Sri Lanka terrorist attack victims mourned

CondolencesThe Victorian Parliament has paid tribute to the victims of the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka.

Condolences were offered to the victims' families and friends, and members of parliament stood in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka and with Sri Lankan communities in Victoria and around the world.

“A mere six weeks ago in this place and almost at this exact hour our Parliament came together to send our support, sympathy and love to our brothers and sisters across the Tasman. Today, tragically, we must do the same for our brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka,” Premier Daniel Andrews said.

“On that occasion and indeed in my own remarks I said that all acts of terror were motived by nothing less than pure evil. But there was something truly, truly offensive about targeting a place of worship and committing such violence against a congregation of people—men, women and children—gathered together in peaceful prayer, peaceful religious observance. That was true in Christchurch, and now tragically, heartbreakingly, horribly it is just as true in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa,” Mr Andrews said.

Leader of the Opposition Michael O’Brien said Sri Lanka is a beautiful country, rich in history and culture, and its geopolitical issues are deeply complex. “However, like the attack in Christchurch, this horrific act of hate in Sri Lanka was intended to set communities against each other. But these evildoers must not succeed,” Mr O’Brien said.

He spoke about a memorial service held at St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne for the victims of the Sri Lanka terrorist attacks.

“At that service in the beautiful surrounds of St Paul’s Cathedral we saw and we heard from representatives of Christian churches, the Buddhist community, the Hindu community, the Islamic community and many others. And in seeing these men and women of different faiths gathered together to pray, to mourn and to remember those whose lives were taken in Sri Lanka, it struck me at that moment that the terrorists had lost,” Mr O’Brien said.

“They had lost because their evil acts—the pain and suffering they inflicted on innocents, those atrocities—did not turn us against each other. In the face of evil, people of good faith, from different faiths and with different prayers, came together and prayed together, united in a common humanity that these terrorists could not comprehend. United we will prevail,” he said.

Members of the Sri Lankan community were at Parliament House to listen to the condolences, which were offered in both the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council. The condolences can be read in the Hansard of 30 April 2019.

Following the condolences, Parliament paused for a period of remembrance.

 

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