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» 09/10/2009 10:52
SRI LANKA
Civil society in Sri Lanka: freedom for Tamil refugees and true democracy
by Melani Manel Perera
Demonstration in Colombo of the newborn People's Movement for Freedom and Democracy. The movement brings together Christian leaders of the island, human rights activist and NGO workers. They are demanding the release of refugees, more power to local governments and an economic policy that protects workers.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - Leaders of Christian Churches in Sri Lanka, human rights activists and NGO workers on the island came together, Wednesday 9, opposite the railway station in Colombo for a demonstration of the newborn People's Movement for Freedom and Democracy .

In 300 they demonstrated to ask the Government to release the Tamil refugees detained in camps, for the implementation of 13th Amendment of the constitution to devolve more powers to local governments, higher wages and lower cost of living and the defence of press freedom in the country. Among the demonstrators present were Tamil and Sinhalese who held banners and placards written in their own language and photos of relatives and friends imprisoned in refugee camps (see photo).

Fr. Yohan Devananda, an Anglican clergyman of Nawal one of the chief organisers of the new movement, tells AsiaNews: "It's time to break the silence because the situation has become shameful. On the surface it seems more bearable, but actually we are moving towards a dictatorial approach”.

Explaining the intentions of  the new group Reverend Devananda announces "other initiatives in other districts, until we get answers to our questions”.  The same commitment was reiterated by Fr. Sarath Iddamalgoda at the end of the event. The Catholic priest, coordinator of the Christian Solidarity Movement, reminded participants: "This is just the beginning. We must continue until the needs of the people triumph”.

The People's Movement for Freedom and Democracy includes; the World Peace and Solidarity Movement, the Movement of National Land & Agriculture Research (MONLAR), some left-wing social movements and various figures from civil society.


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See also
10/27/2008 SRI LANKA
Sri Lanka unaware of the fate of the population in war-torn areas
by Melani Manel Perera
09/14/2009 SRI LANKA
Sisters aid elderly Tamil refugees destroyed by war
by Melani Manel Perera
04/21/2009 SRI LANKA
Catholics and Anglicans remember Father Killi, martyr of war
by Melani Manel Perera
04/17/2009 SRI LANKA
Groups of Christians from the south visit war refugees in Vavuniya
by Melani Manel Perera
09/28/2011 SRI LANKA
Colombo prevents persons displaced by the war from returning to their homes
by Melani Manel Perera

Editor's choices
SYRIA
I will miss you Fr Frans, you inspired us all, says Syrian Jesuit
by Tony Homsy*A young priest from the Society of Jesus remembers the life and work of Fr Frans van der Lugt, who was killed in Homs after he refused to abandon residents beleaguered by hunger and war. "He gave and continues to give everything for the Church, Syria, and peace. His story and qualities made him an exceptional missionary and witness to the Gospel." Reprinted courtesy of 'The Jesuit Post'.
FRANCE - IRAQ
Chaldean Patriarch on the uncertain future of eastern Christians, a bridge between the West and Islam
by Mar Louis Raphael I SakoThe wars in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan have made things worse for their peoples, especially minorities. As Western policies have been a failure, fundamentalism has grown with the Arab Spring losing out to extremism. Muslim authorities have a role in protecting rights and religious freedom. The presence of Christians in the Middle East is crucial for Muslims.
CHINA - EUROPEAN UNION
Xi Jinping returns home full of deals and silence
by Bernardo CervelleraThe Chinese president signed agreements worth tens of billions of Euros in France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. He also stayed clear of any press conference. At the College of Europe in Bruges, he presented his dream of a new trillion-dollar Silk Road. Yet, he also made it clear that at home, the monopoly of power stays with the Party, squashing any dream for political reform in China. On the Internet, netizens disagree with him.

Dossier
by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
by Lazzarotto Angelo S.
pp. 528
by Bernardo Cervellera
pp. 240
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