilians in the camps and among other displaced communities.
Rev. Dr. Richard Howell General Secretary Asia Evangelical Alliance New Delhi, India
GeneralJune 23, 2021
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