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  • » 11/28/2011, 00.00

    SRI LANKA

    Colombo: sister of Mother Teresa arrested for “selling” children

    Melani Manel Perera

    The first Missionary of Charity to be jailed, she was accused following an anonymous tipoff. Sister Eliza runs a hostel for unwed mothers. Confusion surrounds her arrest. According to fellow nuns, the incident is due to an outdated registry.
    Colombo (AsiaNews) – Sister Mary Eliza, from the Missionaries of Charity, has been in prison since Fraiday night accused of selling children. Since the congregation was founded, she is the first nun of Mother Teresa to be arrested. An anonymous tipoff informed police, which then burst into the Prem Nivesa of Moratuwa, a hostel for young unwed mothers run by the Sisters of Mother Teresa and arrested the nun. The hostel is now impounded. Sister Eliza, superior of Prem Nivesa, is now in jail at the Women’s Prison of Welikada, and has not been able to see a lawyer yet. Today, a judge is set to charge her formally with illegal trafficking in children.

    Last Wednesday, a group of people led by Anoma Dissanayake, head of the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA), surrounded the Prem Nivesa hostel to examine the situation of the children and mothers living in the facility run by the Missionaries.

    “Police and NCPA officials burst into the home at around 11 am, causing panic. They checked every nook and cranny in the facility and took away our files,” a nun told AsiaNews.

    Two days later, on Friday evening, police agents took Sister Eliza and two nuns to a judge’s home. Sister Eliza was then taken by car to Welikada Prison, whilst the two other nuns were brought back to the convent.

    “Police, NCPA officials and media rushed to our facility,” Sister Eliza said before her arrest. “They cross-examined the unwed mothers and took away many documents.”

    “We have never been involved in child trafficking. It is against our faith,” she reiterated. “Our mission is to take care of unwed mothers and their children. We have never taken money for our work. Children are adopted in accordance with the law.”

    The circumstances surrounding the arrest of Sister Eliza remain murky. Some local media accused the Sisters of “selling the future of the country to foreigners for few thousand rupees”.

    However, the Missionaries of Charity believe their mother superior is prison because the home opened its doors to an underage pregnant woman without informing the police and because the number of children in the facility was greater than the number reported in the registry, which had not been updated.

    The confusion is compounded by the silence of the Church, which has not yet issued an official statement about Sister Eliza’s arrest.

    There are nearly 760 convents of Mother Teresa worldwide with more than 5,000 missionaries. The Prem Nivesa has 75 children, 20 pregnant women and 12 new mothers.

    The National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) is an independent organisation under the Office of the President.
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    See also

    27/06/2011 SRI LANKA
    Eradicating drugs: Sri Lanka’s new challenge after terrorism
    President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s promise on World Day against Drug Abuse (yesterday). In 2010, 29,796 people arrested for drugs, almost all men over the age of 30 (60%). Of these, 9,520 for heroin, 20,259 cannabis, 12 for hashishand one for cocaine. In Sri Lanka, the use and trafficking of drugs are illegal.

    05/12/2011 SRI LANKA
    Card Ranjith: Charges against the Sisters of Mother Teresa should be withdrawn as soon as possible
    The archbishop of Colombo breaks the Church’s silence on the Prem Nivasa case, which involves the Missionaries of Charity allegedly selling the babies of unwed mothers. The cardinal attacks the lies and ambiguities reported in local media, announces that he will not take part in any official event until the truth comes out. He calls on the country’s Catholics to pray for “the misguided people” who made the accusations and “the good mission of the sisters in Sri Lanka.”

    28/02/2014 CHINA
    More than a thousand arrests in anti-child trafficking raid
    In an announcement, the government said it carried out a raid in 27 municipalities across the country, resulting in 1,094 people apprehended, and 382 children rescued. Traffickers also use the Internet. Four sites providing "adoption services" for "abandoned children" are shut down.

    02/01/2014 CHINA
    Shaanxi: obstetrician goes on trial for selling "at least" seven new-borns
    Shuxia Zhang admits her involvement in human trafficking. Police save six children, but one is dead before her rescue. China's one-child policy has sparked a lucrative baby business. Each year, at least 200,000 children disappear.

    12/09/2008 INDIA
    Police gag order silences Sisters of Mother Teresa
    Nuns are accused of abducting and converting children, but they regain custody after accusations are shown to be false. Sangh Parivar, which accuses them of “child trafficking,” plans a demonstration against the nuns for tomorrow. Insecurity spreads to the state of Karnataka where three Pentecostal churches are shut down despite having all the right papers.



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