About 70% of Sri Lanka’s 21 million inhabitants are Buddhists. Just under 13% are Hindus, 10% are Muslims and 7.4% are mainly Catholic Christians. A civil war raged in the island state until 2009, leaving deep scars in society. In 2019, the local Church suffered predominantly from radical Islamic terrorist attacks. Despite the violence, the local Church is actively working for the reconciliation of the religious communities in the country. ACN supports them with concrete project assistance.
A series of suicide attacks in 2019 cast a dark shadow over Sri Lanka’s Catholic communities. The attacks occurred on Easter Sunday in two Catholic churches and one Protestant church, as well as in three hotels. The horrific result: more than 250 dead and over 500 injured. Most of the victims were in the wellfilled churches where Easter Masses were being celebrated at the time of the attacks. An Islamist group claimed responsibility for the attacks. The fear of new attacks is great and has deeply unsettled the Christian communities.
The Catholic Archdiocese of Colombo reacted immediately after the terrorist attacks with emergency aid measures for the injured and relatives of those who were killed. However, the traumatised survivors and bereaved relatives are in need of long-term care.
People admire the fact that the Catholics affected by the terror remained peaceful.Priest Claude Nonis
The Church would therefore like to support those affected with trauma therapy and counselling for as long as they need it. Especially the children who survived the attacks need assistance to regain confidence in life. ACN supported the Church during the reporting year with 82,000 euros to train 300 counsellors who can competently assist the affected families.