Drugs & alcohol abuse in NE Religious reps to address issue

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By 2017-12-15

The Congress of Religions (CoR) comprised of religious representatives is scheduled to handover a statement to the Government concerning action to be taken to arrest the drugs menace, during the National Religious Leaders Summit to be held in Colombo.

Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and Christian religious representatives will meet with civil society representatives and religious representatives of the Eastern Province on 18 and 19 December and have face to face discussions regarding religious coexistence, reconciliation, national unity and problems faced by the Tamils, with religious representatives of the North.

CoR has also decided to meet Tamil civil society representatives in Kilinochchi in the North during the last week of January 2018, to assess the actual situation of alcohol and drug abuse in the North and East.

According CoR, a majority of youth in these areas are in the habit of using drugs and alcohol.

Itthapana Dhammalankara Thera presided at a meeting in Colombo held on 5 December, at which General Secretary of the National Christian Council of Sri Lanka and Secretary General of CoR, W.P. Ebenezer Joseph stated that the people in the North are in a helpless situation, especially as rehabilitated LTTE cadres did not possess adequate means of living and had also not been integrated into their own society.

"They are the most affected lot and even politicians of these areas use them for their politics, however they are suffering along with their families."

Prof. Bellanwila Wimalarathana Thera stated that he has informed the Ministry of National Co-existence, Dialogue and Official Languages to go to the grass roots level in the North and East to conduct meetings with the participation of local religious representatives in order to achieve true reconciliation.

"We spoke to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to implement the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) recommendations to no avail. Even now the LLRC proposals have not been implemented fully and we requested the Government to expedite implementing the balance proposals but these have not been carried out yet."

Chairman of Finance and Programmes, CoR, Shirley Tissera said that the alcohol and drug problem is severe, adding that the Police arrest only small-time distributers and sellers but not the big wigs.

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