The Catholic Bishop Conference of Sri Lanka yesterday appealed to the authorities to seriously consider the plight of the people, brushing aside political drama, so that the poor and marginalised could at least sustain their lives with their basic needs.

In a statement issued under the hands of its President, Bishop of Kurunegala Rt. Rev. Dr. Harold Anthony Perera, and Secretary General, Auxiliary Bishop of Colombo Rt. Rev. Dr. J. D. Anthony Jayakody, the Catholic Bishop Conference stated the need to create a society where each person’s dignity is valued and appreciated.

“We need to create a society where each person’s dignity is valued and appreciated, with peace and harmony, and where the true manifestations of democracy, such as the independence of the judiciary and the participation of people in the political process of the nation, are safeguarded through the holding of free and fair elections”, the statement said.

The Bishops Conference also appealed to the political leadership to be instruments of such a political and social renewal and the safeguarding of the dignity and rights of all segments of society.

Excerpts from the statement: “The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Sri Lanka, gathered in plenary session in August, wishes to express its deep concern about the socioeconomic and political situation of Sri Lanka and its impact upon the day-to-day lives of the ordinary masses, for there is an ever-increasing and unbearable cost of living affecting them.

Many parents find it difficult to provide their children with their daily food. Many families with disabilities have only one meal a day. Many hospitals are not in a position to provide care for people’s health needs, and there is a severe shortage of medicines. We are seriously concerned about the increasing number of qualified medical personnel who are leaving the country and the many people, particularly the poor, who cannot attend to their medical needs as often government hospitals are inadequately supplied with medicine and other medical equipment.

“Education too appears to be in jeopardy. Children attend school without proper nourishment, clothing, and the stationery they require. Parents are not in a position to attend to these basic needs.

There is a serious breakdown of law and order. Increasing violence seems to be prevailing in the country. Murders are taking place almost on a daily basis, and the number of fatal accidents on the roads due to drunken and reckless driving is on the increase”.