» 01/30/2009, 00.00
Melani Manel Perera
Anti-conversion bill: minorities fear restrictions on religious freedom
Tabled in January by a party led by Buddhist monks, the draft law could be adopted before the end of next month. Its purpose is to stop people from changing religion under pressure or in exchange of economic advantages. A similar bill had been presented in 2004 but failed after the Supreme Court found it unconstitutional. Protestant Churches have already mobilised against the bill; Catholics are concerned about it and waiting for their bishops to take a stand.
29/07/2005 SRI LANKA
Archbishop of Colombo tells government to respect religious freedom
Archbishop Gomis makes his appeal as two "dangerous" anti-conversion bills make their way through parliament. The recent attack against a local Catholic church was the work of outside fundamentalists who act without reason but to destroy. "The Catholic community is not afraid; fundamentalists are a minority".
16/05/2006 SRI LANKA
Three churches attacked in less than a month
Buddhist monks are leading the attacks. Sri Lanka's parliament is examining two dangerous anti-conversion bills.
02/02/2007 SRI LANKA
Theoretician of ‘Sinhalese supremacy’ becomes minister
Patali Champika Ranawaka belongs to the ultra-nationalist monk’s party, which is opposed to the peace process with the rebels and has sponsored a dangerous anti-conversion law.
11/04/2006 SRI LANKA
Anti-conversion bill to become law soon
Members of committee tasked with reviewing bill are appointed. If they approve, the bill will only require third and final reading. Christians are concerned and warn: If the vote is not secret, it will be hard for anyone to vote against the bill.
16/02/2009 SRI LANKA
Anti-conversion law threatens Christian charity work
The bill presented by Buddhist monks could impact the Church's charitable work. Auxiliary bishop of Colombo: the right to freedom of religion "is presented in a distorted way." The opposition parties are asking for "more clarity." On February 17, the Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Religious Affairs will meet to discuss the bill. Date for full debate in parliament still awaited.
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