Law and order crisis: Bishop sees solution in 17th Amendment

The implementation of the 17th Amendment would stem the erosion of law and order, Colombo’s Anglican Bishop Rt. Revd. Duleep de Chickera said, in his address to the Diocesan Council yesterday.
“This will ensure impartiality and accountability in the sectors that maintain law and order and lead to the reduction of corruption and crime. It will also enable civil society, the media and several democratic institutions to impact on the process of good governance,” he said.

The Bishop also emphasised the need for dialogue to bring the conflict in the country to an end. “Our violent approach to resolving conflict and historic grievances must also change. Security is a requirement in a modern state. But war, the recognition that our own will be killed in confrontation, even out of provocation or desperation, is never the answer. Time tested methods of dealing with conflict such as negotiations, dialogue, consensus and compromise need to be affirmed and pursued instead,” he said.

“From here we will grow to understand that the devolution of political power within a united nation is the path that an enlightened people travel,” he said.

The Bishop also said that corruption, intimidation, divisiveness, violence and lawlessness are dangerously gaining social endorsement, while people’s rights and needs were being systematically disregarded.

“We often hear of allegations of the abuse of public office for personal gain, and financial extravagance and waste by those holding responsible office. As at present little is being done to arrest this trend which hits the poorest segments of our society, hardest”, he said.

He said that we are today experiencing what is called “anomie”, a word coined by the early 20th Century French sociologist Emile Durkheim to describe a society influenced by the absence of norms.

“For Durkheim the way out of ‘anomie’ was through education; both formal and non formal. We, however, need a much more comprehensive counter-trend to return to a value based society,” he said.
“It is as we stop demonising the other and our children associate with each other that we will learn to co-exist”, he said.

He urged the people to reclaim their rights to intervene on behalf of the people and refuse to allow this to be the sole domain of the politician.

“It is imperative that the Gospel/Dhamma should compel us to speak and respond to situations of war, poverty, corruption, human rights violations, injustice, oppression, intimidation, discrimination and so on. We must never grow weary of striving in this direction,” he said.

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