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Tamil: effect of proposed anti-conversion laws

The chilling effect of proposed anti-conversion laws

"The chilling effect of Sri Lanka's proposed anti-conversion laws, India's law, and similar efforts to criminalize Christianity in Southeast Asia will inevitably cut off the very lifeline that sustains the growth and redevelopment of the region," said Jared N. Leland, Esq.

Currently two anti-conversion laws are under review by Sri Lanka's Parliament may prohibit Christian organizations dedicated to providing assistance to those in need from participating in the relief effort, the Becket Fund said Saturday.

“Thus, Christian missions and organizations in Sri Lanka willing and eager to provide food, clothing, and shelter to those desperately in need would either face prosecution and imprisonment or be forced to forgo the effort entirely.”

the Janatha Vimukthi Perumuna (JVP) party, said at a meeting of the national committee on disaster management that his party was deeply concerned about the channeling of tsunami relief aid through World Vision, one of the largest Christian relief and development organizations in the world.

Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), a party of Buddhist monks, also joined JVP in raising questions about World Vision receiving the relief aid. The JHU leader Ellawala Madhanaada Thera charged that the funds from the cricket match might be used for illegal purposes.

*Human Rights Watch slam India for right abuses*

India failed to protect marginalized castes and religious minorities, Human Rights Watch said in an annual report.

Human Rights Watch gave a mixed review of the rights situation in India.

It praised the new coalition government for repealing the "oft-abused" Prevention of Terrorism Act and conducting a re-evaluation of educational policies that fostered communitarian resentments.

The rights group said the Indian military, paramilitary, and police forces had engaged in serious human rights abuses not just in conflict-zones such as Kashmir but also when dealing with criminal suspects and detainees.

The group also blamed the Indian government for its "systematic failure" to protect the rights of marginalized castes and religious minorities.

the Government has sought to limit the number of foreign religious workers given temporary work permits. Some evangelical Christians have expressed concern that their efforts at proselytizing often meet with hostility and harassment from the local Buddhist clergy and others opposed to their work. In April two Christians were physically assaulted by a Buddhist monk.

In September a group of Christians vandalized a Jehovah's witness hall, breaking windows, ripping through electrical systems, and burning equipment used to establish a new hall in Negombo. Witnesses claimed that the police did not react to the disturbance until after the crowd dispersed.

*JVP, JHU object to channeling relief through World Vision

*JHU (Jathika Hela Urumaya) also joined JVP in raising questions about World Vision, a Christian organization, receiving the relief aid. JHU leader, Ven.Madhanaada Thera, charged that the funds from the cricket match might be used for illegal purposes. He said the task force on tsunami relief setup by the government should further discuss the issue.

The leader of JVP (Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna), Mr Wimal Weerawansa, said at a meeting of the national committee on disaster management that his party is deeply concerned about channeling tsunami relief aid through World Vision. The proceeds of one day international cricket match between Asia and the rest of the world, held in Melbourne, Monday, was to be channeled through World Vision, according to Reports.

A bill submitted to parliament by JHU that makes religious conversions illegal is already in progress. –

After facing the defeat of a proposed anti-conversion law, the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) party, composed entirely of Buddhist monks, is attempting once again to engrain Buddhism as the state religion and prevent the conversion of Buddhists in Sri Lanka, a persecution watchdog group reported Wednesday.

According to the Voice of the Martyrs, the proposed bill would declare Buddhism as the official religion of Sri Lanka, while allowing other forms of religion to be practiced "in peace and harmony with Buddha Sasana."

“Freedom of worship for religions other than Buddhism would be subject to public order and morals; something which could easily be abused to restrict religious freedom,” VOM reported. The amendment, referred to as the "19th Amendment," would also prohibit converting Buddhists to any other religion as well as spreading other religions among Buddhists.

On Dec. 7, a court petition was heard against the proposal on the grounds that the amendment would infringe on basic human rights. The court's decision will be given to the speaker of the Parliament by Dec. 16.

Meanwhile, as the Dec. 12 anniversary of the sudden death of Buddhist leader Ven Gangodawila Soma Thero approaches; there are concerns that the violence seen last December may be repeated. “Christians were widely blamed for his unexpected death during a trip to Russia last December,” VOM explained.

While violent attacks and threats against Christians have become less frequent in recent months, incidents do continue to occur, according to sources. In a recent example, the pastor of the "Believers' Church" in the village of Kammalawa in Kuliyapitiya faced a crowd of over 100 on the evening of December 2, threatening him if he does not stop holding worship services. Later that night, the church was attacked with stones, damaging the roof tiles, one door and several windows.

“Pray for the safety of Christians in Sri Lanka,” VOM stated. “Pray for the peace of Christ to reign in the hearts of believers facing the uncertainty of this proposed legislation as well as the dangers from those opposed to the Gospel. Pray for wisdom and direction for church leaders during this time.”

An evaluation of the proposed amendment is available at

Extremists Attempt to Make Buddhism Sri Lanka's State Religion <>

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