RLP Statement on the Church in Sri Lanka - June 15, 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Global Alliance calls for Increased Religious Freedom in Sri Lanka

Religious Liberty Partnership Releases Statement on Sri Lanka Religious Freedom, Calls for Recognition of National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka.

(JUNE 2012) Religious liberty organizations united under the Religious Liberty Partnership (RLP) have released a statement on the church in Sri Lanka, calling for official recognition of Sri Lanka's evangelical community as represented by the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka(NCEASL).  The group celebrates its 60th anniversary this year and is part of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), a group representing 600 million evangelicals worldwide.

“This statement is significant as it is an expression of concern by the global Christian community on issues of rights, justice and equality of all citizens of Sri Lanka,” says Godfrey Yogarajah, Executive Director of the WEA Religious Liberty Commission. “As a nation emerging from civil war and progressing towards peace, stability, good governance and economic development, Sri Lanka stands at an important juncture in her history and it is essential that all communities are treated equally and able to live in an environment that is conducive to the fullest and unhindered enjoyment of their fundamental freedoms.”

Called the Colombo Statement, it calls on the worldwide church to pray “against the continued violent attacks on clergy and places of Christian worship,” and that “all religious communities will enjoy the Constitutional guarantees on religious freedom.” The Statement is available at the RLP website: www.RLPartnership.org.

"After 30 years of internal unrest in Sri Lanka we believe the country now needs to address the very important issue of religious freedom,” said Mervyn Thomas, Chairman of the RLP and CEO of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, UK. “We are concerned about the forced closure of churches by local authorities and violent attacks on clergy and churches,” he says. “We are calling on Christians everywhere to pray the Sri Lankan government will move to stop these unacceptable actions and bring in measures to guarantee real religious freedom for all.”  

According to the statement, the Religious Liberty Partnership commits “to work toward the full realization of the religious rights of all Sri Lankans,” and “to stand in solidarity with the evangelical Christian community as they seek to have equal rights alongside other religious constituencies in Sri Lanka.”

Yogarajah, leader of the NCEASL, says that the statement is designed to ignite action. “We pray that this united global voice will encourage the government of Sri Lanka and others concerned to effect changes that will promote freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief in Sri Lanka.”

The Religious Liberty Partnership (RLP) is a collaborative effort of Christian organizations from over 20 countries focused on religious liberty.  The RLP seeks to more intentionally work together in addressing advocacy, assistance, and in raising the awareness of religious liberty issues globally. 

For information about the Religious Liberty Partnership or the Colombo Statement, please contact Brian O'Connell, RLP Facilitator: E-mail:Brian@REACTServices.com; Phone: +1-425-218-4718.