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    » 12/04/2014, 00.00

    SRI LANKA

    Christian Association calls on Pope Francis to postpone Sri Lanka trip

    Melani Manel Perera

    Christian Solidarity Movement (CSM) writes to the Holy See. Proximity of papal visit to presidential election is “risky”. "The organizers of election campaigns can use the apostolic journey as a political tool."

    Colombo (AsiaNews) -  Members of the Christian Solidarity Movement (CSM) are asking Pope Francis to postpone his planned Apostolic Journey to the Asian nation.  According to the priests, sisters and lay members of CSM, the pontiff's visit is likely to be "spoiled" by its proximity to presidential elections. The group met to discuss the issue November 22 in Colombo and continues to exert pressure of any kind.

    On January  8, the country is scheduled to vote. Five days later, January 13, Pope Francis will land in Colombo for his three-day visit to Sri Lanka, before heading to the Philippines.

    "At first - CSM members explain- we understood that [it was common practice] that a pope did not visit a country when elections were being held a month before or after his arrival."

    The population fear that "election organizers will exploit the pope's visit as a political tool." In fact, billboards and posters depicting Francis along with some candidates, as well as with the President Mahinda Rajapaksa have already appeared in the country. In many cases, they are photo-shopped images. The Christian human rights activists add:  "We do not want see the pictures of the Pope used by any politician".

    In the letter addressed to "Vatican authorities," the Christian Solidarity Movement reaffirms "the singularity of Pope Francis, especially his love for the poor and marginalized. We appreciate his efforts to bring about changes in the Church."

     

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    See also

    27/10/2008 SRI LANKA
    Sri Lanka unaware of the fate of the population in war-torn areas
    Much of the country does not know the real conditions in which northerners live. The Christian Solidarity Movement is trying to raise funds and awareness despite politicians’ intimidation. Ordinary people pay closer attention to the movement’s campaigns. Its coordinator, Father Iddamalgoda, complains about the “lack of democracy”.

    28/07/2008 SRI LANKA
    Prayer vigil in Colombo to remember the victims of ‘black July’
    The civil war that pits government forces against Tamil Tigers has killed 70,000 people in 25 years. The country’s Christians organise a prayer vigil to honour the memory of those who died and to call for peace and prosperity for Sri Lanka as a whole.

    15/01/2010 SRI LANKA
    Presidential elections: the land issue and refugees
    About a thousand delegates from minority groups meet to discuss what urgent priorities to submit to candidates running for office in the upcoming presidential election. Resettling tens of thousands of war refugees and tsunami survivors still homeless and jobless after so many years is one of the most urgent issues that need to be addressed.

    29/05/2014 SRI LANKA
    Abandoned widows in Sri Lanka get back on their feet through solidarity
    Thanks to an initiative by the National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO) in Negombo (Western Province), a group of women were given tools to earn a living: fishing rods, sewing and baking machines, and more. All were internal displaced, widowed by war or the tsunami or abandoned by their husbands.

    30/10/2009 SRI LANKA
    Fisher families going hungry in Batticaloa because of illegal fishing and drought
    Law enforcement is doing nothing to stop illegal fishing methods and punish offenders. Earnings drop from 2,000 to 50 rupees a day.



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