Today we remember the 259 lives lost and the many injured during the senseless terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday, one year ago. The country and the world were shocked by those tragic events and saddened by the incidents of intercommunal tensions that followed.
We must relentlessly fight terrorism. Terrorism should not be associated with any religion, ethnicity or race. The purpose of terrorism is to inoculate societies with the virus of fear. Fear of the other, fear of differences, fear of dissenting opinions or different accents or clothing. A virus that polarizes, divides societies and triggers chain reactions that further polarize, further divide, until fear mutates into hate. But there is a vaccine: respect for rights, dialogue and the rule of law. Terrorism is fundamentally the denial and destruction of human rights, and the fight against terrorism requires strengthening those values that we want to protect. Dialogue and diversity are our key resources for achieving inclusive and sustainable societies.
As Sri Lanka and the world faces the threat of yet another virus, COVID-19; solidarity and partnership are vital to ensure a coordinated approach that safeguards the health of every citizen, respects their rights and ensures that no one is left behind in the response to this global threat.