Aid must come with clear-cut conditions – Cardinal

Aid must come with clear-cut conditions – Cardinal

Aid must come with clear-cut conditions – Cardinal

Written by Zulfick Farzan

19 Aug, 2022 | 1:13 pm

COLOMBO (News 1st); Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has called on the International Community to deliver aid to Sri Lanka with clear-cut conditions so as to preserve democracy, the rule of law, honesty and safeguard human rights.

His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said that the country has suffered a serious erosion of democracy caused by three factors.

"The first one is the gradual deterioration of the rule of law and the interference of political leaders in the judiciary, which has made justice a non-issue for our people. So, we want that to be rectified. Secondly, the corruption levels of our political system are very high, and only a few people — or rather a few families — have been earning endlessly, while many families are in dire poverty. So, this corruption must stop, and an effective means of controlling it must set up. Thirdly, human rights violations are on the rise, and the more people protest, the more oppressive the governments have become. So, there are a lot of unanswered issues," he said.

His Eminence said he wants the international community to pressurize the Sri Lankan government to ensure that these errors are corrected and ask that aid be given to the island nation in a way that corruption doesn’t occur anymore.

"The problem with the country, of course, is much bigger, because of wrong policies and wrong economic management. The country has gone down a precipice. We are in the midst of a financial crisis, a serious financial crisis, where many people are unemployed or underemployed. As a result, they have no income for their families," he said.

On the debt front, His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said huge debts are to be paid to other countries for useless projects that had been promoted by the previous governments, more for personal enrichment than for the people’s development.

"These projects have caused a huge debt problem in the country and we don't know how to get out of it. So, the national income and the production capacity of the country has fallen so that we cannot pay our way through the basic needs of the people, like electricity, coal to run the power generators, and diesel and petrol needed by farmers, fishermen and other people to run their businesses," he added.

Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said he is grateful to Pope Francis for, taking the initiative to send 100,000 Euro to help families of victims and survivors of the 2019 Easter Sunday terror attacks.

"When I came to Rome and met His Holiness in February this year, he asked me about the welfare of these people, how they are faring and expressed his concern for their needs. So, on his own initiative, he asked me whether he could help us financially, and I said, okay, we are very grateful to him for that. He asked me how much. I said: “Whatever you give, will be welcome”. Then he told me that he had a donation from somebody amounting to  €100,000 and that he would give me €50,000. He asked me for the account number of our diocesan funds which I gave to him and when I went back in April and checked the account, I found that he had credited €100,000 to our account. He had given the full amount. I found that he was extremely helpful to our people and we are very grateful to him for that, for the concern and for the constant attention that he has been paying to the needs of these people," he said.

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