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.
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 […]
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 […]
More than 2,000 Christians gathered in Colombo on Sunday (January 26) to protest against a perceived lack of religious freedom in Sri Lanka, following recent attacks on Christian places of worship by Buddhist extremists. Two churches and a Christian prayer centre were attacked on Jan. 12 by Buddhist mobs claiming […]
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 […]