The Swiss foreign ministry has expressed deep concern over the recent flare-up in tensions in Sri Lanka. It urged the government of the South Asian island nation to “do everything in its power to safeguard and strengthen the peace and stability in the country”.
The appeal comes on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the end of civil war in Sri Lanka. The conflict lasted 30 years and claimed tens of thousands of civilian victims. More than 50,000 Sri Lankans sought refuge in Switzerland.
Sri Lanka has been in the grip of heightened intercommunal tensions in the wake of a string of suicide attacks carried out on April 21 by a little-known local Muslim group and claimed by ISIS.
“The Easter Sunday terrorist attacks against civilians and members of the Christian community in the capital Colombo and other cities, coupled with the ensuing clashes and assaults against ethnic minorities and refugees, showed that the root causes of the conflict have not yet been properly addressed,” the ministry said in a statement.
Switzerland reiterated its commitment to supporting Sri Lanka’s efforts to secure lasting peace and stability.
Between 2009 and 2016, Switzerland built homes for 5,000 families and schools for 1,200 children in the north of the country. The focus of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)external link is now on labour migration. In 2018, the two nations signed an agreement to scale up their migration cooperation. It was the first pact of its kind between Switzerland and an Asian nation.