Ostensibly a secular state, Sri Lanka’s new Constitution emphasises that Buddhism is the state religion, while belief in Buddhist supremacy remains widespread. Buddhist monks, who are influential in the villages, are the main source of pressure on Christians. Church services and prayer meetings have been stopped and church buildings attacked by mobs. Church leaders are most vulnerable. Christians from Buddhist, Muslim or Hindu backgrounds are seen as traitors and subjected to physical and verbal assaults.

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Sri Lanka: Facebook told to block religious hate speech

A young girl in Colombo looks at her mobile phone while Sri Lanka's civil society has called on Facebook to block hate speech. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)

Civil society groups in Sri Lanka have asked Facebook to do more to prevent hate speech, including comments that discriminate on religious lines, following recent anti-Muslim riots. “There was a post in the Sinhala [Sri Lanka’s largest ethnic group] language on Facebook for six days, which mentioned ‘killing all Muslims, […]

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Minorities fear backlash over Sri Lanka’s proposed new constitution

Minorities fear backlash over Sri Lanka’s proposed new constitution

Sri Lanka’s minority religious groups are concerned after Buddhist hardliners reacted angrily to the President’s proposed new constitution. President Maithripala Sirisena’s new constitution, proposed on 9 Jan., would decentralise power in a bid to prevent ethnic tensions in the country, but Buddhist hardliners say it contains provisions that regulate the […]

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Give all religions a voice, Pope urges Sri Lanka

Religious freedom must be central to Sri Lanka’s future, Pope Francis urges on his arrival in the capital, Colombo. In his arrival speech at Colombo’s airport, he said that followers of various religious traditions “have an essential role to play” in the process of the country’s reconciliation and rebuilding, adding: “For that process […]

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All eyes on Sri Lanka as Commonwealth summit begins

All eyes on Sri Lanka as Commonwealth summit begins

Sri Lanka’s human rights record has been questioned as a Commonwealth summit takes place in Colombo. Several Commonwealth leaders have boycotted the event, while British Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged to ask “tough questions” of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. One of his lines of questioning may focus on […]

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